Monday, August 18, 2008

Canada: Kelowna rider triumphs at Canadian Nationals

August 17, Media Release

Sundre, AB -Elroy Karius of Kelowna, BC and his six year-old equine partner Jolly Holiday "Doc" captured the 50-mile endurance ride at the Rocky Mountain Challenge – 2008 Canadian Nationals August 2, 2008. The endurance ride was one of the eight events hosted over five days of competition which also included the long-distance equine sports of competitive trail riding and ride n' tie. The events were hosted at Red Deer River Ranches south of Sundre, AB.

Karius, an active endurance rider since 1994 got his start in competitive trail riding in 1981. In the last 6 years or so, when he broke the 6:30 hour mark, Karius has really become a contender. His fastest 50-mile ride was a flat ride in 3:40. This Nationals trail would not see blistering times to set any speed records. Its challenging terrain saw 1316 meters of elevation gain in long climbs. Technical stretches included some exceedingly difficult bog, which would claim many riders and saw one rider air-lifted to hospital. Twenty of the twenty-nine starters finished the event.

Just finishing the ride became an achievement and Karius would claim the gold with a ride time of 5:37:57.

"When you do this sport and the horse gives you everything they can give you and you get it done…it’s a gift." Said Karius of his win.

Bill Miller of Fairfield, MT rode his Arabian HA Lady Valarrie and captured the silver and the coveted best condition accolade with his time of 5:39:21. Doug Swingley of Lincoln, MT rode JV Laredo, a seven year-old Arabian to the bronze medal finishing in 5:47:31.

Karius’s mount 'Doc' claims that the horse has that Doc Holiday attitude. "He was a handful to work with. He’s tested us in many ways and continues to this day." Chuckles Karius. "But he’s probably got the best work ethic than any other horse I’ve ever worked with."

"For a young horse, he’s certainly done his work. He was awesome all day." Credits Karius. "For me, there is not greater pleasure than riding a fit horse."

Karius credits his wife, Gail Jewell, a veterinarian and fellow competitor who won the 100 mile the following day, his skilled farrier and other BC riders with assisting in achieving the big win and in helping him achieve in his chosen sport.

In 2003, Karius was named AERC middleweight division champion in Reno, NV and a week later he did a five day ride and claimed best condition on three of the five days. "That was Huge. I had this horse. It was a gift. He was exceptional."
Karius and the top contenders in the ride brought World Class horsemanship and talent to compete and riders of all levels were able to garner new experiences from their presence.

The Canadian National Champions included: Alberta team of Nancy Haughian of Grande Prairie, AB riding Buckaroo Heart, Dave Getzinger of Drayton Valley, AB aboard Prince Charming and Karen Badger of Grande Prairie, AB riding eight year-old Anglo-Arabian Erna Moon claimed the gold medal.

The Silver medal was awarded to Carol Wadey of Edson, AB and her two young daughters, Rae-Anne (17) and Robyn (13). These talented riders comprised Alberta’s second team and were the only team in both the 50 and 100-mile events to finish all three team members.

British Columbia secured the bronze medals with riders Lori Brewza from Chase BC riding her twelve year-old Morab Black Majik, Gail Jewell of Kelowna, BC and Wyatt Laing from Okanagan Center, BC riding a part-bred Arab Cody Flair.

The Canadian Nationals are held every two years, alternating between eastern and western Canada.

2008 Canadian Nationals in Competitive Trail, Endurance and Ride N’ Tie
www.canadiannationals.org

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