Riders and non-riders from across the globe united in 2020 to participate in the first-ever Virtual Tevis Cup endurance event.
2020 was a year for the history books. Many of us spent more time at home, less time traveling, and invented new ways to socialize, workout, and play. For us equestrians, many of our beloved horse events were canceled. For endurance riders across the world, it was the first time those running the prestigious 100-Mile One-Day Tevis Cup (also known as the Western States Trail Ride) ever voted to cancel the event.
But what was born out of the cancellation of the ride which normally occurs on the historic Western States Trail, running from Tahoe, California to Auburn, California, was the Virtual Tevis Cup, open to not just riders, but anyone who wanted to get outside and move — and had the aspirations to complete 100 miles in 100 days. There were two divisions: riding and non-riding. Riding competitors had to complete the 100 miles on the same horse, non-riding competitors could walk, hike, run, crawl, skip, boogey, bike, or… pretty much anything else to complete their miles. The kick-off date was the same date as when the traditional Tevis Cup Ride was supposed to occur: August 1, 2020.
A whopping 1,639 participants registered for the event, with 1,271 participants completing the 100 miles by the extended cut-off date (which was allowed past the original 100 days due to the wildfires across the western United States, causing poor outside air quality). Of those who finished, there were 1,063 riders and 208 non-riders. There were 18 countries represented, including Canada, Germany, Norway, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and even India.
As participants reached milestones on their journeys all over the globe, they could see where they would be if they were on the historic Western States Trail. For example, once a rider or runner hit 36 miles, he or she would virtually be at Robinson Flat, the first one-hour hold on the Tevis Cup trail.
The youngest non-riding participant to finish the Virtual Tevis Cup was Rose BezRoya, who was only four years old. The youngest riding participant was only one year older, five-year-old Nora Robinson, who finished on top of an equine her mother led her on. The oldest riding finisher was 83-year-old Wendy Fowler, but equally as impressive was the oldest non-riding finisher, 97-year-old Peggy Hansen, who walked all 100 miles.
Peggy’s family reported that she would walk from her house to the horse arena every day, completing 4 tenths of a mile before breakfast, 2 tenths after breakfast and finish the last one or two trips later in the day. Peggy kept this up until she fell at 66 miles, which required a stay in the hospital. Remarkably, she continued after healing, although she had to start with short mileage each day and gradually increase her walking. Fifteen days after her accident she was back to walking a mile or more, finally finishing all 100 miles! Peggy Hansen certainly displayed the attitude of the Tevis Cup Ride well: To Finish is To Win!
Interested in participating in the Virtual Tevis Cup this year? It kicks off July 24th, 2021! Find out more at teviscup.org or by visiting the Tevis Cup Virtual Ride Facebook page.