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Auburn’s tie to endurance runs deep

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After reading the letter by Bart Ruud (Aug. 11), I want to offer a few observations in support of the proposal to name the renovated central plaza area of Auburn “Endurance Plaza.” Auburn’s rich history and connection with major endurance events run deep and should not be cavalierly discarded as being a “catchy” fleeting theme. My first memories of Auburn are of the Ground Cow restaurant (then at Train Village) where my family would stop on the way from the Bay Area to Tahoe’s ski resorts. In the 1950s and 1960s that is what Auburn had become — a rest stop on the way to Tahoe. Although like most towns along Highway 49 Auburn has a rich history from the Gold Rush era, it was the legendary Wendell Robie who put Auburn back on the map. Wendell founded the Tevis Cup 100 Mile Endurance Ride in 1955 when he won a bet by proving that a man and his horse still had the mettle of the pioneers and could ride a horse 100 miles in a single day. In 1974 a young man from Colfax named Gordy Ainsleigh took that bet in an exciting new direction by leaving his horse at home and completing the Tevis on foot, making the run from Squaw Valley to Auburn in under 24 hours. Later, Gordy’s feat became what is now the Western States Endurance Run. It is those two events that have brought Auburn international recognition and coverage on national television in ways that are singularly unique to this community. With all deference to Mr. Ruud, we should all be proud of the endurance capital moniker for Auburn. CURTIS C. SPROUL, Newcastle