We have so much to be thankful for.virtual buckle
Of course, looking back on the events of 2020, many folks may not feel this way, and rightfully so. The year has been fraught with emotional triggers. Pandemic, politics, economics, environment, personal health and well-being. But there really is a bright spot to each stressor. We just have to look for it.
At WSTF, I think we all had a bit of a desperate feeling of dread when we made the decision in April to cancel the 65th annual Tevis Cup ride slated for August 1, 2020.
While the ride itself does not bring in a lot of money, as it’s a huge financial outlay to put it on, it does illicit revenue via donations and associated activities. None of those were going to happen and like so many other organizations effected by Covid-19 we asked, “How will we pay our bills?”
Then our by bright spot made its appearance. One of our BOG members suggested that we host a virtual Tevis. Instead of 100 miles in one day, we would do 100 miles in 100 days. Your trails, your equine, your speed.
The event was slated to start on August 1 (the date the actual ride was to occur on) and end on November 9th . We set up a riding, and a non-riding division. Just like the Tevis Cup you had to complete the 100 miles on one horse. The non-riding division allowed walking, running, hiking, cycling, swimming, etc. Pretty much any type of physical activity, but for 100 miles.
We watched tentatively as the registration started. There was even a side bet among the BOGs for tacos as to whether we would reach 1500 entries.
Tevis fans insured that the taco lover in the group would not go wanting. As of this writing, we have 1637 total participants. 1388 in the riding division and 285 in the non-riding division. Participants are from 12 different countries, with an age range from four years old to the mid 80s.
We had to change the event midway through and extend the completion deadline beyond 100 days. This was due to the poor air quality from the multiple wildland fires that plagued the western states in August and September. Tevis fans continued to endure. You hunkered down, took care of your ponies and once the air cleared and their lungs recovered, you hit the trail again.
As a remembrance of the virtual ride, each participant completing the trail will receive a long sleeve T-shirt designed specifically for the event, and a virtual Tevis buckle sticker, also created just for the event. International participants will receive a bandanna with a similar design to the T-shirt and the sticker.
The event has its own Facebook page where folks have shared their ride stories along the hundred mile journey. As they record their miles and log into the race organization site, they can read about the various landmarks and points of interest as they virtually complete the Tevis Trail.
If you do the math with our $65 registration fee and 1600+ participants, you’ll come up with a number fatter than a Thanksgiving turkey. Out of that number we still have to buy shirts and stickers, pay postage and the race organizing site, etc., but we still had a nice piece of the pie. And the whip cream on that pie? More than $15,000 in just good old-fashioned cash donations for WSTF. The Virtual Tevis Cup ride has been a hit, and has really helped WSTF with some large expenses and trail improvement projects. We are looking at the possibility of making it an annual event and welcome the input and suggestions of all.
As I round this out, your BOG elves are busy stuffing T-shirts and bandannas into envelopes so that the first group of completion awards can be mailed next week, and continue throughout the end of the event on 12-31-2020.
Thank you Tevis fans. You are our bright spot.