We’re glad you stopped by to visit our website on distance driving. Perhaps you’ve just discovered MDDA and want to learn more about just what we do. Perhaps you’ve come to check the schedule to see when and where competitive drives are being held or check the results of past drives. Or perhaps you are just interested in looking at some photographs of our horses and drivers at the various competitions. Whatever the reason, thanks for browsing and drop us a line if we can answer any questions or be of service to you.

Glacier Trails

Results – Glacier Trails – 2002

10 mile drivers
1) Wes Licht with Topaz – 383
2) Tom Krueger with Monti – 373
3) Sharon Beck with Cassie – 366
4) Sherry Bilus –
5) Roger Houk
20 mile drivers
1) Art Espe – 372
2) Randy Rudstrom –
3) Connie Gray – 353


By Jane Licht

A huge, fragrant bouquet of purple lilacs was placed on a picnic table under the shelter house at Horseman’s Park in Kettle Moraine State Park Southern Unit on Mother’s Day.  That was about the only spring-like aspect to the second day of an otherwise cold and dreary weekend.  Those of us who are members of Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA), which sponsored the event, were concerned about poor attendance.  However, when combined, distance riders and drivers totaled 75 participants for the weekend.  We must be a hardy group of outdoorsy folks and perhaps a bit crazy to boot.

The drivers volunteered for the distance riders on Saturday, May 11, and a few riders, former riders and other drivers were volunteers for the drivers on Sunday.  There are always lots of duties for volunteers at distance riding and driving events.  Someone must sit at a picnic table and register the participants.  Others scribe for the veterinarians who are doing pre, mid and post ride/drive evaluations on the condition of each horse.  A few are designated as “timers” who send the horses out, keep tract of vet check times, and record finish times.  Still other volunteers patrol roadway crossings to protect the riders and drivers from motorized traffic.  Each participant has his/her own “crew” of at least one friend or family member who assists them and their horse.  This may involve providing the horse with drinking water and applying blankets or coolers at exactly the right time in addition to trying to lift the spirits of the wet and muddy rider or driver.  The event organizer is often the one to tally up total scores but other volunteers and a good calculator may be called upon for this job.

For some reason, despite the crummy weather, spirits were high and friendliness abounded at Glacier Trails Ride/Drive.  Pauline Stollenwerk cheerfully accepted registrations and gave basic directions to the drivers, a few of which were quite new to the sport.  The event organizers, Theresa Burns-Metcalf, Ramona Radtke and Chuck Gray, were everywhere, providing guidance to volunteers and participants as needed.  Elinor Tonsor tallied lots of scores and made sure everyone had plenty to eat.  The hot coffee and sloppy joes were popular items on a cold day.  Dana Houk and Jane Licht were timers and let other friends assist their husbands who were both participants.

Sandy Rudstrom was very busy acting as crew over the weekend as her entire family of husband Randy and daughters Sarah, Rebecca and Jessica were participants.  As you might imagine, she was in constant motion.

Four drivers elected to do the 20 mile distance drive and five did the 10 mile drive.  The 20 milers had a midpoint vet check back at the shelter house and 40 minutes to rest their horses before starting out again.  As each driver returned, their carts were splattered with mud and sand, indicative of the wet and muddy trails.  Everyone still sported a smile on their faces as they returned, except for sisters Kelly Mikel-Lewis and Rebecca Mikel-Green who came back from their second loop walking their horse and minus one vehicle.  “We hit a rock that put all our weight on one wheel and it collapsed,” they explained.  In fact, the wheel was so bad it could not be rolled.  A crew of cart retrievers soon formed and walked the mile on the trail to collect the damaged vehicle.  Tom Krueger, Wes Licht, John Stollenwerk, Randy Houk, and Roger Houk in addition to Rebecca and Kelly, appeared nearly an hour later towing the cart.  Randy had taken along a large piece of wood to hold up and keep the weight off the crushed wheel.  When the procession finally reached the shelter they received warm congratulations on their accomplishment.

Photographs were taken of the cart carrying crew and the damaged wheel that reminded all drivers of the reason they prefer sturdy wood wheels over wire.  The tires on Kelly’s vehicle were filled (as opposed to pneumatic) and thus allowed for distance driving according to MDDA rules, but the wire spokes make them more vulnerable to failure in rough terrain.   Kelly explained that she had tried unsuccessfully to get wood wheels for her vehicle.  Now she plans to try to find some marathon vehicle wheels that will fit the axle of her cart.

At the awards ceremony Theresa thanked members who had solicited sponsors and she pointed to the large sign hanging in the shelter with the various sponsors’ names.  Each participant was given a participant’s prize and many also garnered ribbons.  At first, Ramona said that Kelly was not eligible for a participant’s award since she had not completed the course.  But group pressure quickly changed her approach and she handed Kelly a large serving spoon from the box of prizes and said, “Here, you can use this to help dig you out of the mud at the next drive!”  Everyone laughed in a good-natured way as Kelly proudly claimed her prize.