February 13 – 18, 2010

by Redhorse

          The 2010 Winter Olympics dealt with 110 year record low temperatures and loss of snow in Vancouver, Canada; while much of Texas dealt with 110 year record snow fall on the eve of the 23rd Annual Big Bend Stillwell Ranch ride this year.  The extraordinary weather and related illnesses kept many regulars from attending this year. 

          Best wishes go to rider Bob Sigmon and wagoneer Charles Taff with hospital stays and others with illnesses.  Mark “Hippy” Morton only accepted a 2 day delay due to his bout with walking pneumonia. As expected, he and Chef Wally ventured to the heights of Maravillas Canyon on Sunday.

          There were an estimated 23 new riders and one new wagoneer this year among the estimated 80 participants. Cande Myers, a U. S. Customs official from Presidio, TX, brought her beautiful wagon and team of Percheron mares. The majestic wagon caught the eye of everyone and some great riding to many.

          Among the new riders were some I met at the APHA ride at Fort Robinson, Nebraska in September 2009.  Katie Minkler from Ignacio, CO; Jim Hewett from Bonham, TX and Nancy Carter, DVM, from Bryan, TX and her cousin Dorothy Blome from Dallas, TX added fun memories to the ride.

          The new meals agenda this year was a tremendous success! With one Camp Pot Luck supper on Saturday, the rest were catered by Trailriding “Dutch Oven King”, Wally Roberts from Hobbs, NM. Wally’s entourage of wife Robbie, daughter Sarah and sidekick Andrew Roybal provided outstanding meals. Good luck finding a better menu for a week long trailride! Appetizers like jalapeno poppers & bottle caps, homemade chips, spinach dip and even fried pickles were hot items!! Main courses included chicken fried steak, pot roast, pork spare ribs and BBQ chicken; along with all the tempting side dishes.  Top off every meal with a variety of cobblers, cheese cakes ala mode and we’re talking exceptional!  The stacks of Dutch oven pots as you approached the comfortable dining tent told your taste buds to come alive!

          Every rider or wagoneer brings the gift of their character and that of their equine (and even canine) to blend with others.  The unofficial choice of extraordinary characters by the Trail Boss are as follows:   Nannette Patton, the "grease" on the Stillwell Store & RV wheel, for her devoted efforts in keeping the reservations and waiting lists organized Todd Johnson, from Marionville, MO, for the “Head Wrangler” award for his quick responses to numerous needs of trailriders on the trail  Tom Baird, from Chicago, IL, for the great patriotic towering U. S. Flag that was gloriously illuminated every night  Andrew Roybal, from Rio Rancho, NM, for his never ending supply of jokes and chivalry  Cande Myers, from Presidio, TX, for her beautiful and well trained team of Percherons and mini-daschunds and W. T. Potter for helping make this another wonderful year for trailriding the Stillwell Ranch.

          The annual BBQ, Pasture Prizes and Dance shows that in every rig is a pair of dancing boots and fancy duds! Area residents join in the Stillwell social event of the season, and Craig Carter and his band plays on.  Ever notice how all the buckles really shine the next day?

          The absence of our official photographer, Claudene Cooper, was felt.  The loss of a dear friend prevented her attendance.  Folks and equine familiar with her photographer ‘perches’ were greeted instead with bare rock ledges or vast scenery and greasewood.  Sis will be with us next year.  Thanks to those riders that have provided the action shots from this year.

           Every participant to the ride has been accommodated with needed lodging during its 23 year run.  As with all popular trailriding activities, facilities are in great demand, and sometimes guidelines need revising.  Starting with the 2011 trailride, reservations may be made at any time; one campsite or pen per person. However, the reservation MUST be re-confirmed, via phone (1-432-376-2244) or email (nan@stillwellstore.com), after January 1, 2011 or the reservation will be forfeited.

          Next year the ride will be held February 12 – 17, 2011. Ya'll come!


Enjoy the great pictures in the FOUR (4) PHOTO GALLERIES BELOW:





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