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Friday - World Champion Action Continues At The Morgan Grand National


Friday morning’s session was dedicated to the six World Futurity In Hand Championships for the yearlings and two-year-olds along with a trio of performance classes. The World Futurity awarded over $170,000 from its prize fund in 2005. Judges Price, Swanson and Matthews marked the cards in the in hand competition with some of the breeds top breeding programs represented in Friday morning's competition.

The yearling geldings were first to answer the call to the ring with a field of seven. Stephen Smith's Ultra Morgans sent the top placing entry to the winner's circle for a unanimous tie. Michael Slomkowksi was on the lead of the Ultra's Special Agent son Ultra's First Class Male for the title. Following his purchase at the Morgan Classics Benefit Sale just a week earlier, Quick Draw McGraw made his new owner proud as Michael Scanlon led to the reserve title.


                                    MEM Shock & Awe

A spirited field of 13 lovely youngsters vied for the World Champion Futurity Yearling Fillies awards with the judges narrowing the field of contenders to seven lined up side by side at the in-gate area. MEM Shock & Awe (Serenity Masterpiece x AFF Evening Episode) maintained her winning streak with a tricolor presentation for a top prize of $4000 shown by
Rick Lane for George Schott's Maine Event Morgans. The offspring of Serenity Masterpiece swept the tricolors as Mark and Melissa Wahl guided Whispering Confessions to the reserve award for the Nielson Living Trust.

The World Champion Futurity Yearling Colts saw Cingate Lucky Star take over center stage as he added to the list of world titled entries bred and shown by Cingate Morgans. Whitney Bodnar was on the lead of the necky son of the top young sire Astronomicallee for the honors. The Maine Event Morgans breeding program continued its tricolor show as MEM Chill Factor (Serenity Masterpiece x Cabot Joie De Vivre) posed for the red, yellow and white streamers presented by Rick Lane.

The attention shifted from the young horses to the young riders as the Walk-Trot English Pleasure 10-11 Finals was next to entertain with a grand field of 11 top flight teams from coast to coast. The west coast reigned supreme as MLF Caliente and Tayler Walters took a much applauded trip to the winner's circle to the delight of instructor Anne Speck as well as proud mom Debra Hurst Walters. DDM Nightwind and Annie Thurber added to a tricolor week for trainer Katie Mair as the reserve champions.

The World Champion Futurity Two-Year-Old In Hand followed with each of the champions earning a check for $2700 with $1700 going to the reserve champions. The geldings were first up with nine competitors. SpringMill Medicine Man (Nostradamus x Treble's Unchained Melody) earned strong encouragement as breeders John and Patti Huse as well as new owners Joan and Byron Weir celebrated the unanimous victory guided by Kurt Hufferd. Graywood's Lear sired by SpiceOLife Right Answer earned his second Oklahoma tricolor in as many years as Richard Boulé led the way for Jared Gove.

A great morning continued Astronomicallee sired his second world champion of the morning as Love Her Madly, out of NBN At Your Command, claimed the World Champion Futurity Two-Year-Old Mares. Colleen and Lyle Wick presented the pretty bay for owner Mary Todd Kaercher. JD and Susan Symer cheered their polished chestnut Legendary Alexa Leigh on as the reserve champion. Ernesto Chavolla and Judy Whitney Harris guided the Troutbrook Alexander daughter.

Kosta Boda's ever expanding fan club cheered loudly as he was ushered to the winner's circle as the World Champion Futurity Two-Year-Old Stallion. Bob Hughes continued a tricolor week for Copper Beech LLC with the victory. Grand Cru Taittinger made his presence known as Cheri Barber guided the impressive Three Wishes son to the tricolor honors for John and Karen Teller.

This concluded the World Champion Futurity In Hand classes. One of the many fundraisers of the World Futurity this year was a silent auction for training services. The names of all the participating trainers were entered into a drawing where the winning trainer would receive a prize of $1000 from the World Futurity. At this time, the drawing was held with Earl and Jennifer McFall earning the prize.

                                      Hyland Acres Command

The beauty, personality and disposition of the Morgan Horse are never more appreciated than in their ability to introduce a young rider to the thrill of showing. There has certainly never been a Morgan gelding who has enjoyed as much success and as strong a following as Hyland Acres Command. As Max Liberty enjoyed his first trip around the
Oklahoma coliseum, it was a bittersweet moment as he was aboard the mighty Hyland Acres Command enjoying a unanimous winning performance in what would be the final show ring performance of the one-of-a-kind Morgan. It was also a memorable class for Lauren Wade as she earned the reserve tricolor pass in her trip to Oklahoma riding Intrepid Sir Pepper to the delight of The River's Edge group.

