Marathon Day at Live Oak is like no other in this country. There are thousands of spectators who all need a place to park their cars, so there is a large group of people who handle just that. Admission is $5 per person. There are shuttles for the handicapped, but others have to walk from the other side of the road. Many bring their own chairs, but there is bleacher seating at every hazard. Of course the two most popular are the water hazard and the Gulch. Not only are they the most exciting, but there is shade! The Trade Fair is quite large, and there many food vendors even down near the hazards so it is quite a festive day particularly when the weather is nice, and this year it was practically perfect – sunny but not too hot. Tailgating is also popular and groups buy space – I think it is about 10 feet wide – and bring in food and beverage from the very simple to the very elaborate – and invite their friends to join them. Many tailgaters surround the water hazard, but only on one side, so there is still the other side for spectators and bleachers for them to sit on.
Nifty Hamilton won the Intermediate Single Horse class with her Morgan Battersea Rodney. She won most of the seven hazards which put her ahead of Marcie Quist who won the dressage.
I spent much of the afternoon at The Gulch. It can be a difficult hazard to shoot, but this year the ‘off side’ didn’t have as many trees and posts in the way and the sun was shining. This might be the first year that no one tipped over in it. Because I was on the other side, I didn’t see the problem Chester Weber had, but apparently he missed a turn and the leaders came to a halt, the wheelers and carriage pushed into them, and it required quite a bit of brute strength to sort things out, but Chester managed and without putting any grooms down.
Live Oak was Jacob Arnold’s second Advanced competition with his Morgan, Shadow. He was one of several junior drivers at the event – and all did very well considering the difficulty of the course and the stiff competition. Mike was instrumental in setting up the Live Scoring which enabled Richard Pringle to send the scores every few minutes to his web site so those at home and at the competition didn’t have to wait until the end of the day or trek back and forth to the score board.