Skip to content

American Royal



Five-Gaited A fitting end to a great week of competition, the $50,000 Five-Gaited Championship featured an array of champions from the nation’s top venues. Again graciously sponsored by the Ever Glades Fund, the championship offered $10,000 to the winning owner as well as an additional $5,000 to the winning trainer.

For the second consecutive year Dena Lopez and CH Wild Eyed and Wicked took home all the money as well as the prestigious Kansas City Star Challenge Trophy. The two-times world’s grand champion again completed the Triple Crown (Lexington, Louisville, Kansas City), except this time it was for Missourians Joe and Sally Jackson. Lopez and Wicked scored another unanimous victory, just as they did in the gelding stake. Three different horses received second place votes in the championship however, it was S.S. Genuine and Merrill Murray stepping up to receive the reserve grand champion title for David Nierenberg. And one of many exciting changes at the Royal, the champion and reserve champion made a victory pass side by side, before S.S. Genuine left the ring for Wild Eyed and Wicked to make one last pass by himself. The fans were screaming!

Also in the hunt, Jack Magill and Champagne’s Special Event were eating up the ring to command third place honors for Bernie Hecht and Tim McLane. Receiving all kinds of attention, Mitch Clark and Song In My Heart were next in line for a ribbon after taking reserve in the mare stake for Laurel Nelson. Winner of the stallion stake, Leatherwood’s Starlight finished in fifth with Redd Crabtree giving the bay stallion a good ride. One of the most talked about new horses of the year has been Time Well Spent. The leg-waving gelding did not come back as good in the championship although he was a sight in the gelding class to take reserve honors there with Debbie Foley riding for Mr. and Mrs. Charles Goodman. Rounding out the championship ribbon winners, Rick Wallen rode the extremely gifted Got The Ticket for the Jeff Donovan family. One of the only contenders missing in the championship was The Rose Lady, winner of the mare stake with Larry Hodge in the saddle for Sam and Vicki Reed.

One of the best classes of the entire show was the 16-entry Ladies Five-Gaited Championship. Everywhere you looked there was a top horse making an awesome pass. Several noted champions left the ring without even a ribbon. The eventual grand champion came from the winner’s circle of the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Stake and that entry was Belleavanti. Owned by Walt and Jackie Stred and ridden by Dena Lopez, Bellevanti topped a strong field of challengers including reserve grand champion Chandler. Riding from the Virgil Helm Stables, Lisa Duncan also guided Chandler to the reserve placing in the ladies gelding class.

Collecting one of the first place votes in the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship, Deborah Butler and Carolina Cat had their bright spots and finished with a good third. After a reserve finish in the ladies mare class, Donna Pettry-Smith and the always busy CH Peppermint Sonburst rode out with the white ribbon, followed by Amy Dix Rock aboard Callaway’s High Roller. Assets and Attitude, Already Famous, and The Cunningham rounded out the ribbon winners. In the qualifying rounds of ladies competition, Misdee Wrigley and Callaway’s Independence Day topped the 13-horse Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding Stake.

Especially with the green shavings in the ring, several classes in the gaited division made you think of Louisville and the 12-horse Amateur Five-Gaited Championship was one of them. For any chance at a top prize exhibitors had to come to the ring with their “A” games. The longer this grand class went the better the gray horse got, the gray horse being CH Doubletrees Steel The Show. The multi-titled team of World’s Champion CH Doubletrees Steel The Show and Kate Salmonsen earned a unanimous decision in their last show together. Winner of the amateur stallion/gelding class over Steel The Show, Rob Me Blind was the unanimous reserve grand champion with owner Nancy Leigh-Fisher in the irons. The grand champion and reserve grand champion represented DeLovely Farm and Hollow Haven.

The three judges were also unanimous in their third place decision, Callaway’s Arbitrator with Ashley Birdsong. SA Olympic Fire and Vicki Reed moved up a notch from their qualifier to take fourth place honors in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. They were followed by Joan Hammond and the bright stallion, Superior’s Successor. After making a dazzling show to win the Amateur Five-Gaited Mare Stake, Laurel Nelson and Callaway’s Annie C brought more of that ground covering performance to the championship to receive sixth place honors, ahead of Executive Dunk with Karrie Graham, and Dusty’s Magic Moment with Lisa Lesch. Although not returning for the championship, Stacy Arnold and Amusing made a big splash with their reserve performance in the amateur mare class.