A promising field of 12 filled the ring for the Junior Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship to close out the morning session. Janelle Schroeder and Libretto's Bravado were in high style as they carried the roses back to Cadence Farm LLC under the direction of Team Merriehill. Ann Hailey continued an amazing week with the entries of Copper Beech LLC as she happily guided CBMF Mozambique to the reserve honors guided by Harry Sebring.

Representing just about every region in the United States, 18 juvenile riders converged in the coliseum for the first class Friday afternoon. It always takes a smart rider in the hunter division to win a class as standing out among the large field is a big challenge. This year was the first year that the show committee broke down the division beyond simple 13 and under and 14-17. They made one world championship for 14 and 15-year-old riders and one for the 16 and 17-year-olds to accommodate the excessive numbers in the division.
In the World Championship Hunter Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 16 & 17 class, Laura Pecherski, aboard Night Out, beamed with excitement as Bill Carrington announced them the winners for owner Jennifer Grey. The red roses looked perfectly fitting around the neck of the beautiful black gelding, who is by Forevermore and trained by Katie Mair. Whitney Hazen closed out her celebrated junior exhibitor career with one more tricolor ride down victory lane. Teamed with BMF Take Down The Flag, Hazen rode away as the reserve world champion to the cheers of her friends and family. The impressive list of top ten finishers also included; Paradigm Power Surge and Sara DeGregorio, Fortuneaire and Bethany Brill, Indian Creek Final Touch and Sasha Klein, Kane Creek Oregon Reign and Ashley Wright, Orrwoods Special Edition and Katie Teevin, Shaker's Shariff and Katherine Guyon, Meadowair Deal Me Aces and Kalyn Bechle, and Roadshow Jesse James and Britni Olsen.

The Grand National crowd took Bill Carrington's advice in the next class when he told them to pick out a favorite and cheer. It seemed like each of the 13 contenders in the World Champion Ladies Classic Pleasure Driving class had a large fan club, but no one’s topped the crowed approval that Whispering Rhythm-N-Blues and Michelle Aulson received when they were named the world champions. With a strong display of classic style, Med-E-Oka French Morocco and Laurin Johnson finished as the reserve world champions.


                                         Virginia Adams and Julie Chan

Morgans so often make beautiful western mounts and the judges had their work cut out for them in the 21-entry World Champion Western Pleasure Ladies Amateur class. In what has been a grand slam week for horses under his tutelage, Garn Walker-trained entries swept this class as Star of Midnight and Virginia Adams won the class with two first place votes and DLH Dakota Blues with Julie Chan directing finished reserve.

The lovely afternoon continued as 10 promising youngsters competed next in the Three-Year-Old English Pleasure World Championship. After the rail portion was complete, attendants made their way in to strip the horses so the judges could take an up close look at each entry. When the cards were turned in, master horseman Mike Goebig and the pretty Liberation First Star daughter Treble’s First Take made their way to the winner’s circle to accept the unanimous victory for Copper Beech LLC. Luman Wadhams and Starboard’s Ring My Bell, a flashy chestnut mare by HVK Bell Flaire, gained the judges’ approval for the reserve tricolor finish for South Bay Morgans.

The World Champion Classic Pleasure Driving Junior Exhibitor class answered the next gate call. Mirabel’s Dartanyan and Alyssa Wick steered their way to victory with a poised showing for Hardwood Creek Farm. Mikaela’s Pocket Rocket and Joshua Hummel’s fan club cheered them on to reserve tricolor in the competitive field of 12.

                                             Merriehill The Lion King

The 13 and under riders and their hunters were up next and, like it had been in the 16 and 17-year-old class an hour earlier, being seen among the 21 high-caliber entries was a challenge. For the second year in a row, Merriehill The Lion King and Alyssa Rumsey emerged victorious under the Crystal Farms banner to earn the second set of roses on the week. Talk of the Town LPS and Lauren Gorfinkle successfully rose above their many challengers for reserve.  

                                               Katie and Kathy Cook

Gerry Rushton Stables dominated the next class as the animated MEM La Vida Loca with Katie Cook, repeating their top performance from earlier in the week, won the class with the well-balanced Kingsgrove Copyright and Chris Rushton following the winners for a strong reserve finish.

