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THREE GENERATIONS - ONE FAMILY

 

Ride & Tie is famous for the emotional bonding that develops between the three partners - two human and one equine. This emotional satisfaction is even more amplified when the human partners are 'family.' There are many families that compete in Ride & Tie together. Husbands & wives, fathers & sons, fathers & daughters, and even several mother & daughter and mother & son teams. But teams spanning beyond the second generation are rare.

 

It all started with Joan, then wife and mother, now wife, mother and grandmother.

 

Twenty-two years ago, Joan Ruprecht was introduced to the sport of Ride & Tie by a local friend. It sounded like fun so Joan recruited a runner friend and her oldest daughters' trail horse and completed her first R&T in 1978. It was fun, a lot of fun. So much fun she convinced her husband Ted to partner with her two years later. He also thought it was fun, a lot of fun. So much fun he decided if he was ever going to do another one he had better learn how to ride, so he started endurance riding as his learning tool.

 

Joan and Ted have three daughters, Janet, Carol and Elaine. As young girls, in spite of their parent's participation, they perceived R&T as "absolutely insane."

 

At age thirteen, Elaine tried her first R&T at the 1980 World Championship R&T. Admittedly, she had fun, a lot of fun. So much fun she eventually married one of the one of winners that year, Jim Howard (four time World R&T Champion), and both have been competing in R&T ever since.

 

Elaine and Jim have two children, Louis and Sarah. Being raised in R&T (literally) they naturally were anxious to start racing with the rest of the family. In 1991, at age six, Louis recruited Grandma (Joan) as his first R&T partner. In 1998, also at age six, Sarah did her first R&T.

 

Carol married Tom Gey. In 1989 Joan recruited Tom into R&T. He thought it was fun, a lot of fun. So much fun he has been teamed up with his sister-in-law (Elaine) for years now. But what about Carol?… well after crewing for years, she finally did her first R&T at the 2000 R&T Championship with Daddy (Ted). She thought it was fun, a lot of fun. So much fun she is planning to do the 2001 Championship next year.

 

At the 2000 R&T Championship, counting son-in-laws, Joan and her family had seven competitors with teams placing 3rd, 13th, 18th and 39th. Joan, now age sixty-six, has completed an impressive twenty-one Championships, and Ted now age seventy-two, has completed nineteen. In aggregate the family has fifty-four R&T Championship completions, four of which are first place finishes, and all on their own horses.

 

Joan is a remarkable lady. The impact of her enthusiasm for R&T has effected not only her family but countless friends as well and although she is a tough competitor, her priority is to have fun. At this years R&T Championship, as Joan was running out of the last vet check leaving her horse with the crew, one of her crew shouted, "Don't worry about the horse Joan, we'll take care of him." Joan stopped, turned around and shouted in reply, "Forget the horse, just take care of my grandson when he gets in." A remarkable woman, and a rare family indeed.

 

You Go Girl!

 

1999 National Awards presentation that was held in conjunction with the 30th Anniversary Ride & Tie Championship in Davenport, CA.

 

Excluding one award for the High Point Horse. The remaining three out of four 'human' awards went to women.

 

Congratulations to our ladies!

1999 Individual High Point winner: Laurie Riebeling, Mill Valley, CA

1999 Team High Point winners: Kathy Broaddus & Lani Newcomb, Herndon, VA 1999 Individual High Mileage winners (Three way tie - 237 miles total): Kathy Broaddus, Lani Newcomb and Jean Lightenberber, Ft. Valley, VA.

 

All three High Mileage winners; Kathy, Lani and Jean, completed the Swanton 100 (Yes, 100!) Ride & Tie last August in Davenport, CA. Kathy and Lani have now successfully completed three Swanton 100 Ride & Ties. Lani says. "What makes or breaks a Ride & Tie is the horse. Whether you have a wonderful time or a rotten time, feel great or feel crippled, it's all because of the horse. When the horse is happy, strong, forward, polite, and tugs you down the trail, you can't help but run a little faster and feel a little more powerful." Kathy and Lani had used Becky Harts acclaimed 'Rio' at the previous two. Last year they were generously offered a younger, less experienced horse named 'Rocky' owned by Ken Cook, San Jose, CA. Lani said, "Though small (he might have weighed 850lbs right after eating Thanksgiving dinner) he turned out to be quiet and fast, polite and comfortable, and an all around joy." Kathy said, "If you're going to be with a horse for 100 miles, 'Rocky' is the kind of horse you would want: impeccable ground manners, who knows how to take care of himself, the perfect Ride & Tie horse." 'Rocky' made his owners day by scoring the Best Conditioned award the following morning.

 

Ladies and gentlemen...start your engines

 

Like the Indy 500's famous "Ladies and Gentlemen, start your ennnnngines!", Skip Lightfoot signaled the start of the 2000 Quicksilver Pro-Am Ride & Tie in San Jose, CA. Twenty teams followed Skip and his mount Rajzik past cheering fans, barking dogs, scrambling kids and stunned hikers. Twelve of the teams were Pro-Am teams and seven of those were first time ride & tie racers. And all of these people were sharing the same thought: "What have I gotten myself into now?"

 

Why someone does their first Ride & Tie is simple? Curiosity. But what compels someone to do a second Ride & Tie is more interesting. When asked: Why did you do your second Ride & Tie? Unanimously, the first response from all interviewed was enthusiastically, "Because it's fun!" Then the other reasons vary.

 

Leslie Phillips, DVM - Grass Valley, CA: "Different from endurance riding, the team camaraderie of not just your partner but the horse as well, is incredible. You're all out there together working hard, giving it your all. There is even as strong sense of camaraderie amongst the competitors themselves. Everyone is pulling for you to finish."

 

Lani Newcomb, DVM - Herndon, VA: "Originally I used Ride & Tie as an excuse to get in shape. There is no way I would run without a Ride & Tie to get ready for. But now I love the challenge. I love the feeling when I am done that we endured. Not like endurance riding where the horse endures, but the satisfaction that all three partners are alive, well, and happy (and still speaking to each other. I probably do a little more of the riding than my partner Kathy does. HA,HA. Honestly, she is a phenomenal runner and I am lucky she still teams with me."

 

Debby Lyon - San Luis Obispo, CA: "I'm not a super athletic person, but Ride & Tie makes me feel like one. You don't have to be a good runner to do well at Ride & Tie. Thank goodness. I really enjoy the teamwork aspect as well."

 

Kathy Thompson - Lincoln, CA: "The challenge. Similar to my first endurance ride, which I thought was going to kill me, they all get easier after the first one. And the people are great."

 

Steve Shaw - Aptos, CA: "On the long drive home from our first Ride & Tie, my partner and I determined that we probably could have won the darn thing after calculating how much time we could have shaved off our finishing time had we done a few things different (or better.) I am still trying."

 

Tom Christofk - Grass Valley, CA: "It was a lot of fun. That's it."

 

Admit it. If you have heard of Ride & Tie and heard stories about Ride & Tiers, you have wondered what a Ride & Tie is really like and how hard it really is. Admit it. You've heard that little voice inside, tempting you, "Go ahead… I dare you. If she can finish one you surely can. Come on … how hard can it be? Aren't you tough enough? Or… are you a WHIMP? CHICKEN! SISSY!" Trust me, the mental battle endures until you finally try it, once and for all. Here is the big question I ask myself everytime I do a Ride & Tie: "If I hate running, why am I having so much fun?" You tell me.

 

 

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