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Competitive trail riders covet Cariboo countryside

100 Mile House chapter of the BC Competitive Trail Riders Association (BCCTRA) drew 25 participants to the recent competitive trail ride.
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Katie Schoor of Victoria and Kevin Gourlay of Qualicum Beach competed successfully at last weekend's competitive trail ride at 108 Mile.

The rolling hills, open meadows and tranquil lakes in the vicinity of The Hills Health Ranch at 108 Mile were the picturesque backdrops for last weekend's Cariboo Plateau Competitive Trail Ride.

The Aug. 12-13 event, hosted by the 100 Mile House chapter of the BC Competitive Trail Riders Association (BCCTRA) drew 25 participants from Vancouver Island, Washington State, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Quesnel and 100 Mile House.

Club member Pat Hayward, who co-managed the event with Elisa Marocchi, says it's the beauty of the countryside that attracts competitors from so far away.

"People seem to love that Marlboro kind of scenery - especially those from [Vancouver] Island, where they don't really see much of that."

The youngest participant was 10-year-old Tatiana Hill from Williams Lake who rode with her grandfather, Blane Hill, from Victoria.

"It's very much a family sport," says Hayward. "Lots of spouses came and stayed in camp and fished and hiked and enjoyed other interesting things the area has to offer."

The event offered three levels of competition, with classes for heavy- and light-weight horses, and for junior riders.

Veterinarian Ross Hawkes from Williams Lake checked horses on Friday, before being allowed on the course on Saturday.

Horses and riders covered distances of up to 62.8 kilometres, with judging based on time taken to complete the course, as well as respiration, pulse rate and dehydration level of the horse.

There was a pre-determined window of time to finish the course and those who were both too fast and too slow were disqualified.

In level 1 junior division competition, with a course length of 29.5 km, Tannis Jones of Coquitlam was the winner. The lightweight division was won by Erin Williamson of Salmon Arm, followed by Karen Parlee of 70 Mile House in second and Sherri Cochlan of Courtney in third place.

In the heavyweight division, Myrna Thompson from Kelowna took first place, Dan Beaumont of Courtney in second and Doug Carr of Ladysmith in third.

Level 2 junior division competition, with a course length of 45.9 km, saw Kevin Gourlay of Qualicum Beach hold the lead, followed by Katie Schoor of Victoria and Tatiana Hill.

The lightweight division winner was Nicola Maughn of 100 Mile House, followed by Joni DeWitt of Salmon Arm and Karen Duschek of 100 Mile House.

Heavyweight winner was Blane Hill, followed by Mike Day of 100 Mile House.

In the level 3 lightweight 62.8-km division, Lori Bewza of Chase took the victory, with Nicole Daugeois of Nanaimo in second place.

Heavyweight division winner was Tammy Mercer of Fanny Bay, and Diane Prinsen of Salmon Arm finished second.

The vet's choice award, judged on horse condition, behaviour and presentation, was awarded to Mercer's six-year-old Arabian gelding, WRA Dark Diablo.

The event concluded with a silent auction, which raised $684 for the 100 Mile House & District Women's Centre Society.