Winning The Great American Horse Race With A Mule

Samuel Reason - January 25th, 2020

It was the party year of 1976 in The United States of America, the Vietnam war had just finished and the country was turning 200 years old. Every month things were going on, the whole country was celebrating for pretty much the entire year. The birthday party appeared to be going on forever, the airplanes were painted in red, white and blue; and there was even a fleet of tall ships that sailed down the Hudson River. Of course, there was also horse racing, and the biggest event of the year was The Great American Horse Race.

It was an event that would span over 100 days and would be 3,500 miles going from New York to Missouri to California. The whole competition was covered by the press and the winner would receive $25,000 – which by today’s value would be $200,000. There were over 100 riders in the race, cowboys turned up and World War II veterans also – in fact, there was even an Austrian count.

And then there was Virl Norton, an old rider that had grown up working on farms. He didn’t have a big bank account or a major team behind him, he didn’t even have a horse because Norton was riding a mule. But you see that was his plan, growing up on a farm he knew how horses held up to endurance and stamina, and he knew that mules would outlast horses any day of the week. Sure they were not the quickest, but then in this race endurance was key.

At the time the saying was Arabian horses dominated the endurance world, if you were not riding an Arabian then you were following an Arabian. Norton only had his 16-year-old son Pierce with him on his team, and he had only just learned to drive, but that may have been a blessing in disguise. You see while the rest of the competitors were drinking heavily every night, Virl and Pierce remained focused on the task at hand – ensuring they always ate correctly and looked after their mules.

This was important because vets were checking horses during each daily race, and if they decided the horse was unfit to keep going that day the rider would get a penalty. This was how Norton eventually one the race on a mule, he never got a penalty and the other rider’s penalties just kept stacking up.

Next Article
  • Svalbard The Norwegian Archipelago Is Visa Free

    Svalbard is the Norwegian archipelago if you translate the name of the place it is called “cold edge.” Which makes a lot of sense as it is very cold and at the edge of the world. It is famous as it is one of the only places in the world that is entirely visa-free. Situated...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious Blue People Of Kentucky

    The year is 1820 and one young couple has just arrived in a place called Troublesome Creek. This was a remote and small settlement deep in eastern Kentucky - the American dream of the New World. Martin Fugate is a French orphan and his wife is a red-haired woman called Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth is very...

    Read More
  • The Greek Drachma Currency Was Used For Over 3,000 Years

    The drachma, as was called the Greek currency before implementing the Euro was one of the most widely circulated coins in the world. This is because the Greek currency has existed long before the formation of Greece as we know today. The drachma was used in the world during the time of Alexander the Great....

    Read More
  • Giraffe Only Sleep 30 Minutes Every Day

    If you like your beauty sleep and lazy Sundays, well, you better hope that you are not a giraffe. Giraffes are one of the only mammals that you will probably never catch sleeping. This is because despite being the tallest animal on the whole planet, they have the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal. The...

    Read More
  • The Secret Service Agent Who Flirted His Way To An Arrest

    Being a Secret Service agent hunting down the worst of criminals all other the world that is scamming and hacking American citizens hard-earned cash does require an extreme amount of bravery. Agents face extreme situations daily to keep The United States of America safe, but sometimes it also means flirting with a Romanian hacker just...

    Read More
  • The Astronomer Who Had A Pet Drunken Moose

    Tycho Brahe was an eccentric astronomer who lived from 1546 to 1601, he holds many scientific accomplishments such as the discovery of the supernova in 1572. He also published a series of essays on the movement of comets and let's not forget his heated feuds with Galileo himself. You see Brahe had one advantage over...

    Read More
  • The Flying Car Has Existed Since 1954

    One may have thought flying cars were coming in the year 2020 and that they would be a thing of the future. However, a quick look in the history books shows that flying cars have been around as early as 1954. Sure, they may not look extremely stylish, but well they do work. The yellow...

    Read More
  • The Amazing Production Rate Of The Willow Run Bomber Plant

    During World War II many factories were reconditioned to support the war effort, especially companies such as Ford that were already producing vehicles and heavy machinery. Every American automaker turned their workforce and facilities towards military production during World War II. It was Willow Run that caught the public’s attention and fascination. [caption id="attachment_11737" align="aligncenter"...

    Read More