Calling the trail ‘Over the Top to Owaka’ was something of a freudian slip for Trail Boss, Les Beattie, who admits his biggest fear is that he won’t be able to take on the mantle of maturity and resist pranking the wranglers.
But having fun and enjoying everyone’s company has been a characteristic of this trail ever since the days of Stu ‘clownsuit’ Moore. Les may feel he has big boots to fill stepping into the Trail Boss role but he’s off to a flying start with size 12 feet.
In fact, most of the spaces have been filled on this trail which will head out from Lawrence on 25th Feb, going over the hills and coming along the beach into Owaka on 3rd March. The team have done a pre-ride and word is, its going to be a cracker with a bit of everything – forest, rivers, rolling hills, beaches and lots of muddy bog. Nah just joking about the bog.
We caught up with Les on the awesome Birchwood Hunt Trek a few months ago to find out what makes this trail so special. He reckons he can sum it up in one word: the people. Which is actually two words but we won’t let that get in the way of a good story.
It starts with the crew of volunteers who make it all happen each year – the wranglers, the gophers, and the tail-end right charlies. You’ll be pleased to know, once again, catering is by the Rusty Carrot, or should we say Trusty Carrot. That vehicle has gone places no van should go and survived to serve fresh baked bread and to-die-for meals.
Pete Booth is the main wrangler, coming from the Lawrence area, with Chum helping out in the middle and at the tail end – Ray and Duncan. Then, as back up, its the same faces who do a brilliant job – Tonto, Wendy and Sharon.
So what is it that makes Les tick? We asked him a few questions at lunchbreak at the top of the Selbies.
- How long have you been riding for?
Since 8am this morning
2. (Groan) What’s the most useless thing you ever took on a trek …
A spare leg for my horse (true story – ask Martha)
3. What was the second most useless thing?
I had this torch. It was bright like a laser. Too bright because everyone knew when I was going for a leak at night.
4. What was the silliest time you fell off your horse?
At the Glenorchy Riding club. A rider undid my back cinch. I was leaning over to do it back up again and they grabbed my leg and flipped me off. It was all over FB.
(Can anyone find this on FB and post?)
5. If you could take a celebrity on your ride, who would it be?
Rachel Hunter would be good for a laugh.
6. What do you do in your day job?
Farming sheep and beef. We have1800 hectares in the Maungatuas
7. Whats sort of thing can we expect to see on the ride?
Lots of horses
8. (Groan again) What’s the most luxurious thing you’ve taken on Cavalcade –
My new saddle blanket – my wife bought it for me
GC: If you were to write a book on your adventures it would be called…
My awesome life.