Ralph Smith and Gigi - 1972 Derby Ditch 50

Ralph Smith - 1928-2019


Ralph Smith was the longest active member of NASTR from 1969 to 2016. He and his wife Lorraine joined the club in 1969. They and their daughters Becky and Kathleen rode many of the Club rides including the Virginia City 100 multiple times.

After riding for many years, Ralph continued to support the Club by volunteering on the Triple Crown rides. Very few years did he miss helping at the Virginia City 100. Ralph also kept the record for the Derby Ditch 50 Mile ride, compiling and updating all the riders and the years they finished the ride until the ride was moved from Fernley, Nevada in 2004.

Ralph completed the Virginia City 100 twelve times. His horse Beansprout, a 1/2 Arabian gelding, was a 1000 mile Virginia City horse, completing it 10 times. He and Ralph completed the ride in 10 consecutive years without a pull from 1978 through 1987. Ralph and Beansprout were also the very first NASTR Triple Crown Winners with the fastest time in 1985. At that time the Triple Crown consisted of the Derby Ditch 50, NASTR 50 and Virginia City 100.

A Memorial Service for Ralph was held on February 16, 2019 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 3835 Lakeside Drive in Reno. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to the Honor Flight Network.


Ralph Smith and Gigi -
1970 Virginia City 100

Kathleen Smith Plambeck: "Gigi was Dad's first horse. Hard to believe he had never ridden before we moved to Washoe Valley!"

Ralph Smith and Gigi -
1972 Derby Ditch 50

Kathleen Smith Plambeck: "Gigi [was the horse] who started us all down the endurance road.

My Dad had never ridden when we got our first horse in 1965, but he went on to go many miles..."

Becky Smith Brewer: "...I think that's my palomino's nose following close behind."

Ralph Smith and Beansprout -
1973 Derby Ditch 50

Kathleen Smith Plambeck: "...He finished the VC100 12 times, most of those on Beansprout! That horse could be sound asleep one minute, and flying down the trail the next - he really didn't have a low gear"

Ralph Smith and Cocoa -
1974 Derby Ditch 50

Ralph's daughter, Kathleen Smith Plambeck, at the 1975 Virginia City 100.

Kathy Creighton-Smith: "When I was growing up we lived a mile from the Smiths. My sister Linda and I spent a lot of time with Kathleen and Becky at their house and our families were great friends. Ralph was the kindest, gentlest person. I imagine that Ralph, Lorraine, and my mom are riding the trails in heaven."

Ralph's wife, Lorraine Smith and Ricky's Zephyr, with daughter Becky Smith Brewer riding Dark Memory at the 1975 Virginia City 100.

Ralph's wife, Lorraine Smith,
at 1976 Virginia City 100.

Ralph Smith and Unknown rider
at the 1978 Virginia City 100 Mile Ride.

Kay Mathews:"Ralph & Beansprout got me through my first 100...what a team"

Ralph and Beansprout -
1981 Virginia City 100.

Ralph and Beansprout finished 10 consecutive years from 1978-1987. Beansprout was a 1/2 Arabian gelding.

Ralph Smith and Beansprout -
1985 Derby Ditch 50

Ralph and Beansprout -
1985 Convention 50.

Ralph and Beansprout -
1985 High Desert 55.

Ralph and Beansprout -
1985 High Desert 55.

Ralph and Beansprout -
1985 First Annual NASTR Triple Crown Winners!

Ralph and Beansprout -
1987 NASTR 50.

Ralph and Beansprout -
1987 Virginia City 100.

Ralph Smith and Connie Creech at
the 1990 Derby Ditch 50.

Ralph Smith speaking with June Peterson from Australia at the 1997 Virginia City 100 - 30th Anniversary.

2003 Virginia City 100 -
Market Vet Check volunteers:
(l to r) Ralph Smith, Ralph Truax, Ericka Bjorum-Nelson, Aglaee Del Carlo, Fran Hull and ?

Ralph Smith and Cliff Mixer - volunteers at the 2007 Virginia City 100 Mile Ride.

Connie Creech: "When I was Ride managing, Ralph would always contact me and say he would be there to help. He liked to work the pulse box or he was a timer on many occasions. He always enjoyed helping and visiting with everyone. I could always count on him for volunteer support! I will really miss his kindness."

1000 Mile in Ten Days Virginia City 100 buckle winners attending the 2007 Virginia City 100 Mile Ride.

(l to r): Connie Creech, Al Beaupre, Louise Smith-Egstrom, Dave Rabe, Beth Kauffmann (kneeling), Michaele Tristram, Cliff Lewis, Tom Lewis, Pat Chappell, Ralph Smith, and Jerry Zebrack.

Ralph speaking at the Pat Fitzgerald Memorial at the 2015 Virginia City 100.

Ralph speaking at the Pat Fitzgerald Memorial at the 2015 Virginia City 100.

Ralph Smith - Obituary -
June 2, 1928 - January 4, 2019