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Friday Highlights from The American Royal

Friday dawned with a daunting schedule of events to fit into one day. Beginning at 9 a.m. with the UPHA Classics Incentive Auction, there was plenty to keep people busy all throughout the day. With the afternoon session starting at 1 p.m. and running close to four hours, followed by an evening session starting at 7 p.m. there was not much time left for non-horse-related activities. Those who attended the AHHS Awards Luncheon after the afternoon session had even less time and were in a bit of a rush.

The daytime session was capped off by another epic walk and trot battle, as the best little riders in the business went after the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup National Championship. Macey Joan Miles emerged as the victor once again, taking the National Championship. Aleia Brown was the Reserve National Champion under the Cape Cod banner. The young riders in this division will be around for a long time, and these "rivalries" will continue on well into their cantering years!

The first National Champion crowned on the day was Miss Fuente, with Mitchell Tunstall riding to the AHHS Pleasure Pony Under Saddle crown.

Hunter Chancellor had another busy day, as she stepped up with Can You Hear Me Now to take the younger age group of the 14 and Under Show Pleasure National Championship for DeLovely. With the class split and the older age group coming to the ring next, Chancellor had time to make the quick switch to her equitation mount Feng Shui, winning another blue just a class later, this one being in Saddle Seat Equitation 11-13.

The older split of the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure National Championship was the property of the great CH Ninety-Eight Degrees. Katherine Randall once again bested the field with the Brookdale Farm entry. CH The Last Straw and Kaitlin Whatley were reserve. Reserve National Champions in the younger age group were Shamrock’s Asagi and Brianna Meyer.

There was a significant showstopper in the Two Year Old Three-Gaited ranks, as Tom Scott brought the aptly named Real Action to the show ring. If a leg-waving performance is what you are looking for, this one will not disappoint. By Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of a Blue Norther mare, Real Action displays athleticism well beyond his years.

Brittany McGinnis earned another equitation blue for DeLovely, taking the Saddle Seat Equitation 14-15 division with Soli Deo Glori. For all that Brittany has accomplished, it is hard to believe she still has two years left in the junior exhibitor ranks.

Knollwood Farm figured prominently in both Five-Gaited Pleasure National Championships, and both Champions also featured phenomenal catch-ride performances. In the junior exhibitor ranks, Knollwood’s Angela Darrow turned in the tri-color ride aboard the Jim Lowry-trained Cool Down Papa, a light chestnut that Darrow has teamed with well throughout the year for Kathryne Stief. In the adult division, Emily Abbott had a magnificent go with the Knollwood-trained Callaway’s Where There’s A Will for Emily and Barb Scharpf, taking home the National Championship. Reserve National Champion for the young riders was She’s Gone Blonde with Callie Smith, while Callaway’s Dealbreaker was reserve in the adult class with an elated Betts Coup aboard.

Vicky Clark had Got It Made working well for the top spot in Two Year Old Five-Gaited. In a well-filled Park Pleasure Stake, James Wallen had Heart Of Steel up in the bridle and driving down the rail for the tri-color. Pat McConnel was reserve again with Crimson Blue for MBA Equestrians.

Jacqueline Beck spent the second-to-last day of her junior exhibitor career in the winner’s circle, as she won the Saddle Seat Equitation 16-17 class.

In the 13 and Under AHHS Roadster Pony Medallion National Championship, a shining show ring star closed out his storied career. Dun-Haven Grandiose made one last scintillating performance with Kirstie Buerkley, going out on top as the National Champion once again. Tony Wuesthofen made a big show as the Reserve National Champion with The Wizard LF.

Making sure everyone got back to the show on time, the Amateur Three-Gaited National Championship was the first class of the evening and once again lived up to its billing. In a hard-fought duel between the two qualifier winners, Theresa Vonderschmitt earned the National Championship tri-color with CH Manila Thrilla. Misdee Wrigley Miller and Hillcroft Claret picked up the Reserve National Championship.

What more can be said about Seamair Simply Awesome than what his name so clearly states? John Wrather made the stellar drive once again to earn the Amateur Hackney Pony National Championship. Sandra Surber and Heartland Candidate were reserve.

Jacqueline Back and Jessica Moctezuma battled it out for the American Royal Equitation Championship, with JJ and Kiss Of The Zodiac coming out on top for Zubrod Stables and Rancho Del Mar. Jessica Moctezuma was the Reserve Champion under the direction of Barbe Smith and mom Nealia McCracken.

