WASHTUCNA - The 2011 American Horse Endurance Race season got started in the Northwest region March 26 with the first race of the year at the "Home on the Range" ride near Washtucna. Six local horses and riders competed at distances of 25, 50, and 75 miles.
Ernie Schrader won the 75-mile distance with his horse, Captain Calypso.
Sue Webb, Ruth Sheridan and Heather Wimer competed in the 25-mile distance with more than 50 competitors.
Sheridan finished in ninth place, with Wimer just behind in 11th place.
In the first endurance race for Webb and her horse, she elected to use it as an introductory training ride through the first loop of 16 miles and forgo the next loop of nine miles, putting "welfare of the horse" first.
Dean Hoalst and Bob Westergard competed in the 50-mile distance with a field of more than 60 horses.
Westergard had to pull his horse from the ride near its completion.
Hoalst finished in sixth place with his horse, Pay Attention - bred by the late Pat Gregg, a local legend in horse racing and competition.
Weather was cool and pleasant throughout the 25- and 50-mile distances, Schrader reported, but turned to heavy rain, strong wind and pitch-black darkness during the night conclusion of that race. Only three of the 12 starting horses finished the race.