Local riders made an impressive showing at the inaugural Black Fly Express, held just north of Dearlock on Sept. 11-12.
The competition, which is part of the American Endurance Riding Conference’s schedule, saw 23 riders on the first day and 12 on the second.
The event allowed riders to participate in three different distances: 50 miles, 25 miles, and 15 miles.
On the first day, Aime St. Vincent of Ste. Anne, Man. won the 50-mile race aboard “In the Limelight” in a time of 9:56, edging out Pure Critchley of Hamiota, Man. riding “Fort William.”
In the 25-mile race, Bev Rinke of International Falls, riding “Dakota’s Ransom,” came in a nose ahead of Dorion, Ont.’s Denise Ham, who rode “A&B Choice” Cut.
Rinke finished in 3:03 and Ham in 3:04.
Meanwhile, Rachel Hill of Alberton, aboard “Sunbeam,” finished third in 3:11.
Other locals in the race included Rhonda Shoemaker, riding “Shadows Barago,” and Kim Shoemaker, aboard “Thunders Red Sky.”
The Miscampbell duo finished fifth and sixth, respectively (3:38 and 3:41).
As well, Jessica Shoemaker of Alberton, riding “Rio,” finished ninth in 3:47, with Cliff Holborn of Devlin, aboard “Cloe,” sitting in 10th in 3:48.
The 15-mile race was comprised exclusively of district riders.
Kim Tarrant of Fort Frances was the first to arrive back, bringing in “Shana” in 3:34, while Jessica Curtis and “Honeys Magre Sundust” of Atikokan wasn’t far behind (3:36).
Two minutes later, Atikokan’s Sandy McBride and “Ricki” made it back.
Trish Neilson of Blackhawk, riding “Skippy Chevy Nova,” and Fort Frances’ Myrna Cooper, aboard “Lucky Gambler,” both made it back in 4:07 to round out the top five.
Donna Adrian, Robin Wakefield, Sara Selman, Taleah Gerhard, and Tina Selman rounded out the competitors.
The second day didn’t feature a 50-mile race, but T.J. Edwards of Spooner, Wis., aboard “JBK Tara,” earned the win in the 25-mile edition in 2:53.
Hill finished second in 3:23, followed by Ham in third (3:26).
The 15-mile ride saw some new competitors, but Neilson still earned the win in 3:47.
Erin Bynkoski of Fort Frances, riding “Wild Winds Irish Flame,” was a minute behind.
Devlin’s Gerri Benjamin, aboard “Tanner,” and Lois Bradley of Fort Frances, riding “Buddy Custer,” were another minute behind to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Rhonda Shoemaker, on “Aninliky,” rounded things out at 3:50.