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Tevis Cup to test horse and rider in endurance marathon Saturday

By: Joshua Ansley journal sports writer
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The 55th annual Tevis Cup is riding into Auburn this Saturday, July 24. The 100-mile-long Tevis Cup has long been considered the most revered and difficult equestrian ride in the world. Beginning in Robie Equestrian Park near Truckee and finishing at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, the ride ascends 15,000 feet and descends around 23,000. Much of the trail contains terrain otherwise unreachable without a highly conditioned horse. In one section of the ride the riders will have to climb 2,550 vertical feet in close to four and one-half hours in order to stay on pace. Despite the rate of climb being higher in other areas, many consider Robinson Flat the most difficult stretch of the entire event. It is a 36 mile section without rest. Each horse is judged at checkpoints along the trail by veterinarians who determine if the horse is fit to continue. It is a ride of endurance over speed. On average, just slightly over half of the field finishes every year. In all, the ride takes about half a day to complete. The fastest time ever recorded was by three time winner Boyd Zontelli in 1981, finishing in 10 hours and 46 minutes. This year proves to be a sensational ride. Local riders will be faring off against others from around the world. Two-time winner Potato Richardson will be competing once again along with close to o 200 other riders. Be on the lookout for former 1978 winner Kathie Perry, and her new horse, Rio, as she looks to complete her 20th Tevis Cup Ride. Also look for a special feature on Kathie Perry in Thursday’s sports section.