Each year the American Royal recognizes the great Missouri trainer Tom Bass. One of the inspirations for the American Royal, Bass was a pioneer horseman who was way ahead of his time. This year nine competed in the Missouri/Kansas Tom Bass Memorial Five-Gaited Championship but none could touch the Merchant Prince son, Dinero. Ridden by Karen Rader, Dinero was unanimous as the grand champion and the stallion/gelding qualifying winner. Radioactive RWF carried John Wallen to the reserve championship. Lemon Tea and Brenda Benner topped the Mo/Kan mare class for Rachael Worley. Alfredo Chavez and England’s Rose picked up the red ribbon as did Jimmy Simmons and Buck’s In Flation in the stallion/gelding qualifier.

John Biggins finished out his long show season on top. His last performance horse to show in 2001 was Janian’s Ruby Slippers, the unanimous winner of the Mo/Kan Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Owned and shown by Janet Thompson, the game bay mare also made the victory pass in the qualifier. Reserve both times out went to Jennifer Styskal and Callaway’s Connie Mack, an entry owned by William Woods University.

The junior exhibitors were just as competitive as their ladies and amateur counterparts. A string of world’s and national champions went head to head for the championship honors but there was no stopping the little, black powerhouse known as Boo !. Bursting with energy, Boo and Hayne Clifton scored a unanimous championship performance while representing Premier Stables. It was their second victory pass of the week as they had already won the 14 & under class. Always at the top of the judge’s card, Leslie Cox and Callaway’s Capitol Reporter added to their 15-17 blue by taking the reserve grand championship back to DeLovely Farm. Reserve in the 15-17 class, Dakota Willimon and Callaway’s Belfast were third in the championship, just ahead of Clarissa Henry and her new mount If Time Allows. Next in line was CH A Taste Of Champagne, the reserve winner in the 14 & under class with Maguire Hall riding from the Peggy Richardson Stables. Cydni Simmons and the former Five-Gaited Pony World’s Grand Champion CH Sammyshine rode to a good sixth place finish in the championship beating out Callaway’s Potpourri with Anne Skiba and CH Dr. Deker with Melina Lukas.

With added Grand National money on the line, Nelson Green and Tigerlee continued their undefeated streak with two of the three first place votes from the highly competitive Junior Five-Gaited Stake. The Walt and Jackie Stred entry has put together a string of impressive victories over the past two seasons. Taking one of the top votes, Prairie Dancer and Jerry Hutson were popular reserve champions for Belle Reve Farm. This year’s Junior Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion, Undulata’s Georgie Girl, came in third with Debbie Foley again riding for Debbie Gabbert. Also receiving a strong round of applause, Kenny Smith and The Great Gazoo put on an athletic performance for fourth.

Putting his chin on his chest and never dropping an ear, Talon was the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Champion with Tom Scott debuting the Caramac son for Pat Conlin Beau Provost Inc. Debbie Foley and Sterling Colors went home with the red, while Mark Hulse and White Chocolate put on a good show for the yellow streamers.

Mike Roberts and Callaway’s Shotgun were announced as the winners of the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake. Danette Musselman and Easy As Pie were handed the red prize.

Three-Gaited

The Art Simmons Memorial Trophy and $5,000 first place money was at stake in the $25,000 Three-Gaited Grand Championship, with an additional $2,500 going to the winning trainer. With that in mind, Hollow Haven trainer Andy Freseth came back with Nancy Leigh-Fisher’s amateur mount, Sky High Money, to take the top prize. They came through the gate ready for battle and held on to collect two of the three first place votes.

Reserve grand champion honors and one first place vote went to the celebrated winner of the over 15.2 stake Page Me. Jerry Hutson was again riding for Robert Lilly. Coming from a reserve finish in the under 15.2 section was the bay stallion Designed. He finished third with owner Judy Werner in the irons. Ryan Stodd with Heir Popper and Lana Gilpin with Chimere, reserve winner of the over 15.2 class, finished out the ribbon winners. Carol Hillenbrand had shown Callaway’s Blue Agate to win the under 15.2 stake but did not return for the championship round.

Saturday night’s Ladies Three-Gaited Championship was as good as it gets anywhere. Eleven entries answered ringmaster Vern Serex’s call and an all-star cast was on hand once the gate closed. Veteran horses and riders, amateurs and professionals, they all worked every inch of the ring. And just as she has done time and time again, CH My Front Page Lady went about her work in lady-like fashion to turn back a host of more than qualified contenders. It was the third consecutive year for Amy Dix Rock and her Premier-trained world’s grand champion. Sarah Byers had the honors of qualifying My Front Page Lady with a victory pass in the over 15.2 class.

