Who I am is not important. What I want to say is. The Desert 100 has been around for 41 years. It has been the Stumpjumpers premire event. I have been involved for 35 years.
In the beginning the race took place on mostly public land controlled by the BLM. There were a couple of private land owners that we dealt with, and permits from the BLM. We had thousands of acres to put on a race and poker run. In the 70’s we had maybe 350 poker runners, and 900 racers at best. As time passed land became harder and harder to come by. Now we still have around 900 racers, but 3000+ entries in the combined poker run, and a lot less land. The poker run is at the point of overwhelming.
The amount of land we have to stage this race is a fraction of those earlier events. To provide a course that is satisfactory for both those who come for the Poker-run event and those who wish to race 100 miles of desert creates a dilemma. How do we please both the entrant and the land owners. This is a difficult task and the Race Chairman takes it very seriously
This year the race chairman made a few bold decisions. He took out a lot of the past course to allow it to re-grow. He negotiated with the land owner for additional land to allow this to happen and keep the race a 100 mile event. He also ran the poker run across Irby road for the first time to pick up lost miles on the poker run. If you have ever traveled the path of the poker run after the event you would know what I mean when I say a bold decision.
I see the complaints, poker run was too short, long lines for T-shirts, didn’t know where to go for the Kid’s race, the trophy presentation ran late. Etc. I say go to the riders meeting and a lot of these questions would be answered before you had to question -what?
You want to know the soul of the club - listen to the radio as the sweep riders respond to the ultra-lite in the air as it calls out rider down at mile mark 27. The check point people communicating with race central. The HAM radio operators passing messages. The para-medics running around on those ATV’s with the big red cross flags. The Helicopter ready to take a seriously injured rider to the nearest hospital with the necessary skills to handle the problem. Our race chairman takes the responsibility of putting on this event very seriously, and he is by all definitions a part time employee. He has a real job.
I want to communicate how proud I am of those newer members that have taken the reins, and will attempt to direct our event into the future. Don Larson Chairman, Pete Wisner next years chairman, Mike Decker, Phil Wagner, Debbie Tonsgard. These are a few who will be the future of our race. Debbie has been around for a while, but we can’t live with out her.
This event has always been a passion of our family, and it is in good hands. Take it on to the future. We will be behind you.