July 17, 2008 -- If you keep up with the horse-world news, you've probably heard by now that returning champion, Chris Cox, took top honors for the second year in a row at this year's Road to the Horse (RTTH) colt-starting challenge, March 1-2--and that the highly anticipated "mystery competitor" was Mike Kevil of Cave Creek, Ariz., a former RTTH judge.
While the first RTTH competition was in 2003, this was only the second one I've attended. I must say this year's competition seemed a little less raucous than last year's. Lucky enough to see the action five feet away from the lens of my camera, I felt a little like I was in the midst of a firestorm last year as the crowd shouted encouraging cheers to their favorite competitor--and a few less-than-encouraging remarks toward their non-fave competitors.
Yet, the event still holds more excitement than any other equine event I've witnessed, and this year's event proved no different with a jam-packed house. Although the event's outcome is somewhat "old news," and 2009 RTTH tickets are already on sale, we thought it'd be fun to take a pictorial review of this year's event.
> View the 2008 Road to the Horse Slideshow
2008 RTTH FAST FACTS
The locale: Murfreesboro, Tenn., Tennessee Miller Coliseum
The stars: Chris Cox, Mineral Wells, Texas; Tommy Garland, Powhatan, Va.; Ken McNabb, Powell, Wyo.; and "mystery competitor" Mike Kevil, Cave Creek, Ariz.
The horses: Ten 3-year-old Quarter Horse colts owned by Joe Wood, Jr.; bred at his Wood Ranch, Heber Springs, Ark.
The judges: Terry Crofoot, Robert M. Miller, DVM, Jack Brainard,
Toni Warvell, and James Gholson
Owner and producer: Tootie Bland
Emcees: Rick Lamb, host of the radio program "The Horse Show," and Larry Mahan, rodeo legend
Booty: Saddle by Martin Saddlery with Gist Silversmiths' conchos; Gist Silversmiths' belt buckle with RTTH engraving; $15K donation to winner's chosen charity--and, of course, RTTH-champion bragging rights
In case you haven't heard: Defending champ, Chris Cox took top honors for the second year in a row