Libby, Mont., August 9, 2005 -- Defending Champion Jim Howard and his horse Magic Sirocco teamed with Mark Richtman to garner Howard an eighth win at the 35th Annual Ride & Tie World Championship on July 9. Richtman, another standout athlete, now boasts seven championship titles.
The two runners have often battled for the win over the years; this was the first time they combined their talents on one team, besting the next team by nearly 35 minutes with a winning time of 4:27:04.
From base camp at 2500 feet elevation, the rugged course ran through the Kootenai National Forest rising to 4500 feet at the highest point. Total elevation gain was nearly 4000 feet, with the finish line at approximately 33 miles.
Sid Sullivan and Mary Tiscornia finished second overall. Tiscornia is the only athlete to have competed in every Ride & Tie World Championship since the sport's inception in 1971. Thom Steere, Jonnie Alper and the horse Wesob finished third overall.
In fourth place overall, riding the 22-year-old Cimarron, Rachel Toor and Elaine Ruprecht took the women's Ride & Tie World Champion title. In the only heated race for a world title, the Toor/Ruprecht team battled the next woman/woman team to finish the race with a 39-second advantage.
First place horse Magic Sirocco received the coveted Best Condition Award from the panel of veterinarians monitoring equine fitness throughout the race.
"Best Condition is highly prized as a reflection of the care given to the horse, both in conditioning for the event and on race day," said Don Betts, race director and organization president. "It is a testament to these guys' skills as horsemen that they hold a combined 12 Best Condition Ride & Tie World Championship titles between them."
The Howard/Richtman team set another first: at 50 years apiece, Century in the Saddle went to the first place team. Century in the Saddle recognizes the top team with 100 or more years combined age.
International teams representing Canada and Great Britain successfully completed the championship race. The top Canadian team of Linda Riley and Jane Depner riding Kittasha placed 23rd overall. The Great Britain team of Sybil Soulsby and Prue Critchley placed 31st overall with a riding time of 9 hours 33 minutes on William.
The youngest competitors to earn their completion buckles were McKenna Steere and her partner Marguerite Davenport, both 16 years old, riding Bombay. The oldest team, of Joan Ruprecht and Cowman A-Moo-Ha of Hawaii, boasted a combined age of 132 years. They also rode the oldest horse, 24-year-old Feather.
The sport of Ride & Tie combines trail running, endurance riding and strategy. The goal is to get all three team members, two humans and one horse, across a 20 to 100 mile cross-country course by alternating riding and running. Everyone starts out together. The rider, being faster, rides ahead and ties the horse to a tree and then continues down the trail on foot. The team member who started out on foot gets to the horse, unties, mounts up and rides past the runner, ties the horse... and this leapfrog continues the entire course. For more information, visit the Ride & Tie Association.