Monday, July 01, 2013

Have you ever seen a Packhorse Race? ....I didn't think so.

Do you remember my friend, Chariot-Racing Betty? If not, you can read about her chariot races here and here.

If chariot racing isn't enough to establish the fact that life in Wyoming is a wee bit different than life in Indiana, Betty and her husband, John, also compete in packhorse races, most recently in the Don Scheer Memorial Packhorse Race in Dubois, Wyoming, on Father's Day weekend.

Doug and I didn't go to Wyoming for the races, so credit for the photographs in this post goes to Diane Probasco, Betty's partner in the Powder Puff Race, which is a ladies-only race. There was also an Open Division race and an Old Timers Race, in which the combined contestant ages must total 100 years or more. Betty's husband, John, and his partner finished fourth in that one.

Each team consists of two riders, two saddle horses, and a packhorse. The contest begins with a fully set-up camp, including tent, camp stove, two bedrolls, an axe, and a shovel. There is a specific configuration required for everything in the camp.

When the "GO" signal is given, the teammates begin tearing down their camp, packing the gear on the packhorse, and saddling the saddle horses.

Betty and Diane waiting for the signal to begin tearing down their camp

Packing up

Taking off

When everything is ready, the riders, with one of them leading the packhorse, must trot a seven-mile course, which brings them back to the starting line. The teams must then unpack and unsaddle their horses and take a 10-minute break, after which they again pack up and saddle up and trot the seven-mile course a second time. Then they must set up camp again.

Diane and Betty finished 2nd in their race.

Sometimes, having fun looks like a lot of work.

Update: Betty explained that only in the Open Division do the contestants have to ride twice over the course. The Powder Puff Race and the Old Timers Race cover the course only once.


  1. Hi There, Hope you are doing well. I've been absent from blogging (on vacation) for a couple of weeks --and am trying to catch up a little. YIPES!!!! ha

    A Packhorse Race???? Hmmmm---looks like something you all need to make a trip to Wyoming JUST to see... Looks like fun!!!


  2. what a cool sport! thanks for sharing this, again!

  3. Never heard of a pack horse race. Very interesting.

  4. You've convinced me that Wyoming is very different from Indiana. I wonder what other surprises they have? This actually sounds like a lot of fun, but I think I'd rather watch than do all the work of tearing down and putting up camp.

  5. Sounds like that is not for the faint of heart.

  6. That does seem like a lot of work! Would take a great deal of practice too I'm sure. How fun, I'd like to see one! How did they do in this race?

  7. There are no limits for what people may contest at, are they? :) This contest looks like fun to watch but hard work to participate in, I sort of can't believe it's real, not a movie. So different lifestyle from the one I'm used to. And Linda, isn't it wonderful where your asking Betty about that belt buckle lead you? ;)

    Thanks to Diane for sharing the photos and congratulations to her and Betty for the great 2nd place.

  8. I'm sitting here wondering .. why? I guess .. because the can. ;)


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