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History of the Leadville Belt Buckle

If you’re tough enough, big enough, you’ve got your big britches on, and you finish that race in under 9 hours, you’ll get a great big silver and gold trophy buckle. – Ken Chlouber.

The tradition of belt buckles as trophies has a long history, especially in rodeos and agriculture. Rodeos often awarded belt buckles as prizes, and they became an iconic symbol of accomplishment within those communities. The concept of awarding belt buckles as trophies was inspired by this long standing tradition. 

Founders, Ken and Merilee, had backgrounds in rodeo and were familiar with the significance of belt buckles as prizes and decided to adopt the concept for the Leadville 100s. They designed a large silver belt buckle featuring the Leadville Trail 100 logo and offered two sizes to participants. Those who completed the 100s under a specific course time will receive a big buckle. A smaller buckle is awarded to finishers who fall in between a different cutoff. This decision was influenced by the idea that the belt buckle represented a symbol of achievement, just as it did in rodeo culture. By adopting this tradition, the Leadville Series aims to honor the grit, guts, and determination required to complete these challenging races. Participants who earned these belt buckles can wear them proudly and as a testament to their achievements.

Sizes and Types

While a Belt Buckle as a trophy is quite unique in run and ride culture, it’s the standard in rodeo culture. The face of each of the buckles has the LT100 logo as the main feature. The two size variations indicate the time the athlete completed the race. There is one buckle that stands out from the rest and it is referred to as the “La Plata Grande.” This buckle is only awarded to athletes who cross the finish line 10 or 20 times… meaning they’ve raced 1,000 or 2,000 miles across the sky! Athletes who are awarded this buckle receive an extra large buckle complete with their name, gold plated across the bottom.

Each and every buckle is handmade and crafted in Denver, Colorado by Colorado Silverstar. Family-owned since 1971, Colorado Silver Star has been a top-quality manufacturer of custom metal castings.

Cut-Off Times

The Leadville belt buckle isn’t handed out easily. Just because you start the Leadville Trail 100 Run or Leadville Trail 100 MTB, doesn’t mean you’ll receive a buckle at the end. To earn the belt buckles, you must finish the race within the designated time frames. Each category represents a unique challenge and demonstrates the remarkable commitment required to reach the finish line.

Life Time Leadville Trail 100 Run presented by La Sportiva

  • Big Buckle = 25-hour cutoff time 
  • Small Buckle and official finisher = 30-hour cutoff time

Life Time Leadville Trail 100 MTB presented by Kenetik

  • Big Buckle = 9-hour cutoff time
  • Small Buckle and official finisher = 12-hour cutoff time

Ken Chlouber 1000-Mile Belt Buckle

With the mighty Race Across the Sky just around the corner, we hope that your pursuit for the silver and gold is met with success. We’ll see you on the Red Carpet!

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