by Jim Wells
Two riders who’ve made names for themselves at Canterbury Park had similar problems on their vehicles Wednesday on their way to or from Shakopee.
Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens had to pick up a new tire for his motor home in New Mexico on Wednesday after discovering one had gone bad on his way out of Arizona headed to Minnesota. He expected to be in the trailer park adjacent to the race track Wednesday evening.
Ry Eikleberry, who won the riding title in Shakopee last year, ran into similar problems a couple of miles shy of California on the way to try his luck at Del Mar Race track.
Stevens did not join the Canterbury riding colony for the first time in years this summer, instead driving to meets the length and breadth of California and to the track where it all began for him 3 /12 decades ago, Les Bois, in Idaho. He plans to finish out what remains of the meeting in Shakopee before returning home to Phoenix.
With his tire repaired on Wednesday, Eikleberry was back on the road destined for the final two weeks of the meet at Del Mar. He plans then to compete in the Los Alamitos meet and then work horses at Santa Anita before spending the winter in California. “ I’ll try to make it there. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
He plans to return to Minnesota to ride in the Festival of Champions on Sept. 6
Eikleberry was headed West at the same time Stevens was headed North from the Southwest. With 33 wins, Eikleberry was unable to keep pace with the leaders at Canterbury this meet, Leandro Goncalves with 68 and Dean Butler with 62, but wasn’t dissatisfied with the summer.
“It wasn’t a bad meet,” he said. “I wasn’t going to ride there at first and then I got there late. Those things happen.”
Stevens, meanwhile, spent the summer in his new motor home and rode at Santa Anita, Golden Gate, Emerald Downs, Los Alamitos, Prairie Meadows, Les Bois Park in Boise (his home track where he hadn’t ridden since 1993.). “I’ve had a blast, an absolute blast,” he said.
He also rode in Farmington, N.M., and at the Santa Rosa Fair in California. He won several stakes races, including the Idaho Cup for juveniles.
When he finished at Santa Anita, he went to Los Alamitos, parking his motor home right next to another Southern California attraction, Disneyland.
Stevens also had an opportunity this summer to take the new road vehicle to the Grand Canyon.
In all, he put around 7,000 miles on the motor home this summer. He added another 1,600 to that total on the drive to Shakopee from Phoenix, a trip he made accompanied by his two dogs, Angus, a bulldog, and Molly, a Boston Terrier.
He had a cache of food for the 35-hour trip, 1 ½ turkey sandwiches and a cookie. He still had part of a sandwich left upon crossing the border from Iowa into Minnesota. It’s uncertain if anything remained by the time he pulled into Canterbury Park Wednesday night.