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Almost Summer Means Good Competition, Good Fun

by Ann Bullard

DENVER, Colo. - They call it the UPHA Almost Summer Show and they’re not kidding. One day, it was 102 degrees, but, at least for those not from the Mile High City, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Two days later, exhibitors who chose a white-water rafting adventure paddled through hail and snow flurries. Denver in June is anything but predictable.

What is predictable is that Martin Cockriel and his fellow UPHA Chapter 19 members will present an event with good competition, prize money and lots of fun. A sensible schedule and excellent facility attracted barns from as far away as Scottsdale, Ariz., and Tomball, Texas as well as from Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Wyoming. Morgan, Saddlebred and Hackney/Harness pony exhibitors gathered at the National Western Events Center, June 14-17 for the 11th annual event.

Outstanding. That’s the only way to describe the show facility. The Freedom Hall-sized show arena, large warm-up area and large stalls under one roof make everything convenient for exhibitors and trainers. The arena’s location, just off Interstate 70, translates into easy access. Downtown Denver with its good restaurants and entertainment is approximately 15 minutes from the grounds. Exhibitors had more than enough time to sample local fare after the daytime performances and to find a ‘happening spot’ after most evening events.

Friday night, the warm-up arena became a play area, with a volleyball court and competitive games for all ages. The winner of ‘Horse Poop Bingo’ netted more than $300 with a like amount going to the show’s designated charity, Praying Hands Ranch.

On Saturday evening, Julia Goodwin received the Junior Sportsmanship Award for her years of work for the show.

The Almost Summer show dances to a little different tune than many to the east. Show tunes, pop songs and, when appropriate, country-western music, spun by a local disc jockey provided the background music. The fact that announcer Doug Shane also owns Saddlebreds and knows almost everyone in the area enabled him to bring a ‘Lake Wobegone’ folksy patter to the event.

Tom Sworm of Durant, Mich., marked the cards in Saddlebred, road pony, pleasure pony, Saddle Seat equitation, open English and academy classes. John McDonald, Clear Lake, N.Y., judged the Morgan, open western, open hunter, western seat and hunt seat equitation classes. Cockriel again served as show manager, ably assisted by co-secretaries Farra Baker and Anne Burton. Illness kept Burton from attending the show, but her assistants Marie Emmett, Jamie DeJane and Billie Willey carried on well in her absence.

With Morgan regional shows in full swing, and the Gold Cup and Far West shows on competing weekends, these entries were light. The River’s Edge, Mears Morgans and Dottie Regas earned most of the ribbons.

While a few classes were scratched or had single entries, for the most part classes were competitive. Jamie Bridgewater and Tom Volz coached 22 riders to winning rides. The Parker Valley tack room sported blues in the American Saddlebred performance, pleasure, equitation and academy divisions. Mary Cockriel and Bob Kellett’s The River’s Edge earned the lion’s share of the Morgan blues, with 15 of their division blues and five more in academy and Saddlebred country pleasure.

Many weekday classes were light or cancelled. By Saturday night, exhibitors had come to party – on horseback that is – with only two single-entry classes.

Announcer Doug Shane showed his skill at getting the most from a small group of spectators during the Five-Gaited Stake. Local favorite Martin Cockriel had previously won the Open Five-Gaited title aboard his High On Champagne and was looking to repeat his 2005 championship ride. Dave Hysaw of Bugle Boy Farms had other ideas. He hit the ring aboard Bobbie Reid’s Sky Blue Angel and never looked back, taking the trophy back more than 900 miles to Scottsdale, Ariz. Cockriel rode out with the reserve grand championship.

Hysaw had the seasoned Cedar Creek’s Mr. Money Man sitting on go for Colton Jackson’s Saddle Seat Equitation 10 and Under Walk and Trot competition. The youngster won both the UPHA Challenge Cup and the 10 and Under class. Shelby Jackson and The Atlanta Brave took home blues in the Open English Pleasure 17 and Under and Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 13 and Under classes.
Stacey Kipper of Spring Acres Farm and CH Starmaker’s Bouquet continued to dominate the area’s three-gaited division. They repeated last year’s open stake win at the Almost Summer Show. Leo Ruiz and A Pat Hand earned the reserve for owner Janice Hill. They finished in the same order in the open qualifier, with Janice Hill riding A Pat Hand for that reserve finish.

The $1,000 Three-Gaited Park Stake featured eight nice entries working hard for the impressive challenge trophy, tricolor ribbon and their share of the prize money. The Paper Boy ERB has been thrilling spectators since Armon Effinger first introduced the high-trotting gelding. Lindsey Greenwald of SGF Winning Ways Farm in Tomball, Texas took over the reins, and they have stayed in top ribbons across the country. They made their 2006 debut under trainers Steve Chadick and May Klein’s direction, winning the amateur class and returning on Saturday night to bring home the trophy and tricolor silk in the open stake.

Earlier in the week, Chadick and Ragtime’s Lady Jazz topped the Open Park qualifier. Worthy’s Hale Bopp never backed an ear in winning the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 class with Lauren Greenwald in the irons.

