Like a modern day Ben Hur, Ed Giles, 50, feels more at home on a speeding chariot behind two spirited galloping horses than he does in an automobile.
Last year, Giles set a world record for a two-horse chariot team, dashing around a 440-yard course in 22.02 seconds at an event in Elko, Nev. This weekend, Giles hope to better that time and set a world record at the Utah State Chariot Championships at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park, 10800 S. 22nd West.Races begin at noon Saturday and Sunday, and more than 150 teams will compete.
Giles will race his record-setting team of Rene Reb and Countermand in First Division events. His two sons, Wes, 29, and Troy, 27, will race a team in second division events, and all three will have a team in 12th division races.
A native of Hanna, Duchesne County, Giles grew up on a farm and has owned and raced horses since he was 6. He began training horses when he was teenager, and when he graduated from Tabiona High School in 1956, he made racing and training race horses his hobby.
He owned and operated an interior decorating and upholstery business, A1 Upholstery, in Taylorsville for more than 20 years and retired 11 years ago to go into horse training full-time. Giles, his wife, Carolyn, and their two sons own Rockin Teepee Ranch and Giles Training Stables in South Jordan near their home at 11158 S. Redwood Road.
Giles is probably more famous for training race horses than he is for holding a world chariot racing record. Last year, he and his family trained more than 140 different flat track race horses that started in more than 960 races throughout the West. He also bears the distinction of having more quarter horses that he trained win more races last year than anyone else nationwide.