Majestic Oaks was back in the winner’s circle in the Amateur Road Pony National Championship, as Dr. Chip Pugh made his best performance to date with Stat, earning the round of honor. Calvin Hobbs and Kevin Ingram, World’s Champions in the division, were Reserve National Champions.

Apparently the combination of DeLovely, the Chancellor family, and Kim Cowart as a catch-rider is a good one. How does one follow up a Ladies World’s Championship in 2007 with Platinum’s New Look, one of the greatest catch-rides of all time? By winning the Junior Three-Gaited title at the 2008 American Royal of course! To be fair, Cowart was a bit more familiar with her mount in this one, as she was I’m McDreamy’s jockey for the past two show seasons, winning the Three Year Old Three-Gaited World’s Championship last year and two Reserve World’s Championships this year. The DeLovely team and the Chancellor family gave Cowart the honor of finishing this grand horse’s junior career in style.

The Amateur Harness Pony National Championship saw Dun-Haven Phenomenal driven to the tri-color by Kathryn Nichols. This team has really come together throughout the year, with Nichols being able to really make each show better than the last with the little dynamo. Two National Championships and a Reserve National Championship in the amateur pony championships tonight made for a happy Majestic Oaks team.

Mandy Martin capped off her storybook season with The Daily Lottery, winning the Junior Five-Gaited class. She made all of Stephens College proud once again. Lonnie Quarles made a well-received show with Fox Grape’s Dauntless in reserve for Fox Grape Farms.

The first of two AHHS Medallion National Championships on the night went to Lady Juliet and Megan Todd in the Hackney Pleasure Driving division. Frank and Iris James own this pleasure perfect pony. Hawkeye’s Chatter Box and Allie Wellington finished up as the Reserve National Champions.

Two classes later, the AHHS Roadster Pony 14-17 National Champion was crowned. This time it was a boy driver, Kevin Berman, who raced off with the tri-color behind Albert Kaponey for Sandra Currier and his grandparents’ Bluebonnet Farm. Megan Todd and Boogity Boogity were reserve for Ashlyn Farms and the Majestic Oaks banner.

Taking the National Championship back to the Northeast, Careen DuBuc had the ride of a lifetime aboard CH Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood to earn the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure National Championship. It has been a stellar first season together for this team, including a Reserve World’s Championship. World’s Champion in the division CH Teuschers was reserve tonight with Travis Van Zetten.

After Charlie Jones and Mr’s Bones trotted off into the cold Kansas City night with the Amateur Roadster to Bike National Championship, the stage was set for the Pink Ribbon Ladies Five-Gaited Championship. Many ladies were celebrated by their friends and family members for their strength and courage in dealing with the terrible disease breast cancer. These ladies were brought into center ring and remained there throughout the entire class. Also in center ring were many of the people instrumental in the Ride for the Cure program. One of these was Kristen Cater, who directed the fundraising effort at UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere that tallied over $33,000. This phenomenal program raised $103,000 in just its first year of existence.

Once everyone was in place, the ladies entries were introduced by Peter Fenton, and the battle was on. These ladies must have taken "riding for the cure" to heart, because they were on fire on this cool, crisp night. CH Carolina Cat and Amanda Dellinger turned in one of their best performances, while CH Have You Ever and Barclay de Wet continued their storied career together with a smashing show. First Chapter and Tracy James keep improving as a team, while Celtic Lass and Lisa Strickland are always a duo to be reckoned with as well.

For all the incredible talent in this class, there were two that stepped up to new heights. Bluebonnet’s Challenger and Joan Cantrell are in their first season together as full-time partners. To say they put it all together on this huge stage would be an understatement. Moving up from fifth in the qualifier to Reserve National Champion tonight is no small feat. Perhaps Cantrell’s own battle with cancer inspired this performance, but regardless, it was one for the ages. Challenger looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he flew down the rail with Cantrell. But there was one rider in there that had inspiration as well. Gayle Lampe was one of the friends or family members that "celebrated" one of the ladies in center ring. The target of her celebration was none other than her good friend and longtime show manager of the American Royal, Fern Bittner. With the National Championship on the line and Bittner looking on from center ring, Ms. Lampe turned in her best performance of the year with CH Callaway’s Born To Win. She needed every ounce of ability and energy that her surreally talented mount possessed, and he answered her every call, building and building to a unanimous National Championship.

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