The History Behind the Levi’s® Ride & Tie

Levi Strauss & Co.
August 2, 2018

The Levi’s® Ride & Tie is a true Levi’s® original.

The sport was invented by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1971 to promote our rugged outdoor clothing. The brainchild of former Public Relations Director Bud Johns, the Levi’s® Ride & Tie was an endurance race featuring one horse and two runners. Drawing inspiration from historic accounts of two people who, by necessity, traveled vast distances sharing a single horse, one person rode while the other ran. The rider then

tied the horse to a tree proceeding on foot. By the time the trailing runner reached the horse, the animal was rested and the process began again. Teams would travel over a cross-country course about 30 miles long.

The endurance event boomed in popularity in the ‘70s, even attracting famous participants like actor Robert Redford.

The first race was held in St. Helena, California on June 6, 1971. LS&Co. doubled the cash prize ($1,000 for first place) if both team members dressed in Levi’s® jeans. The race then traveled to various locations. In 1978, in addition to California, it was also held in Park City, Utah where Robert Redford teamed with Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson for the race. The team lost each other midway through the race but completed within the six-hour time limit.

During the heyday of Ride & Tie, more than 200 teams attended the sport’s World Championships. Today, the sport itself endures with about 30 teams competing a year, though we no longer sponsor it. Still, we maintain that the best way to tackle the sport is in your favorite pair of Levi’s® jeans.