Only two fine harness horses were on the grounds. Lindsey Greenwald qualified SGF Winning Ways Farm’s Remember This Day by winning the American Saddlebred Horse Foundation Youth Fine Harness blue. They came back on Saturday night to bring top honors back to Texas, besting Martin Cockriel and his open champion Caballero Memories.

Martin Cockriel not only managed the horse show, he also put together the Five-Gaited Amateur winning team. Farra Baker’s Doubletree’s D’Cisions D’Cisions caught Sworm’s eye in the Five-Gaited Amateur qualifier and stake. Baker and her daughter, Kelsey, share the rides on this 10-year-old chestnut gelding. Farra rode out with the qualifying blue in a nice four-horse class; Kelsey Baker returned on Saturday night to win the amateur stake.

Cathy and Sam Garcia’s Cazam Farm wrapped up all the pony titles under trainer Alex Vargas’ direction. Husband and wife swapped top spots in the Roadster Pony Stake and amateur qualifier. Cathy Garcia and Anticipate The Day raced off with the tricolor and trophy, with her husband and Regal’s Pandora LF picking up the reserve ribbon in the stake. Sam Garcia’s Regal’s Magic Lady LF drove off with the open blue and championship tricolor in the Hackney Pleasuring Driving division. Cathy Garcia earned the reserve tie in both classes with Sandman’s Sweet Dreams.

When Jamie Bridgewater paired Molly O’Connor of O’Connor Show Horses with the King’s Reflection last season, they hit a home run. The nine-year-old, stretchy King Of Highpoint son has shown his versatility in show pleasure, pleasure equitation and pleasure driving since O’Connor took over the reins. O’Connor rode the seemingly-tireless gelding to win both the Pleasure Equitation and UPHA Challenge Cup. He qualified for the ASHAF Show Pleasure Driving competition with a victory in this class and won the Pleasure Driving Championship.

While The King’s Reflection led the Parker Valley pleasure parade, performance and equitation riders won their fair share of blues. Among them were Taylor Rhea Haas and My Favorite Dolly who wrapped up the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited titles as well as the 10 and Under Saddle Seat Equitation blue.


Patty Wooters and her clients had much to be happy about. Fans remembered The Great Pretender, the big black and white pinto Wooters’ daughter, Kayla, showed in the three-gaited division. This season, the trainer has teamed the gelding with petite Brandi Parker for walk and trot pleasure and equitation. They won both the 10 and under pleasure qualifier and championship and tied reserve in both Walk and Trot Equitation classes. Kayla Wooters won both the Adult Show Pleasure and Country Pleasure Stakes. She stepped up on her mother’s Finally Yours to win the $1,000 Adult Show Pleasure Stake, and then mounted up on Undulata’s Paper Doll for the Adult Country Pleasure Championship.

While Morgan numbers were light, fans were treated to performances by several exciting individuals. Bob Kellett of The River’s Edge turned in impressive performances with Charles Buller’s RMW Free Rain in the Morgan Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Buller bought the now three-year-old stallion by Stonecroft Byzantine and out of a full sister to the dam of LPS The Boogie Man after the Connecticut Regionals last year.

All three River’s Edge trainers made several trips to the winner’s circle. Kellett won all the English pleasure driving classes, teaming Monty Kugeler’s Queen’s American Idol to win the junior/novice class. Mary Cockriel donned western attire to ride Debra Hurst Walter’s Trebles Commando to top the open and championship classes. Cockriel and instructor Kate Jensen Edmonds, who rode with DeLovely Farm in junior exhibitor and equitation competition, and Sublime Faith represented River’s Edge as the sole entries in the Morgan English Pleasure Championship, open and ladies classes. Twin Peaks Heritage and Shannon Fox earned both Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure titles under the River’s Edge banner. Ray Bendele, Lauren Fischer, Elizabeth Higgins, Monty Kugeler, Amanda Vestal and Kristen Wade picked up blues in performance and equitation classes. Edmonds also coached several winning academy riders.

Dottie Regas and her clients garnered 11 blues from both Saddlebred and Morgan divisions. Kristen King, demonstrating her versatility, earned four of these in western and hunt seat equitation competition under Regas’ direction and won the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal under the direction of Rod Marsh and Ann Ebbert. Regas also coached Katie O’Meara and Bold Eden to three top awards in Morgan Western Pleasure 17 and Under and the AMHA Western Seat Medal.

Most barns won at least one blue ribbon. Amen Acres, Kris Bayes, Bayridge Farm, Bugle Boy, Cazam Farm, Lisa Cheney, Martin Cockriel Stables, Fantasy Farm, Finesse Farm, Vicki Hill, Stacey Kipper, Longview Stables, Mears Morgans, Dottie Regas, Jackie Rongish, Swan Training Stables and Totsy Rees posted multiple wins. Other winners included Heidi Brunette, Barbara Treseder, Nancy Goodwin, John Trepino, Julie Goodman, Rachel West and Mai Wisdom.

This concludes the highlights of UPHA Almost Summer Horse Show. Complete results can be found by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.

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