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Stacy renews love for the trail

Supported by like-minded crew, Auburn rider determined to make the most of her return
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Mickie Stacy’s friends are calling her and her horse Rosie “The Wonder Team.” On Saturday, the 73-year-old Auburn resident and her 16-year-old mare will hit the Western States Trail to compete in the Tevis Cup. For Stacy it will be the first time since 1992. Acting as her crew and cheerleading committee are a group of endurance ride veterans. They also happen to be self-proclaimed senior citizens. Each Tevis rider experiences some nervousness because of the event’s notoriety, according to Stacy. With a frenzy of preparations to be made, she’s no exception. “You seem to get anxiety around the Tevis Cup no matter what. There is an aura about it,” Stacy said. “It’s just a very special ride. People have come from every other country to ride it. It’s very well-known and it’s right in our backyard.” Despite the challenges of the Tevis Cup, Stacy is confident she has what to takes to cross 100 of the toughest miles on horseback. She and Rosie ride the trail often, and Stacy already has two buckles under her belt. Another completion has been a dream of Stacy’s for a long time. Juggling two jobs toward the end of her career, one at the Placer County treasurer’s/tax collectors office and another for the Sheriff’s Office, made it difficult for her to find the time to prepare. Now that she is retired, her friends have encouraged her to go for it. “I feel in pretty good shape. I go to the gym and do all the (50 mile endurance rides). I think I can do it. It’s going to be a big challenge,” Stacy said. “And Rosie is 16. She’s not a spring chicken either.” Seeing other folks in her age range that have completed the race also gives Stacy confidence. The new October start date may present some challenges, including more time riding in the dark and rain. Stacy said she is remaining positive. Friend and former Tevis Cup finisher Rho Bailey is eager to support her. She even had buttons made that say, “Mickie and Rosie- the wonder team.” Bailey said Rosie is certainly the right horse for Stacy to ride. “Her horse is 16. She is like a boarder collie on steroids when it comes to endurance riding,” Bailey said. “She bred her to do this.” If anything should go wrong, Bailey said the Sweep Riders of the Sierras, known as S.O.S, come to the rescue. They follow the last rider on horseback with HAM radios. With much of the trail inaccessible, except for by foot, horseback or helicopter, having sweep riders is a necessary precaution. Aside from being part of the crew, Bailey wants to help keep Stacy’s spirits high. “She and the horse are both high strung,” Bailey said. “We’ve been kidding her and telling her we are going to sneak bourbon in her water bottle. We’re trying to help take her mind off the competition. Whatever she does we are accepting of her.” Bailey has been involved with Tevis since 1961. She helped start the American Endurance Ride Conference and still works in the office two days a week. Bailey said she remembers the feeling of triumph she felt near the end of her first Tevis Cup and hopes her friend can experience it again this year. “You get like vertigo. My first year, I swear I saw Bigfoot and naked men and everything else the last 20 miles,” Bailey said. “When I rode across No Hands Bridge, it changed my life. I knew I could do any single thing I put my mind to.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.