July 11 2015
Hannah Pruss, riding Stuart, and Suzanne Ford Huff, riding SD Expressa, tied for first place in the Big Horn 100 near Shell, Wyoming on July 11, in a ride time of 13:35. Pruss finished second in 2013 and first in 2014 riding Krusador. Huff won the Big Horn in 2006 aboard Chase The Wind AH. SD Expressa won this year's Best Condition award. 34 riders started and 26 completed the 100-mile distance.
Cindy Collins, finishing 15th on AUR Sierra Wind, became only the fourth rider to earn her 10th Big Horn buckle. She exhibited human endurance and fortitude, persevering through some major leg pain during the last half of the ride.
Tom Noll, earning his 6th Big Horn buckle by finishing 23rd on Rocky, also was awarded the "In the Spirit of Endurance" award in honor of Marirose Six. "Last year, I rode with Marirose as we came off the mountain and Marirose helped me finish with my big red mustang," Noll stated. "This year, I was with the wild Okies as we descended on a night black as coal. We rode the final miles through the shale badlands in silence. Many times, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a horse and rider silhouette in the darkness. The night was so black and the figure was so formless that I was never sure if it was even real. Perhaps it was the shadow of Marirose, just out of reach.
"I am honored and deeply humbled to receive this award. I have been fortunate to share the Big Horn trail with some genuine characters -- riders, horses, and mules. I am a lucky man."
The Big Horn 100 is a tough ride, but a beautiful and near-sacred one to many riders who return year after year. Noll summed it up: "100 miles, one day, tough trail, tough horses, and tough riders. There are no other rides like Big Horn which is why I keep coming back. The Big Horn 100 exerts a very strong pull on my soul."
The (unofficial) finish of the 100 can be seen here: