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About the American River Classic


Come enjoy this ride.


               The history of the American River Classic (formerly the American River Ride) is almost synonymous with the history of AERC, and the existence of what today is called the modern form of endurance riding.

               It was early in 1972 in the town of Auburn, California, where a group of enthusiastic and passionate riders got together and decided to start keeping records on times, rider’s personal records, distances, and horse records. The group consisted of legendary individuals such as Phil Gardner, Kathie Perry, David Claggett, Hal Hall, Marion Arnold, Charles Barieau, Dr. Todd Nelson, D.V.M., Rho Bailey, and Diana Claggett. The group decided that for the benefit of the horse, and in the spirit of fair competition, rules and regulations needed to be in place for record keeping. As well, the very first equine veterinarian parameters were established to accommodate the needs of an endurance equine athlete. Phil Gardner was in charge of the newly formed AERC, and David Claggett was in charge of the American River Ride. In case you were wondering where the very first office of the AERC was .... learn this... it was first in the upper balcony at Hal Hall’s parent's pharmacy in downtown Auburn on High Street; years later it moved to Kathie Perry’s kitchen table! In the same house where she still lives today in Newcastle, CA.

              A popular meeting place for the group was the famous Linda’s Bakery on Lincoln Way in Auburn. Phil Gardner, Marion Arnold, and Charles Barieau went down to the State Capitol and filed the non-profit corporation for the charter. In a unified agreement, the first bylaws were written and the first AERC officers were nominated with Gardner to be the first AERC president.

              The Donner Summit Trail Blazers was a trail riding group that was mainly a social trail riding club with members in the Auburn area. Their non-profit charter was not active for a long time, and the club membership was declining through the years, so the pioneers of AERC took the Charter of the Donner Summit Trail Blazers and reactivated it. In addition, the Western States Trail Foundation’s Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation were reviewed and portions of it used to design the same for the newly founded AERC organization. While all of this was happening the American River Ride was being organized.

              The original start was at Cal Expo, with the number of entries over 250 horses. Yes, 250!!!!!! Kathie Perry got car dealers to donate cars for carpooling; and The Sacramento Union, the local newspaper of the day, covered the event from start to finish. Negro Bar was the location of the first vet check, with Rattlesnake Bar the second and Auburn Overlook the finish line. Phil did not ride the first year being the first ride manager. He did stay with the ride until 1976, then he went to The Great American Horse Race. The American River used Cal Expo until 1981 when the fairgrounds decided to increase the fees for the stalls and the fairgrounds. With the first ride starting in 1972, with three years being canceled, 2003, 2013 and 2020, and it has been going on ever since. The ride moved to Negro Bar do to increase of fees at Cal Expo. After the reconstruction of the Folsom Lake Crossing and the bike trail, back in the early 2010's, the ride had to be moved again to Granite Bay. In 2016 the ride had to move back to Negro Bar, now known as Black Minors Ravine, do to parking issues. In 2022 the ride was moved to September do to rain and trail issues. In 2023 do to trail maintenance issues the ride is having to be moved up to Cool.

              People like Phil Garden, Kathie Perry, Susan and Jim Remillard, Jeff and Janine Windeshausen, Jerry and Vicki Meyers, Marion Arnold, and Marilyn Hunter to name a few served as ride managers through the years. In addition, the many volunteers that man the vet checks every year and help with trail marking and other 'jobs' that it takes to put on a ride, have contributed a great service to the trail---the riders---the history of the event---the sport of endurance riding---and mostly to the horses. These efforts are highly appreciated by the thousands of horsemen who have enjoyed this event.

              To the pioneers of AERC and the founders of the American River Ride that shared the vision and potential of an organized event that today we call endurance riding, we will always be grateful.

            Welcome to the Oldest Sanctioned 50 Mile Endurance Ride In the World, The American River Classic.


* Last updated March 6th, 2023

The Auburn Cup

"a perpetual trophy"

               The Cup was donated and presented by the Auburn Community Business's back in 1972 in Recognition of the Fastest Time and has been repaired and reconditioned.

The Klumpp Cup

"a perpetual trophy"

               The Klumpp Cup was donated and presented by "Mr. & Mrs. Ray C. Jackson" back in 1972 in recognition of the Best Condition.

               Who is Mr. Klumpp? Mr. Klumpp (Klumpf) was born in Folsom Ca. on January 25'th, 1884 to immigrants of Germany. In 1906 he moved to Auburn, Ca. and on August 20'th, 1906 he bought the “Ogden Mallory Harness and Saddle Shop," on Lincoln Way. He changed the name to the "Auburn Saddle, Harness & Leather goods store," and it became the largest leather, saddle and harness shop and maker in California in the 1900's and he and Wendel Robie were the original promotors of all things horse in Placer County. He knew all his customers by their first name and others under 50 were called "young man" and over 50 were called "Partner." He always greeted friends with a flip of a matching dime which he slapped on his wrist, instead of a handshake and on his way to work every morning he was known for pitching dimes with every shop owner from his house on High St. to his shop on Lincoln Way. On cold days he had a pot-belly stove in the back where he would work on his leather while socializing with all the local men. At one point he had property with a barn and a rodeo arena out on hwy. 49 where the Home Depot is know located.

               In 1915 he married Esther Corbin in San Francisco. They had 2 children, Marian Jackson and Lois Feickert. On August 11'th, 1923 work began on their home, 1133 High St. next to E.T. Robie, which is now known as the Robie House. Mr. Klumpp was a very prominent and influential business man within the Auburn community, not only he was very involved with the Auburn Chamber, volunteer fire department, many fraternal orders, he also became a master Mason in 1913 of the Auburn Masonic Lodge.

               At age 80, July 1'st, 1964, he passed away. His daughter and son-in-law continued the operation of the store till it closed in 1986 in which it had been in operation for 50 years. The store had moved a few times over the years, and was last known to be located at 835 Lincoln Way. To this day some of his original leather working tools are still within the Placer County Museums.

               In 1972 David Claggett was good friends with Mr. & Mrs. Ray C. Jackson and was able to have this perpetual trophy donated and presented by them in Mr. Klumpp's name. The trophy more then likely been purchased through Ray Jackson, who also owned a trophy shop located in Auburn. The Trophy has been repaired and reconditioned.

All information has been researched through the Placer County archives, Placer County Cemetery website and contributed from Larry Jackson, Grandson of Louis F. Klumpp.

* Last updated March 22nd, 2017

Photos of Mr. Klumpp's Business!
"Auburn Saddle, Harness & Leather goods store"
*All Klumpp's photo's courtesy of Placer County Museums and Dawn Tebbs.*
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