Rain, Rein, Reign

Despite extreme weather, Thacher sweeps cowboy competition.
Last weekend, Cam Schryver, director of Thacher’s Horse Program, and eight student riders trailered their horses to Acton, California for an Extreme Cowboy Race competition. The objective: introduce Thacher students to this unique type of competition. Adding to the already demanding event was weather that included just about every kind of wet and cold you could name (rain, sleet, hail, wind, and snow).

Dampened but undaunted, the Thacher riders and their mounts worked well together, bringing back four belt buckles and a saddle. The student riders took the first three spots in the youth division, with Laura Benard '10 (riding Slash) finishing in first place, Chris Colson '11 (on Podoca) second, and Cayce Cover '12 (on Corkey) in third. Thacher also furnished the sixth- through tenth-place finishers: Wohona Delgadillo '10 (Katie-Ann), Ashley Sauvain '10 (Cisco), Katy Bartzokis '09 (Spear), and Olivia Stonehouse '11 (Giraffe). Raquel Reissinger '11 (Amigo) also competed for Thacher.

This was a brand new experience for everyone but Cam, the reigning Extreme Cowboy Champion since his victory at the national competition in November of 2008. Extending the Thacher sweep at Acton, Cam won the weekend’s pro division (and a new saddle).

“I know the kids were a little nervous going into this, but I waspretty confident they’d realize how well prepared they were once theystarted the competition,” said Cam. “Our riders were entered in theyouth class and were, in my opinion, just standouts. Laura Benard took first place by going through thefinals course guiding Slash with just a thin rope around his neck.Everything looked beautiful and she really blew away the competition.”

Despite making it look easy, the Thacher riders enjoyed the challenge of a new experience. "The best part," said Cayce Cover, "was being with all of the great people who went, and being able to work with my horse on things that are really scary. The most difficult part was convincing my horse that he wasn't going to be eaten by all of the obstacles."

It was a great weekend despite the weather. "The kids were in greatspirits, rode very well, met some nice people and took home all thebuckles and cash the youth class had to offer," reported Mr. Schryver. Added Cayce Cover, "I haven't done anything like this before. I haveenjoyed myself more than I thought possible and if I ever get a chanceto, I would do it again in a heartbeat."

Contestants in Extreme Cowboy Races are judged on the basis of horsemanship and the time it takes them to move with their horses through a series of challenges involving obstacle courses, reining, roping, and cattle work. With Thacher's gymkhana season just getting underway, the Horse Department is adding a few Extreme Cowboy-type competitions to the mix of point-scoring opportunities. And Cam is looking into the possibility of bringing an official Extreme Cowboy event to campus in the future.

Photos: Laura Benard '10

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Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.