Local team sweeps American River Classic | TheUnion.com

Local team sweeps American River Classic

From left: Owner Mark Montgomery, MM Woodrow and rider Ann Marie Barnett pose with the American River Classic Endurance Ride trophy. Barnett and MM Woodrow posted the fastest time in teh event since 1989.
Submitted photo |

Ann Marie Barnett and her steed MM Woodrow won the 41st running of the American River Classic Endurance Ride Saturday.

In addition to having the fastest overall time, the pair won Best Condition accolades, the Barceleau Cup for being the first horse that completes the 50 mile ride in the Pioneer Division and demonstrating the “willingness and ability to go on,” and who carried a minimum of 165 pounds with tack.

Second place honors went to Brandon Reed aboard Foxy and third to Kamal Shehadeh and Java, both of Granite Bay.

The history of the American River Classic (formerly the American River Ride) is almost synonymous with the history of American Endurance Ride Conference, and the existence of what today is called the modern form of endurance riding. Diane Marquard of Cool started the ride in 1972. This year’s course traveled the historic Pioneer Express Trail alongside the American River and Folsom Lake to Auburn Overlook staging Area. From there it followed the Robie/WSTF Trail to Cool, completed the entire Olmstead Loop, and then returned to Auburn for the finish. Barnett’s time of 4 hours, 58 minutes is the fastest since 1989 and a course record for the current trail.

According to Barnett, the race was close until No Hands Bridge at which time MM Woodrow picked up speed and took the win with ease.

Joby and Lindsey Souza were the ride managers at the event which was a benefit for cancer survivors and the fight against cancer. For every entry, $10 was donated to Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund. This year’s slogan was “Ride for the Cause, Ride for life.”

This Victory was a repeat for MM Woodrow, affectionately referred to as Woody. Woody is an 8-year old mustang gentled by Mark Montgomery. Woody was born in Wyoming and remained wild until the age of three when he was gathered by BLM and adopted through their Wild Horse and Burro Adoption program. Woody came to Montgomery in 2013 after being labeled difficult and unruly by his first adopted home. Through Montgomory’s gentling techniques and patience, Woody transformed into a high caliber endurance horse. Montgomery is a long time resident of Penn Valley and trainer of top endurance mustangs. His mustangs have won the Barceleau Cup the past four times awarded.

Barnett has been competing in horse events since the age of seven. A Colorado native, she relocated to Northern California in 2007 to attend UC Davis. She currently trains and conditions endurance horses in addition to working for Gateway Real Estate.

Woody and Barnett began the 2015 competition season by winning overall fastest time and Best Condition at the 200 mile Death Valley Encounter. The pair is optimistically training for the 2015 Western States Trail Ride also known as the Tevis Cup Aug. 1.

Coaches and event organizers may submit game reports by email at sports@theunion.com or by phone at 530-477-4232.

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