Winner of the under 15.2 ladies class, Sportster claimed one first place vote in the championship to secure the reserve grand championship with owner Deborah Visser turning in a great ride. Another team that has been right at the top all season long, Supreme Inheritance and Ann Gallmeier went home with a yellow ribbon from the great class. They were followed by Lisa Strickland and Sold Out Show who qualified with a reserve in the under 15.2 section with owner Deborah Jahn riding. Erin Sembler and Pagan Prince also made several eye-catching passes to land the fifth place ribbon, followed by Jonelle Chovanec and Starmaker’s Look At Me, Lana Gilpin with Very Presidential, and Melody Adler aboard City Lady.

The amateur walk-trot horses were quite entertaining themselves with the veteran team of Phillipa Sledge and CH Americana’s Jazz Man defeating a host of worthy challengers. It was a unanimous decision for the Premier Stables team which had already won the under 15.2 qualifier. Callaway’s County Fair and Misdee Wrigley paraded for the reserve grand champion honors after winning the over 15.2 qualifier. The new team of Ryan Stodd and Heir Popper are gaining ground with every outing and they finished third in the championship following their reserve to Jazz Man in the qualifier. Nancy Leigh-Fisher and Sky High Money had been reserve in the over 15.2 qualifier.

Hulse and Simmons are two names that will forever be a part of the Missouri Saddlebred lore and they were first and second in the Missouri/Kansas Three-Gaited Championship. Mark Hulse guided Simply Tasty to his second victory pass of the week for the James Orr family. Jimmy Simmons and Sultan’s Michaelangelo were reserve grand champions. They had also been reserve to Simply Tasty in the Mo/Kan over 15.2 stake. Sarah Rowland rode The Border Star to the top prize in the under 15.2 qualifier, just ahead of Mark Hulse and Taste The Fizz.

From the Mike Roberts Stable, Chris Kaplan and CH A Step In Time were right on the money to make two victory passes in the Mo/Kan amateur events. Their unanimous performance in the championship was followed by Julie Broder and Paragon’s Jolie from William Woods University. Anna Marie Knipp and The Trust Account had been reserve to A Step In Time in the qualifier.

Coming back from a reserve performance in the 15-17 qualifier, Gentrye Houghton and world’s champion Timeless Drifter trotted off with the American Royal Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 15-17 Championship under the direction of John Biggins. It wasn’t easy as 15-17 qualifying winners Made Ya Look and Kerry Honkamp had another good go as the reserve grand champions for Knollwood Farm.

A couple of new combinations made the 14 & under section most interesting. Moving way up the card from the qualifier, Anisa Tracy and CH Renowned SC had two of the three first place votes to defeat 10 other teams for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14 & Under Championship. Under the direction of Jamie Bridgewater, this team was a sight from start to finish. From the Peggy Richardson Stable, Maguire Hall and Shaka Zulu were pretty fancy themselves for the reserve grand championship, placing just ahead of Meredithe Steinhauer and In Your Dreams.

Having enjoyed great success throughout the season, including Lexington and Louisville, Reedann’s Phancy Phootwork finished the year as the American Royal Junior Three-Gaited Champion with Liz Cortwright riding for Barbara McCune. It was an extremely deep class as Mark Hulse and the current junior under 15.2 world’s champion Winefest were the reserve champions. Last year’s UPHA Classic Grand Champion and world’s champion, Callaway’s Head Over Heels, was third with Lynda Freseth. Hollywood Scandal and Callaway’s Sunday Edit rounded out the top five.

Sonny Sutton and The Liberty Tribune raised eyebrows as they paraded to the winner’s circle of the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake. Ever Glades Farm was the owner of this bright new star. Rob Kritzler and First Shot landed the reserve prize for Reedannland.

The Virgil Helm Stables is consistently bringing out top young horses and such was the case in the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake in which Megan Harrison rode Sunshine Way to the title for Singing Hills Stables. Stephanie Kritzler was aboard Reedannland’s Phire Up to command reserve honors in the seven-horse class.

John Biggins and Ramses have always seemed to be a perfect fit and they again demonstrated that look as the Three-Gaited Park Grand Champions and open class winners. The Mrs. Alan R. Robson entry had plenty of competition, including reserve grand champion Desert’s Supreme Lady, shown by Virgil Helm for Katrina Wood. Max Ciampoli and CH The Shadow Knows were right there representing Linda Roos for third place honors. Always popular with the crowd since switching divisions, Purrfectly Perfect was fourth in the large championship with Lisa Strickland aboard. These same four were in a four-horse workout in the open qualifier with the first two in the same order.

There were plenty of big guns in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship and qualifier. This was a class loaded with talent including the unanimous grand champions CH A Step Of Time and Luanne Kilday. Under the direction of Steve Hanks, they were explosive with every step to defeat Jackie Stred and CH Quite A Guy as well as third place finishers Teddi Estes and Delay. Kelsey Sapp and CH G. A. Sultan’s Mr. Reagan finished the year with a good fourth place in the championship, while Christy Parsons and Callaway’s Cassandra landed fifth among the veteran teams.

