The Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race is scheduled for July 16-19, 2015 and will take 30 teams of two to four people on a 350-mile journey, including trekking, mountain biking, canoeing and ropes, through the mountains and high desert of the state of Wyoming. Now in its third year, the 2015 Cameco Cowboy Tough will start Thursday morning in the city square of Buffalo, located in the foothills of the towering Bighorn Mountains. Much of the race will take place above 6,000 feet, traversing many uninhabited and isolated protected areas of the state. Racers will ultimately finish their adventure in Casper on Sunday by noon.
Day 01, July 16
Teams arrive by bus in Buffalo from Casper for the race start at 9 am. Wyoming Governor Mead starts the race, and the participants are off, wrangling various challenges around town before riding to Lake DeSmet. Teams can choose how far they want to paddle–from 3 miles to 17 miles. After the paddle, teams are back on bikes and ride to Fort Phil Kearny to complete a historical challenge, then on to the Wagon Box Fight site, where they drop bikes and head out on foot. The next section is a 33–37-mile trek through Bighorn National Forest, where teams will have to navigate through faint or nonexistent trails and climb up to 10,000′ at Gem Lake. Teams will finish out day 1 with an orienteering course they can tackle by foot or bike in and around Paradise Guest Ranch. Total distanced traveled in day 1 is 65-105 miles.
Day 02, July 17
Setting out from Paradise Guest Ranch no later than 8 am, teams have the option to bike on Route 16 to Crazy Woman Crags or trek 25 miles to collect optional checkpoints. Once at Crazy Woman Crags all teams will rappel off these unique rock formations and take in an amazing view of the Bighorn Mountains. Once back on the ground teams have the option to bike or trek the next leg to Meadowlark Lake. With steep terrain and overgrown trails, foot may be the better option. On the way to Meadowlark Lake teams will pass Sheep Mountain Lookout and crest the Powder River Pass and once again be back at 10,000′. Once at the lake, teams can complete the Paddleboard Challenge. The next leg is a 70-mile ride on paved and gravel roads that drop participants through Ten Sleep Canyon, losing more than 4000′ in elevation, and then to Rome Hill Road, where they will have to climb back up to gain all the elevation they lost. The next part of the ride is down Hazelton Road, an unpaved road that will take them to the BLM campground at the Middle Fork of the Powder River. Teams will finish up day 2 with a short foot orienteering course nearby. Total distanced traveled in day 2 is 75-130 miles.
Day 03, July 18
Teams start no later than 9 am with a ride across ranch land and alongside canyons and ravines formed by the Powder River. After 20 miles they reach Outlaw Cave, the infamous hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and get a chance to trek to the bottom of the canyon and then ascend the nearly 1000′ back to te rim. Continuing on by bike teams will head to the Hole-in-the-Wall, an area famously frequented by outlaw gangs because it is so remote and secluded, and take on a huge rogaine orienteering course by foot or by bike. Teams will end up at Willow Creek Ranch, where they will complete an end of day orienteering course. Total distanced traveled on day 3 is 50-100 miles.
Day 04, July 19
Heading out from Willow Creek ranch on bike bright and early, teams will be on the final stretch, heading back toward Casper and Crossroads Park no later than 6 am. This 70-mile ride is on a mixture of gravel and paved roads, some of which have been washed away by recent floods. Back at Crossroads Park teams will collect their chosen method of whitewater transport. The only requirement is that they wear a PDF and helmet. Once through the rapids, teams cross the finish line, snag their hard-earned belt buckle, and revel in the fact that they are now truly Cowboy Tough. Total distanced traveled in day 4 is 80 miles. When they cross the finish line, teams will have traveled at least 350 miles in three and half days by foot, bike, and water.