by Chuck Stalley
Dr. Fellers gets the credit for calling it when he said out loud at the preride meeting that "2014 was going to be a great Tevis ride year." The temperature dipped 15 degrees from the highs we were experiencing for the previous 5 days. Thunder showers in Truckee fired off every night for 5 nights previous to ride day- -enough that they seriously hammered down the dust. All the work put into the trail to resurrect it from the American Fire gave us the best footing ever. It was clear to me that twenty five or more riders entered in the ride were coming to take a shot at winning The Cup. We were truly going to have a strong field this year.
As it turned out, a front-running group of sixteen came through the Deadwood vet check one right after another.
This first group was a half hour ahead of last year's time at 50 miles into the ride. At this point, I was greatly appreciative that we had a very experienced Cup Committee overseeing the stops and fifteen experienced Tevis veterinarians to handle this close horse race at the level expected of Tevis.
Every year there are several rides within the ride. I cannot help but root for the foreign riders who have come so far to experience their dream of Tevis. Then there is the group that is going for their first buckle and are determined to get their money's worth by using all the time allowed to get to Auburn. Some of these riders finish with just minutes to spare. They are the riders who go home with coveted legacy buckles. They are the ones with huge smiles and big thank yous whenever I saw them on Sunday. My heart goes out to those who tried and fell short of getting their buckles.
The junior riders are a group who bring a special energy to the ride. They are always fun to see coming through the stops, and as a group, they ride as well as any. Oh, to be in that category again.
The Signature Riders are a little less recognizable as they go through the ride, but they are also members of an elite group of passionate supporters of this event. When I do recognize them, I give them a nod of respect for the financial assistance they have given to make this the best ride ever.
We also had two landmark buckles awarded this year--a decade buckle for Danny Grant and a 2000 mile buckle for Pat Chappel. Their stories sound very familiar to those who have tried Tevis. They have just kept it together both physically and emotionally longer than most-and persevered.
I am proud of the job that the current BOG members have done as well as the former BOG members who laid a strong foundation from which we all move forward. Thank you for all at the awards ceremony who helped recognize the army of volunteers who put forth heroic efforts year after year. These folks come back again and again to help all the riders reach their goals.
I hope to see you at the 2015 Tevis on August 1st,
Tevis Ride Director