Fine Harness

“This was the best three-horse class I’ve ever seen,” said Melissa Moore while waiting for the pinning of the Fine Harness Grand Championship. It was indeed a great class. For the past three years Walt and Jackie Stred’s multi-titled world’s grand champion CH Radiant Success had paraded to the winner’s circle for the Lee and Jane Fahey Perpetual Memorial Trophy. This year he was back for a shot at a fourth title, however, the new kid (mare) on the block, Kalarama’s New Sensation wasn’t just going to give it to the gelding, nor was the athletic stallion Call Me Ringo.

Round and round they went with the crowd cheering for all three but when the judge’s cards had been turned in the brilliant bay mare, Kalarama’s New Sensation had taken two of the three first-place votes to unseat the defending grand champion. Lynda Freseth was beaming from ear to ear as she made the victory pass for Guy and Karen Smith. Their week began with a victory pass in the ladies class over Blackberry Delight and Lisa Strickland.

Winner of the stallion/gelding class, CH Radiant Success put on a great show himself to receive the reserve grand championship with Nelson Green again at the whip for Walt and Jackie Stred. Also right there with an extremely strong show, Call Me Ringo, reserve winner in the stallion/gelding class, was a popular third place finisher with William Shatner at the whip. These were three true harness horses!

A Nelson Green entry did win the Amateur Fine Harness Championship. Certainly one of the most popular harness horses showing over the past few years, the expressive gray gelding, CH Absolutely Fabulous, was just that to win the amateur championship and qualifier with Susan Phillips. The elegant team of Metaphor and Misdee Wrigley commanded reserve honors in both events.

Kicking off the American Royal with a victory pass in class one just like they had done for the past two years, Doris Marks and CH Mercer Raceabout were crowned the blue ribbon winners of the Missouri/Kansas Fine Harness Stake. Jean Mead-Lewis and Lifetime Warranty came through with the reserve title.

Driving for Dr. Scott Bennett, Danette Musselman sent Lucky Vision to the top of the Junior Fine Harness Stake. Their closest competition came from Rick Wallen and Queensbury Jasmine, an entry owned and bred by Sue Powers’ Queensbury Farm. Wallen came back to win the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Class with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Dobbs’ Globetrotting Annie. The beautiful black mare topped nine other entries including the black gelding, reserve champion Walter Farley, driven by Mike Roberts.

When Rob Tanner comes to the ring with a young horse, more often than not, it’s one for prime time. In Touch looked every bit the part of a grand young horse and collected the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness blue for Tanner and owner A.E. Nelson. Dan Flowers presented Sheryl Swoopes to the reserve ribbon for Jamey Pippert.

Roadster

The open road horse to bike division was disappointingly small with only three entries in both the qualifier and championship. The amateur division however, was a different story. Their 10-entry qualifier and nine-entry championship were truly nail-biters and had many on the rail holding their breath to see who would emerge in the winner's circle.

Debbie Foley and Raymond Shively put on a good show whenever they meet in the ring and both of their entries had been to the winner's circle numerous times this season. When they met in their open championship, The Dark Side was unstoppable on the way to a unanimous victory with Foley. The Intimidator had to settle for the unanimous reserve with Shively after taking all three first place votes in the qualifier.

Misdee Wrigley, displaying nerves of steel, guided Guess Who through the crowded field to victory in the amateur championship with two first place votes to close out their successful season after a top three finish in the qualifier. William Shatner and Spill The Ink put the pedal to the metal throughout the class to press the winners hard for the reserve title and a first place vote. Spill The Ink also earned the red ribbon and a first place vote in the amateur qualifier. When & Where and Kate Salmonsen moved up in the ribbons to claim the top three championship finish. The Natural has been a powerful contender in the amateur division for years and with Crystal Everett in the bike for Kim Crumpler took the blue ribbon in the amateur qualifier with two first place votes in their only appearance for the week.

Sweet Lips and Jimmy Robertson teamed up for Willow Wind Saddlebreds to earn the victory pass in the limit class followed by Meadow Demon and Lana Gilpin. The under saddle class, with six entries, showcased a top field as well but none could top Danette Musselman and Roadrunner. The pair earned two of the first place votes for the win and sacrificed the final winning vote to reserve winners Guess Who and Wrigley.

