Judith and I have been busy getting our horses ready for the ride in New Mexico. Sarge needs his 3* and CoC and Judith and Mia need a 2*. The horses are working well and seem very fit. All systems seem to be a go, except the the small problem of a crew. I think we have used up all our crew “credits” with good friends and we can’t afford to fly folks out. Hmm, how to solve this problem? One solution was for me to ride the 100 on Saturday and Judith crew for me. Then she would ride the 75 on Sunday and I would crew for her. Only thing wrong with this picture was Judith would end up with a tired crew person, and I would have someone worried about her horse all day long and trying to get it out on a ride while I was on course. A sure recipe for not being there when I came in.
What to do? I decided to post on my Facebook page that we needed crew people. I was actually very excited about this. I love bringing people together, give them a little training and let them go to work. Judith and I are nice riders to crew for, and our horses are pretty good too. We truly appreciate people being there for us, especially the ones who take off our saddles and lug them back to the crew box.
What would an ideal crew person be like? Well, tall, strong, young, fast and a good runner. There is no good looking requirement, although DeWayne Brown meets all the requirements . Mostly though, we get people just like us — short, middle aged, lousy runners. BUT, they are enthusiastic, quick learners, know horses and deal with the saddles anyway. They are organized and have everything ready to go at the checks — e-lytes, mashes, dry pads, peanut and butter and honey sandwiches – you name it. They don’t mind running around all day in squishy shoes from pouring water all over the horse and refilling our buckets. They laugh when the horse flings his head while he has a mouthful of mash and flings it over everyone and everything. When a stubborn horse holds the e-lytes in his mouth for ages, then lets go a lovely drool of salts, honey and molasses all over the person who administered it, they handle it with grace (or a minimum of swear words!) They have been known to give foot and shoulder massages, and work on horse muscles. We love them for being there.
Four people would be an ideal number. Two for each rider, or four each if we come into the checks at different times. Any number, even one or two, will still be better than the two of us trying to crew for each other. Somehow it is so much easier to be nice to people you don’t know that with someone you know well. Crabby and cranky with friends and strangers? Never!
In less than 24 hours of posting on Facebook, I have one confirmed crew and several serious inquiries. One of our favorite crew people, Giulia Orth, has already committed. We broke Giulia in at 20 Mule Team, crewing for 3 riders on the 65 miler. She was awesome and I am amazed she is coming back for more. Others are checking schedules and ride location (Las Cruces, New Mexico). Many east coasters volunteered if we are out further east. Well, we hope to be in Texas at the end March for the time trials if all goes well. That may not be far east enough, but I hope it is because some of my favorite crew people hail from the east. One of my great joys as chef was watching people from all over the country come together to work for the team, as a team. Nothing would give Judith and me more pleasure than having an eclectic crew from different regions of the country.
If you would like some training and experience for two well seasoned riders with good horses we would love to have you crew for us. We even try to have fun! Small stipend and meals included. Call or e-mail Becky: firstname.lastname@example.org and 408-425-5860