Santa Ysabel, Calif., July 5, 2006 -- Jim Howard added another win to his previous record of eight Ride & Tie World Championship titles, when he won this year's title on July 1. For his 2006 partner, Howard selected his brother-in-law Tom Gey who had watched the 2004 Ride & Tie World Championship on crutches with a broken leg.
More stunning than the number of World Championships held by Howard is his recovery from a near fatal accident in November 2005. Referring to his accident, which resulted in multiple internal injuries, the removal of his spleen, and a six-day stay in intensive care, the Howard says, "comebacks are sweet."
Gey, who has been racing the annual Ride & Tie World Championships since 1989, describes the experience of winning the sport's premier race as simply "amazing". Their shared horse, Magic Sirocco, a 12-year-old part-Arabian, has won three of the previous five World Championships and the coveted Best Condition award in three of those five years.
For the first of the three 10-mile loops of this year's race three teams traded off the lead. By the third loop two of the horses faded and were withdrawn from the race, leaving Sirocco and his runners well ahead of the next team, finishing in 3:37:43 with a record 46 minute lead over second place.
In addition to winning the overall title, the Howard and Gey also won Century-in-the-Saddle which recognizes the top team with a combined human age of 100 or more years. And as brothers-in-law they received the prize for the first place family team: an award they dedicated to their mother-in-law who started the family in the sport in 1978. They also won Pat's Purse, a challenge bonus offered for a team who wins the overall championship with a human team-member who has never won the championship.
Second place overall was the first woman/woman team of Alina Vale and Carrie Barrett riding the Arabian mare Basia, finishing in 4:24:34. Vale is a former Ride & Tie World Champion in the woman/woman category. This is her second title, and Barrett's first World Championship completion. As the top female team they won $1,000 in addition to the completion belt buckles awarded all finishing teams. They also won the coveted Best Conditioned award for their horse Basia, owned and crewed by Liz Carey.
Mary Tiscornia and Sid Sullivan riding Sal, and Robbie Shultz and Jonathan Jordan on Flyer, battled to the finish line for top woman/man team. The Tiscornia/Sullivan team successfully defended their World Champion title in 4:25:45 just one minute and 23 seconds ahead of Shultz and Jordan to claim the $1,000 award and their fourth shared woman/man world title.
The only international team to complete the course was Kirsten Seyferth, Sandra Barisch and their horse Scatris, representing Germany in 16th place overall.
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. For more information about Ride & Tie, visit www.rideandtie.org.