The roadster ponies also had a bigger field in their amateur classes but the depth of the ponies overall was excellent. Triumphant has had an incredible year and closed it out in winning fashion for owner Jane Mueller when Gib Marcucci drove the powerful pony to the unanimous Roadster Pony Grand Championship title. Triumphant came into the championship having won the open class with two first place votes. The four-year-old Buckwheat and Josh Greer have also had a great year together and they pressed the winner hard but had to settle for the reserve grand championship. Cowboy Magic and Ed Frickey, and open reserve champion Thunder & Lightning with Rick Wallen claimed the final championship ribbons. Thunder & Lightning scored a first place vote on the way to the red ribbon.

Not only was the order of finish exactly the same for the top three contenders in the amateur championship and qualifier, but the votes were the same as well. Jeff McClean and Sis swept the division to earn four of the six first place votes and edged out Heartland Memory and Mary Campbell, with the remaining two top marks in both classes. Another Marucci trained entry, My Party Manners, with Jane Mueller, finished with the top three placing in both classes.

From the Mike Roberts Stables, Cabana Boy won the junior exhibitor class in a unanimous decision with Amy Glenn in the bike and was followed by Just Watch and Tiffany Trueman. Six nice junior ponies competed for their title and the crowd cheered their favorites as every entry put on a show.

Josh Greer and Seamair Strutter have headed the win count numerous times already this season and they added the blue ribbon from Kansas City to their title with a powerful performance and two first place votes. Directed by Rich Campbell, their blue ribbon came from the Junior Road Pony class. Bali Hai and Jessie Pettie came from the Dixie Jubilee Horse Show in Baton Rouge, La., to the unusual warm weather at the Royal and put together a strong effort for the red ribbon and the remaining first place vote under the direction of John Shea Stables.

Rounding out the road pony competition Rant & Rave and Anna Marie Knipp teamed up to take the victory pass in the Missouri/Kansas Roadster Pony class edging out Cabana Boy and Amy Glenn.

Hackney and Harness

There were plenty of ponies in both the cob-tail and long-tail divisions to spark conversation throughout the weekend. World's champions graced the ring time and time again with the pleasure driving division being large and deep. Ponies bearing the Heartland prefix did especially well. Mary Gaylord McClean and Heartland Triple Crown were just one of the Golden Creek teams that kept people talking. Gaylord McClean drove the expressive, young pony to a unanimous victory in the Harness Pony Championship amidst an impressive field of competitors. They were coming off a win in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic Championship. Ballet truly looked like she was dancing on her way to the unanimous win in the open class and returned for the unanimous reserve grand championship with Karen Frickey driving. Impress My Daddy was impressive with Gib Marcucci driving for Mr. and Mrs. Alan R. Robson but had to settle for the yellow ribbon after earning the red ribbon in the open class. Wait N See's Winter Hawk and Jared Ratzloff, Quickly Done and Paul Cates, and Heartland Music Maker with Pam Kryzer finished out the ribbon count.

Mary McClean was back in the winner's circle but this time it was with her recently purchased Joan Jett. The 1999 junior world's grand champion was the unanimous winner of the Ladies Harness Pony class. Wait N See's Winter Hawk and Donna Beck closed out their successful season with the reserve in the ladies class.

Heartland Lilac has been to the winner's circle many times this season with Kathy Capsuto and she turned in a polished and precise effort for a sweep of the amateur division with six first place votes for Escalade Stables. Joan Jett was the unanimous reserve grand champion and Tina Turner was reserve in the amateur qualifier with Anna Marie Knipp. Twin Willow's All That jazz finished with the top three ribbon in both amateur classes with Carlene Holt.

Gib Marcucci had a busy weekend showing ponies and he was behind Mary Campbell's sporty Nabucco for the win in the Junior Harness Pony class. High Mark and Darlene Trento-Wright were reserve in the junior class for Maureen Quackenbush. Just as the Fine Harness Championship was a great class despite only three entries, the Hackney Pony Championship was a great class despite only having two ponies competing. Two former world's grand champions went head to head to showcase their completely different styles. Heartland Rain Song and Heartland Triumphant King with Jackie Stred and Gib Marcucci driving, respectively, never let down or put an ear back but when the cards were turned in, Rain Song was rewarded for a great performance with the unanimous win and grand championship title. Stred had already driven to the win and three first place votes in the ladies class. Rich Campbell had the mare in great form to add yet another American Royal blue ribbon to her resume. Triumphant King was equally as strong and has had a career that speaks for itself. After taking the solo ribbon in the open class the red ribbon went back to Glenmoore, Pa., and Albelarm Farm. Dutch Mark claimed the final ribbon in the division by taking the reserve in the ladies class with Kate Frieberg.

