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Merri Travels

The Morning After (Bandit Springs)

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Sunday July 20 2008

I. WOW!
Look at the finish percentages for the ride:

100% on the Ride N Tie
86% on the 30
89% on the 50
85% on the 80
76% on the 100

II. WOW!
Oso was found! At 7 AM Max Merlich was back out searching on the 4-wheeler for the lost chihuahua, and running towards him on the road was Oso... being chased by an antelope! That was enough to terrify Oso into seeking out humans as a refuge again. Darlene didn't let go of him after that!

III. WOW!
I did notice a significant number of riders NOT WEARING HELMETS! That deserves another exclamation point - ! Of course wearing a helmet is entirely a matter of choice, and everybody probably has harder head bones than I do. Except for Juniors: don't even think about riding without a helmet. When you're of age, say 65, you can make a choice.

IV. WOW!
Talk about quick thinking: in lieu of the silver Tevis Belt Buckles that some 100 milers might have won at Tevis, Janelle was able, on the spur of the moment, with the help of her young son, to come up with special Bandit Springs belt buckles for the 100 mile finishers! It was a plain little ol' skinny buckle for a skinny belt, with a special, handmade, handwritten tag: "2008 Bandit Buckle." It wasn't THE TEVIS buckle, but it will always be a unique reminder of the year of the No Tevis: Bandit Springs ride.

These in addition to the other generous prizes given to every finisher. Everybody was called up to come get their completion awards; the 30 miler was peppered with "Go Gaiters!" cheers many times, for the at least 11 gaited horses that completed the ride. (As a side note: two unique 'gaiter' participants were a McCurdy Plantation Horse ridden by Elayne Barclay, and a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse ridden by Tiffany Sampson-LaPlante.)

Like in the Oscar speeches where the winners try to squeeze all their thanks to all who helped into too short a time, Janelle gratefully thanked the many many many volunteers who helped to put on this ride. Janelle lives 5 hours away from Ridecamp, so she couldn't have done it without them.

And - the ride wouldn't have happened again without the riders who showed up. Hopefully Tevis will carry on next year, but with the good trails and scenic setting in the Ochoco National Forest, and the friendly and relaxed atmosphere, while Bandit Springs isn't THE TEVIS, it sure is a fine alternative.


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