As a result of ongoing California wildfires, the 2008 Tevis Cup endurance race has been cancelled. The 100-mile ride, which was scheduled to take place July 19, draws entries from around the world.

Although the fires are not on the trail at this time, officials have deemed air quality in the area dangerous to both equine and human competitors. Road closings are also compromising the ability to evacuate competitors.

“Protecting the safety and health of the horses and people involved with this historic event takes precedence over everything else,” said Western States Trail Foundation president Tom Christofk in an official statement.

During Tevis, 17 veterinarians work to ensure the horses are fit to compete. Horses are monitored for soundness and metabolic condition at strategic points along the course that runs from near Lake Tahoe to Auburn, Calif.

For the last 53 years, the race has been run on the Saturday nearest the full moon in July. The cancellation will be a first for the historic event.

A winning ride will take around 14 to 15 hours to complete. To further promote equine health and proper conditioning, the Haggin Cup award was established in 1964. This award is bestowed on the best conditioned horse finishing in the top 10.