Glenn Werry's Royal Canadian has enjoyed success time and time again this season and that streak continued at Kansas City in the amateur division with Jeff McClean being reunited with his world's champion for two catch drives. Royal Canadian swept the championship and amateur qualifier with two unanimous decisions. Classical Dancer and Ed Frickey claimed the reserve grand championship and red ribbon in the qualifier to close out their successful season after only a short time together in the harness pony division. Dutch Mark and Believe It! earned the remaining amateur championship ribbons.

Gib Marcucci returned to the winner's circle with The Final Contender when the panel named Ruth Sprenger's youngster the junior winner with two first place votes. Tommy Hilfiger and Bob Richards scored the reserve and final first place vote.

Former winners of the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classics Grand Championship, Gary Dickherber and Rolls Royce have been strong contenders in the pleasure driving division for several years and they proved their domination by sweeping the division this year. Ten ponies returned for the championship and the top three winners each scored a first place vote but when it was all said and done, Rolls Royce took the victory pass after having won the qualifier as well. High Life Pride and Karen Frickey added two more top ribbons to the Frickey Farm count by capturing the reserve title in both classes and a first place vote both times. Frankly Awesome rounded out the top three in the big championship class with Jerry Solien driving for a move up in the ribbons and a first place vote.Bold Lad and Ann Fitzpatrick claimed the yellow ribbon in the adult qualifier and Frankly Awesome was fourth with the remaining first place vote.

Sarah Asch and Harry Potter topped five other ponies in the junior exhibitor class and took the blue ribbon back to California with two of the three number ones. Heartland Rare Treat and Lindsay Kesterson were reserve and King Creole finished in third with Scooter Scheurich. Scheurich and last year's reserve national champion teamed up to earn one of the panel's top votes.

Pleasure

The Five-Gaited Pleasure Stake was a big competitive class, with 14 entries, and the list of ribbon winners was impressive. William Shatner’s entries have been making a splash in the ring all year and My Korbel made a big splash in the division. Shatner had already ridden My Korbel to the blue ribbon in the 39 and over qualifier and went to the top of the list to claim the win in the stake as well as one of the first place votes. Carol Hillenbrand had CH Specialty Item right on the money to earn the reserve in the stake with a first place vote after finishing with the red ribbon behind My Korbel in the qualifier. Be My Skywatch, always a contender in the division, claimed the top three finish in the stake for owner Sharon Lundgren. Nancy Leigh Fisher was up for the ride.

CH Beyond Reality has been in the hunt all season and earned a first place vote and a fourth place finish with owner Laurel Nelson riding and was followed in the ribbons by Simply Spool and Rosemarie Fernandez, Starmaker Power and Stacey Kipper, Still Champagne and Ashley Hallock, and Bazooka Joe with Dana DelTorchio up. Bazooka Joe came into the stake for William Woods University with the blue ribbon from the 38 and under class, and beat out reserve finishers Hallock and Still Champagne.

The first place votes in the Park Pleasure Stake were spread amongst the top three finishers in the six-entry class. The Tonite Show, a popular performer in the pleasure driving division with owner Katherine Meintz has made the transition to the under saddle division this year and proved the move has continued to be a good one when Lisa Strickland rode to the winners circle in both the stake and the open qualifier. Prince Of The Day moved up in the ribbons with a good ride by Kenny Smith to earn the reserve grand championship title for Kristen Pettry. Ray Krussell rode Knight Of Steel to the red ribbon in the open class for owner Wendy Carney.

A top group of junior horses competed in their qualifying class and most returned for the stake to make it an exciting class. I’m Simply Radiant couldn’t be denied in either class and swept the junior division with two powerful performances and two unanimous decisions for Roy and Judy Werner and Redwing Farm. Mark Turner put together the winning rides from Delovely to top the 11-entry stake and 14-entry qualifier. The three-year-old Again Again proved to be quite a threat to the junior horses and came away with the reserve grand championship with Sharon Backer up for High Spirits Farm. Gaining fans and ribbons all year, the team of Star Studded Simbara and Scott Matton moved up to take the yellow ribbon for Sara Van Galder. Admiral’s Gift Of Roses, Little Mike, Mahalia, Apache Fire Dancer, and Central Park West all went home with a prize. Mahalia, ridden by Jack Magill, was reserve in the qualifier for Joan Cantrell. Central Park West and Rachalle Stezovsky maneuvered through the big field to claim the third place finish in the qualifier.

