comments

IT'S ALL GRAVY: Potato Richardson cruises to his 3rd Tevis Cup title in field of 90 finishers

By: Ike Dodson of the Auburn Journal
-A +A

Potato Richardson rode into the Fast Fridays Arena to the roar of applause with his head held high and his equestrian helmet hoisted even higher.

The 72-year-old endurance riding icon of Greenwood finished the 2015 Tevis Cup, a 100-mile endurance ride, in 16 hours, 50 minutes Saturday evening to claim his third event victory and 22nd finishing buckle on the Western States Trail.

A little tired, but radiating with post-race enthusiasm, Potato took pride in the latest feat of his life’s greatest passion.

“It took dedication, staying focused on goals,” Potato said a few minutes after his finish. “I knew I had it about three miles back.

“It’s not over till you cross that line.”

Potato spent most of the race with fellow Sliger Mine Ranch rider Gabriella Valescchi, but she was pulled from the race at Robinson Flat. Potato trudged on to nab a 27-minute lead of second-place Gwen Hall (Colorado) in the final few miles.

In all, 90 of the 201 riders who started the race managed to finish. Volunteers and veterinarians worked tirelessly to keep the mounts in good health, pulling riders from the competition if the horses were deemed unfit to safely continue.

A few riders were injured on the ride. Roger Downy was airlifted from the Western States Trail after a head injury and broken ribs. According to the Tevis Cup Facebook page, Downy is recovering and expected to see a hospital release this week. Kristine Hartman also had an accident at Volcano Canyon where she broke her arm, however she pressed on to finish the race. She signed a waiver with medics so that she could proceed.

Potato’s horse, Arab mare SMR Filouette, delivered a spectacular performance to carry him to a first-place.

“He’s got a very good horse and he’s pacing the horse,” Potato’s team member Bill Fox of Fairfield said during the race. “This is his (22nd finish), so he knows what he is doing.

“He has some good horses behind him, too.”

Potato said he had good people on his team and alongside him for the event. He won the event in 1998 and 2002, but he hadn’t finished the Tevis Cup since 2010. He made the most of this year’s ride.

“About 25 miles in, I was out riding with Gabriella and I said, ‘If I got pulled right now, the scenery and everything we have seen would be worth it.’

“It’s beautiful out there.”

Email Ike Dodson at iked@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson.

2015 Tevis Cup finishers

RANK            NAME                                    FINISH

1          Potato Richardson      10:05 p.m.

2          Gwen Hall                   10:35 p.m.

3          Barrak Blakeley (Jr.)      10:51 p.m.

4          Lisa Ford                     10:51 p.m.

5          Jenni Smith                 10:59 p.m.

6          Dawn Tebbs                11:13 p.m.

7          Garrett Ford                11:15 p.m.

8          Lindsay G. Fisher       11:24 p.m.

9          Suzanne Hayes            11:24 p.m.

10        Katherine Broaddus    11:25 p.m.

11        Haily Daeumler           11:48 p.m.

12        Nick Huynh                12:34 a.m.

13        Karen Donley              12:35 a.m.

14        Lisa Downs                 12:40 a.m.

15        Claire Godwin                        12:40 a.m.

16        Tennessee Lane           12:59 a.m.

17        Jackie Smith (Jr.)           12:59 a.m.

18        Leah Cain                    1:17 a.m.

19        Susie Jones                  1:17 a.m.

20        Sue Basham                1:19 a.m.

21        Janet Worts                 2:07 a.m.

22        Karen Chaton              2:08 a.m.

23        Pamela Bailie              2:15 a.m.

24        Celena Pentrack          2:15 a.m.

25        Kristine Hartman        2:15 a.m.

26        Parry Kietzman           2:19 a.m.

27        Claire Taylor (Jr.)         2:19 a.m.

28        Rob Lydon                  2:19 a.m.

29        Kathue Perry               2:49 a.m.

30        Wasch Blakeley          2:55 a.m.

31        ClaydonPeter              2:55 a.m.

32        Pamela Karner             3:16 a.m.

33        Rose Ross                   3:24 a.m.

34        Christoph Schork        3:24 a.m.

35        Courtney Vargas         3:26 a.m.

36        Kathy Sherman           3:27 a.m.

37        Laura Spear                 3:27 a.m.

38        Marcelle Himanka       3:29 a.m.

39        Cory Soltau                 3:37 a.m.

40        Bill Shelton                 3:37 a.m.

41        Janine Esler                 3:43 a.m.

42        Tammy Gagnon          3:45 a.m.

43        Kenneth Wolgram       3:46 a.m.

44        Linda Hada                 3:48 a.m.

45        Barbara White             3:53 a.m.

46        Sharon Keinan                        4:09 a.m.

47        Morgan Rodgers         4:12 a.m.

48        Meryl Dalla Via          4:13 a.m.

49        Natalie Drost               4:13 a.m.

50        Charlotte Fleming       4:13 a.m.

51        Kelly Blue                   4:14 a.m.

52        Amber Clark               4:14 a.m.

53        Jenna   Towner            4:15 a.m.

54        Melissa Lenter             4:15 a.m.

55        Andre Alverez                        4:16 a.m.

56        Maria Vargas               4:16 a.m.

57        Rachel Lodder                        4:18 a.m.

58        Erin Riley-Kelley        4:20 a.m.

59        LuAnne Thomas         4:20 a.m.

60        Anne Bochenski          4:20 a.m.

61        Kaitlin Cummins         4:22 a.m.

62        Katelyn Valentine       4:22 a.m.

63        Donnette Uhl              4:22 a.m.

64        Bart Eskander             4:22 a.m.

65        Peter Hommertzheim 4:23 a.m.

66        Robert Ribley              4:30 a.m.

67        Melissa Ribley       4:30 a.m.

68        Daniela Mielke            4:31 a.m.

69        Heidi Smith                 4:31 a.m.

70        Morgan Bowman (Jr.)     4:32 a.m.

71        Jonathan Bowman      4:33 a.m.

72        Lisa Schneider                        4:33 a.m.

73        Cunningham Marci     4:33 a.m.

74        Carrie Miracle-Jordan 4:33 a.m.

75        Jaylene Janzen             4:33 a.m.

76        Christy Janzen             4:33 a.m.

77        Susan Garlinghouse    4:34 a.m.

78        Myna Cryderman        4:34 a.m.

79        Hilary Haynie              4:34 a.m.

80        Ronda Eden                4:40 a.m.

81        Lisa Preston                4:45 a.m.

82        Fernando Paiz             4:52 a.m.

83        John Perry                   4:54 a.m.

84        Wade Johnson             4:54 a.m.

85        Tammy Karnow          4:54 a.m.

86        Amanda Fant             4:54 a.m.

87        Tammy Lessig             4:54 a.m.

88        Tracy John                   4:56 a.m.

89        Cathy Bartusek           4:56 a.m.

90        S. Motschenbacher      4:59 a.m.