                                        GPM Genesis B and Night Out

Fifteen seasoned riders made their way to the coliseum for the second to last class of the afternoon, the World Champion Hunter Pleasure Amateur Masters’ class. Accomplished competitors Night Out and Jennifer Grey added another winning dimension to their grand resumes. This was Night Out’s second world championship victory of the session. Experienced equestrian Melissa Walker gave her precious partner GPM Genesis B a huge hug after they made their reserve victory pass.

The World Champion Western Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 14-17 class closed out Friday afternoon’s agenda with another deep class of young riders and well-matched horses. Natalie Nelsen hasn’t lost a class yet this week and today, she had a delightful ride aboard KN French Commandante to best the 19-entry field for owner Debra Woolley Lee. A flawless performance put the talented team of Mtn Laurel Election Day and Caitlin Harrison in reserve. Adorned in red along with red roses and tricolor, Harrison celebrated a memorable close to her junior exhibitor career.
                                                  Erotic Dancer

One of the evening’s most anticipated events opened the Friday evening session. The nation’s best amateur park contenders came head to head for what became a very tough match up. After the 10 entries completed the first way of the ring, a shoe was cast, giving exhibitors a chance to catch their breath and regain their composure in the intense class. Everything was smooth sailing after the break and when the cards were turned in, it was a victory for the ladies as the striking mare Erotic Dancer danced all the way to the presentation area with Dawn Fire up for Peeper Ranch. Cynthia Fawcett's expression said it all as Fox Glen Hail To Divinity was announced as the reserve world champion as they were greeted by trainer Ann Anderson.


                                            Prindle's Mere Mortal

The World Champion Classic Pleasure Driving class was traffic-ridden and drivers had to carefully plan their driving paths to safely stand out in the 16-entry class. On this night, Ann Hailey and Prindle’s Mere Mortal had their turn in the spotlight, thanks to the expert guidance of Harry Sebring. This marked the second year in a row that this handsome and mannerly gelding has won a world title in a different division, for a different owner and trainer proving his domination of the classic competition. Airegantlee and Mari Sanderson received an enthusiastic round of applause from the magnificent Grand National crowd for their reserve drive. 


                                                    Kiss N Tell

Fourteen teams gathered next for the World Champion Ladies English Pleasure which started out on a less than lady-like note as two riders were thrown from their mounts and the class narrowed to 12. Continuing Gerry Rushton Stables’ winning streak, Stacy Hennessy piloted the beautifully refined and expressive bay mare Kiss N Tell to the world championship victory pass for DreamMaster Morgan Farm. It was a tricolor sweep for
California as Missy Hanover gave the charismatic chestnut KHF Bleeding Heart an eye-catching ride for the reserve streamers.

The World Champion Park Harness Three-Year-Old class followed and with first place votes from Lonnie Lavery and Phil Price, Queen’s Starfire took her well-deserved place in the spotlight. With athleticism and expression to spare, the daughter of Lamborghini In Black and HVK Tiz Flaire emerged victorious for Rocky and Diana Schiefler with David Rand on the lines. Previously undefeated and always a much talked about entry with outstanding cadence, SpiceOLife Present Tense and Diane Conrady followed up their two previous unanimous wins this week with reserve honors for David James Walker.

Sixteen hunters trotted through the gate next for the World Champion Hunter Pleasure. After triumphing as the amateur world champion a year ago, Shaker's Maribeles stepped up with stellar rail work and conformation to again win the roses. This time it was Mary Carlton aboard to earn the important unanimous victory for ecstatic owner Judy Fox. The futuristic form and presence of Indian Creek Belle Isle, with Keely Sogoloff up, garnered a reserve tricolor from the impressive field for owners Joanne and Julie Byrn.

The second half of the evening’s agenda featured 12 World Champion Pleasure Driving Amateur contenders. This class was chock full of horses with very impressive resumes and the crowd was anxious to see who the judges would crown world champions. At the conclusion of the class, each judge had a different winner on his card, but the calculations proved WSG Circumstant’l Evidence and Priscilla Marconi to be the winners. This bright, long necked entry never dropped an ear and Marconi, who won this class in 2002 with Nicoria, showed her mastery of the ring to earn the grand win for the Indian Creek team. Donna Zimmerman has had a fantastic week and she finished this night with a trip down victory lane as the reserve world champion with The Last Don directed by Steve DeBolt.