The pleasure division all season has offered some of the most exciting and hotly contested competition in the ring. From early season face-offs to Lexington, Louisville, and the American Royal, adults and junior exhibitors faced big classes and deep water. The $10,000 Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure National Championship was a great class showcasing 14 teams working hard for a prize. When the entries lined up two of the first place votes were enough for unanimous 39 and over champion The Bess Yet and Carol Hillenbrand to be called out as the national champions after a skilled presentation. Uncle Abe, winner of the 18-38 class with two first place votes scored the remaining first place vote and the reserve title to close out a successful season with Travis Van Zetten. Angela Gibson and Callaway's Sweet Harmony were reserve in the Mo/Kan class and rode to the top three finish followed by Starry Starry Night and Robin Vuillermet. Sally Jo Briney and Summertime Santana claimed their prize after earning the red ribbon in the 39 and over qualifier. Callaway's Hail Liberty and Vicki Reed, Going To The Sun and Melinda Young, Winsdown Sweet Oil and Pamela Dice, Mo/Kan winners Who Ah and Jennifer Gassen, and Bu's Bloomtide with Melissa Mountain rounded out the top ten. The King's Man was catch-ridden by Gabe Deknatel to take the reserve in the 18-38 class for Charles Cronan IV.

The junior exhibitor division was incredibly deep with the 14 and under riders facing 17 teams in their stake after the 21 teams were divided up into two sections for their qualifier. The 15-17 riders had a smaller field with nine teams returning for their stake. Smaller but no less competitive. The list of ribbon winners was an impressive one and was headed up by unanimous grand champions Melina Lukas and Petra's Beyond Belief. Lukas ended an incredible year with a nearly flawless ride in the stake that came after a unanimous victory in the tough qualifier. Lindsay Alberts and CH Highpoint's Coming Attraction have been contenders all year and they put together a true team effort to score the reserve grand championship title to move up from their third place in the qualifier. Meg Allen and

Stoneview's Joy have had a successful season in both pleasure equitation and show pleasure and they scored the yellow ribbon in the stake after having been named the reserve winners of their qualifier. Callaway's Show Me When and Anna Grundstrom, Undulata's Hall Of Fame and Jana McConnell, Arctic Lights and Maureen Gordon, Bridgetown and Stefanie Maerz, and Thee Trinity with Andy Hutson claimed the final ribbons.

The 14 and under riders put on an incredible show in their action-packed stake. The cards made it clear that the judging panel was impressed with the big field and the ultimate ribbon winners were a well matched group. CH Sweet Virginia and Kelly Ricker, the reserve winners of the section two class, were called out as the grand champions from Milligan Stables with a first place vote for the win. Ali Judah and Riva Diva have worked hard all year and they claimed the reserve grand championship title with an impressive display and move up in the ribbons. Laguardia and Barrett Clifton scored a first place vote and the blue ribbon in the section two qualifier but had to settle for the yellow streamers in the stake. Kelsey Nicole Smith rode Tip Rodgers to the fourth place ribbon and scored one of the first place votes in the process. Endolane firecracker and Tara Grom, section one reserve winners Reedann's Phlambeau and Lisa McClaren, CH Harlem's Gambler and Lindsea Ballew, and unanimous section one champion Bright Wind with Hayne Clifton rounded out the ribbon count. Bright wind also scored one of the first place votes from the panel. Margarita Man and Jillian Paterini claimed the top three finish in section one.

Seventeen entries had competed in the show pleasure driving qualifiers before nine teams returned for an exciting championship class. Alice Unger, driving Nancy Leigh Fisher’s Heirs Town, brought her entry back after having taken the blue ribbon and two first place votes in the 38 and under class. CH Advantage Me and Sarah Asch returned after their first place vote and reserve finish in the 38 and under class.

Irish Tribute and Toni Nastali won their 39 and over qualifier and claimed two first place votes for the victory before returning for the championship. Reserve champion Queensbury Coquette and Sue Powers had also scored a first place vote in the 39 and over class before coming back for the championship.

Just as the first place votes had been divided up amongst the top two ribbon winners in both qualifiers, the competitive championship was filled with top teams that left the judges divided as to where to cast their winning votes. When the cards were turned in the top three finishers each received a first place vote from the panel but it was Heirs Town and Alice Unger taking the tricolor and victory pass for Nancy Leigh Fisher. Irish Tribute claimed the reserve grand championship and was followed in the ribbons by CH Advantage Me and fourth place entry Queensbury Coquette.

The country pleasure division, for both the adults and the junior exhibitors was full of big classes and every single under saddle class resulted in a unanimous decision by the panel. The adult championship boasted 12 sporty entries but none could top Future Treasure and Ericka Nelson. The pair closed out their successful first season together with a clean sweep of the division. Charlene Edwards and Turn Of The Century put together a strong performance to move up from third in the adult class and take the reserve tricolor. Stablemates Harlem's Half Moon and Karin Nilsson claimed the top three finish in the big class after their reserve in the adult qualifier. Jessica Simien-Curl and Moment By Moment won the Mo/Kan class with a unanimous decision before returning in the deep championship class to finish with fourth place.

