Gauchos and Supporters Work and Play Hard at Harder Stadium: 2013 Gaucho Gallop Recap

Gaucho alumni and Santa Barbara community members flocked to the UCSB campus this weekend for the 6th Annual Gaucho Gallop. As the day’s festivities commenced, a surge of Gaucho pride, athleticism, enthusiasm, and a bit of silliness filled Harder Stadium.

The day began with the Diogi Dog Dash, a race for Dog owners and their furry friends. Steve Harding and his canine companion won three months worth of dog food from Diogi, for completing the Dog Dash in 2 minutes, 35 seconds. This year’s 10K winner, Niall Coppinger – all the way from Dublin, Ireland – finished the race in 35 minutes, 28 seconds, with two Santa Barbarians, Tom Bullock and Travis Bower, coming in second and third place. The winner of the 5K competition was Ritesh Dhupar, who clocked in at just over six and a half minutes. Scott Casamassa and Gabriel Wu came in second and third.

Gaucho_DogDash_winner-altAfter the races ended, I had the pleasure of speaking with Aldo and Jake, two students of Isla Vista Elementary, both age 11. Why were these boys so special? Because out of nearly 250 runners present at the Gallop, they finished 15th ad 16th, respectively, in the 5K competition, clocking in at 24 minutes, 16 seconds, and 24 minutes, 51 seconds.

“I had to convince them to let me run last year, too,” Aldo says, breathing heavily. I probably should have waited a while after he crossed the finish line, but I was just so astonished and proud of him, that he had finished ahead of most of his adult competitors. “My teacher told me he wanted someone to participate in the race to represent the school and I said I would do it, and some of my friends wanted to too.”

Aldo and Jake told me that after much persistence, the Gallop coordinators let them run in the primarily adult 5K race, instead of being assigned to the Kids Dash, which is designated for children above the age of 8. They were just two of 20 children under 12 that ran in the 5K race. According to the race results, found here(, the youngest 5K competitor was 5 years old.

Gallop-finish-line-kids-altThe Gaucho Challenge winning team was the “Jamaican Bobsledding Team,” comprised of Gaucho Triathlon team members Jon Waltman and Jared Wong. This portion of the Gallop consisted of some tough challenges that had even the most resilient Gauchos wondering if they could handle it all. Team members tell me there were challenges that tested mental and physical agility, as well as their stomachs. Tasks included a word search in UCSB’s Daily Nexus, a Woodstock’s pizza eating contest, and a quick game of Gatorade pong, which all took place along a 5K course. As participants were encouraged to come up with wacky team names and costumes, I made sure to have my camera handy at the finish line. Take a look at my personal favorites, the Bobsled Team (costumes from Cool Runnings) and of course, beloved comic-book characters Wolverine and Bane.

At the Finish Line Festival, Gaucho Gallopers enjoyed the musical stylings of Brengrass, while mingling with other runners and snacking on some scrumptious breakfast burritos and fruit provided by Country Catering.

Gaucho_tortilla_throwingUnfortunately, a knee injury prevented me from participating on my Gaucho Challenge team, so my best friend, Leah, asked her friend Rachel to be my substitute. Leah was a bit tired from the previous nights’ festivities, and needless to say, team “GauchosPace” (a pun, created from the academic database available to UCSB students) finished dead last in the Challenge Leah had only this to say about the event, “My advice would be to prepare for the Challenge in the true Gaucho way, just go all out.” The meaning of “true Gaucho way,” ladies and gentlemen, is subject to your own interpretation. Just know that no matter what we Gauchos do, we give it our all! Wish to join us next year for the 2014 Gaucho Gallop? If you’re thinking of participating in the Challenge, I would highly recommend practicing tortilla tossing!

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