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Shutdown Casualty: Equine Event Loses Permit

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – A two-day western Colorado trail ride that attracts competitors and their horses from several states has been cancelled because of the federal shutdown.

The Bureau of Land Management gave the bad news to organizers of this weekend’s Rabbit Valley Competitive Trail Ride in Mesa County. The ride usually attracts 60 competitors from Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado’s Front Range, the Grand Junction Sentinel reported Thursday.

In the competition, horses and riders negotiate 20- to 30-mile loops each day. The rides are timed but competitors also are judged on their horsemanship. Rabbit Valley is located north of the Colorado River in Mesa County.

“A lot of the competitors would be on their way today,” said Sharon Roeper, the event’s ride manager.

Roeper worked to find out if the shutdown would close the event after she obtained insurance coverage required by the BLM. A local bureau office was closed, and eventually a BLM ranger personally notified her, Roeper said.

The Rabbit Valley ride was to be the year’s last for the local region of the North American Trail Ride Conferences. The organization paid $150 for a permit and had $2,000 in other costs budgeted. Riders were to pay $5 each day to use the trails.

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“It costs them nothing to let us do it, but it costs them a bunch if we don’t,” Roeper said.

The BLM previously had to cancel plans for a Rocky Mountain Collegiate Mountain Biking Championships in Mea County’s Bangs Canyon last weekend.

The Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference includes teams from colleges and universities in Colorado and Wyoming.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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