The junior exhibitors also had to work hard in their competitive division. Just like the adults, their division has been tough all year with deep water in virtually every class and Kansas City was no different. Kerry Honkamp and the multi-titled Undulata's Clean Sweep turned in a strong performance to do just that - a clean sweep of the division with two unanimous wins. Baron's Dreams and Schemes and Megan Flod worked hard and claimed the reserve grand championship to move up in the ribbons. The Chicago Son Times and Corbin Smith also moved up in the ribbons and were able to round out the top three. Reserve junior exhibitor champion Attitude Matters followed in the ribbons with Lindsay Taylor. Mr. Brown took the unanimous reserve in the Mo/Kan class with Marianne Bantrup in the irons.

The country pleasure driving competitors, like their show pleasure driving counterparts, were divided by age in their qualifiers before returning for a well-filled eight-entry championship class. Rasheed and Sandra Salmen closed out their winning season as the tricolor winners with two first place votes after earning the red ribbon in the 39 and over class. Moment By Moment, with one unanimous victory already, went to the winner's circle with two first place votes in the 39 and over class with Ann Curl and came back in the championship to claim the reserve tricolor with a strong performance. Reedann's Phorsythia was reserve with a first place vote in the 38 and under class with Kurt Antonnacci and returned to close out the top three with Jeff Donovan driving for the final first place vote in the championship. CH Perfect Tempo earned two first place votes to win the 38 and under class but had to settle for fourth in the championship with Katy Parr.

The Western Country Pleasure Stake was huge. Seventeen entries jogged into the ring to showcase the depth and quality that the division has continued to enjoy year after year. Teresa Amen and Exquisite Step scored the impressive win with two first place votes after placing reserve in the 13-entry Shatner class with a first place vote. They were also able to garner a first place vote with their third place finish in the qualifier. Impressive Ruler put together the winning efforts in both the Shatner class and 18-entry Western Country Pleasure qualifier with Mary Strohfus before claiming the reserve tricolor in the championship. Joy Warren rode Great Belles Of Fire to third in the championship after a reserve and first place vote in the qualifier. BF Magic O' Lee rounded out the top three in the Shatner class with the remaining first place vote and returned in the championship with Jason Molback to finish fourth. Gunsmith and Arlys Solien, Heir To Lakota and Marge Brown, CH Star Track CHF and Pat Johnson, and Invisible with Michael Bulleigh claimed the remaining championship ribbons.

More Stories

  • A Memorable First Trip To Oklahoma

    Taylor Ladd arrived in Oklahoma to compete for the first time this year, but she had the success of a seasoned veteran. The walk-trot rider left the fairgrounds with two World Championships, one Reserve World Championship, and three Grand National titles under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Read More
  • Highlights from Morgan Grand National

    Enjoy the victory passes and interviews from Oklahoma City on ReporTV! Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN FINAL

    It's official! The REPORT Leaderboard for the 2017 Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show is final. Wow!  All the hard work all year really paid off! Congratulations to all the winners - blue ribbon and otherwise!

     

    Read More
  • Interview at Sterling Training Center

    In the interview that follows, trainer Katie Mair and owners Mary and Natalie Golota share their thoughts following Katie's win with As Predicted GCH at the Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Cater Stables

    In the interview that follows, trainer Kristen Cater and proud owner Lila Tater share their thoughts following Kristen's victory in Hunter Pleasure with Epona's Mo'O Lio GCH at Morgan Grand National.  Read More
  • Interview at Fire Stables Equestrian

    In the interview that follows, Elaine Galatz, Hannah McBain, Phil Fountain and Julianne Rafferty of Fire Stables Equestrian share their thoughts following a successful Morgan Grand National. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Friday

    With only Saturday's finale performances to go, here's how the blue ribbon counts go in the REPORT Leaderboard through end of day Friday, October 13. Read More
  • A Family Bond

    The Youth of the Year contest tests the skills of young equestrian each year at the Morgan Grand National. Selina Cloutier had the honor of winning this prestigious competition in 1998, and this year, her daughter Clea is competing for the same title. Read More
  • Another Record Breaking Performance

    Morgan Grand National fans were treated to a history making performance on Thursday afternoon as Arcadia, Oklahoma resident Chloe Farischon became the first junior exhibitor to win the World Champion Four-Year-Old English Pleasure title. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard MGN Thru Thursday

    It's coming down to the wire and the competition is so close. Check out the REPORT Leaderboard standings as of Thursday, October 12. Read More