                                                Stonecroft Byzantine

Another open world championship kept the excitement rolling as nine open English pleasure entries and the experts of the industry trotted through the gate next. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Anne Benson and Stonecroft Byzantine glowed as they paraded to the winner’s area after winning the class in unanimous fashion with the crowd’s approval. Rick Stevens met Heidi Kunkel's immensely popular stallion in the winner's circle as he added the World Champion English Pleasure roses to the set earned in 2000 in the World Champion Park Harness. Mark and Whitney Bodnar raced to the presentation area to congratulate their dad Stan Bodnar on his reserve finish aboard the flashy chestnut Futurity Chicago Whitesox. She was earning top honors for team Merriehill as her namesake baseball team continued its winning streak on the way to the World Series.

Following the English pleasure class, Bill Carrington took a moment to recognize the many respected people that the industry has lost this year. Spectators appreciated Carrington’s kind words and the moment of silence. The moment was certainly profound for many. On a particularly sad note, Warren Sessink, father of Sandy, Calvin, Cindy and Charles, passed away this very evening.
Following a transition from the moment of silence back to the evening’s performance, 12 jogged through the gate for the World Champion Western Pleasure Ladies class. Adding to a terrific week and earning two first place votes, Bear Brook Supreme Bar and Sammi Hazen shone as they took the victory pass with their fan club cheering them on. He’s Simply Marvelous and Virginia Adams have also enjoyed a phenomenal week and they added a reserve tricolor to the magnificent collection at Garn Walker’s tack room.

                                           JW That Special Flaire

It was finally the time spectators had been waiting for all evening, the crowning of the World Champion Park Harness. Rumors had circulated that Judy Whitney Harris would be showing JW That Special Flaire, the two-year-old star of the show who won the futurity class earlier in the week. People also awaited the chance to again view stallion qualifier winner SLB Da Vinci and Bob Hughes and a trio of other fine challengers. Rumors proved to be true as Harris paraded through the gate behind the lines of JW That Special Flaire much to the crowd’s delight. Demonstrating amazing maturity against his more experienced competitors, JW That Special Flaire made history as the first two-year-old to ever win the Park Harness World Championship. As he accepted the final set of roses of the night, it was announced that Frances Pugh was the new owner of JW Special Flaire. It was quite a historic moment. With one first place vote and the appreciation of their loyal fan club, SLB Da Vinci and Bob Hughes were declared the reserve world champions in the intense class for Sheryl Bartolucci.


The afternoon session opened the day's action in show arena 6 with the preeminent senior equitation riders trotting smartly in for the UPHA Challenge Cup Finals to the vocal encouragement of the audience. Twelve of twenty riders were invited back from the previous night’s Phase I competition. After all twelve worked both ways of the ring, three were asked to perform rail work a second time. Ariana Corrigan, Jamie Cruz and Brooke Gove all demonstrated remarkable composure under what had to be great pressure. Once the extra work was completed, the entire group was excused from the ring. The ten finalists were then called to the ring one at a time in back number order to receive their top-ten ribbon and photograph.  

After a brief pause, the reserve champion, Brooke Gove, was called out to receive her tricolor. She rode Hollybrook Romeo with great style and grace for instructors David Cater and Kristen Spann of Cricket Hill. Then with his voice rising, announcer Dick Brown declared “And the 2005 champion is from the West Coast… Ariana Corrigan!” Met by 2003 UPHA Instructor of the Year Anne Speck, Corrigan and her beloved Festival Troubadour presented an ideal overall picture of equitation excellence. All ten finalists then took their final laps to the appreciative cheers and applause of the audience.

                                           Katherine Alderman
The Junior UPHA Challenge Cup riders closed a condensed session in Show Arena 6. The panel of Maria Gilman, Cecile Hetzel-Dunn, and Donna Pettry-Smith adjudicated both UPHA Finals. Six riders performed their rail work with tremendous polish despite their young ages. After lining up, each was called to the winner’s circle for his or her top-ten ribbon and presentation picture. Meghan Bradley riding PKW Autumn Thunder was then called out as the reserve champion. Jean DeGutis is her instructor at Equitation Unlimited. Dick Brown next announced, “Our champion comes from the state that birthed the Morgan Horse….. Katherine Alderman!” David Cater and Kristen Spann of Cricket Hill were obviously thrilled to head back out to the winner’s circle for the second time this afternoon. At a young age, Alderman already demonstrates a mature elegance in her riding that many older riders would love to emulate. As with the seniors, the junior finalists all got the chance to take their final turns around Show Arena 6. With this being the final class of the day for the arena, Alderman took her last lap of the day with Minion Absolut to the strains of “Happy Trails To You.”


The young reining horses took center stage to begin the day as W Nugget's Rebels Are We and Monty Bruce continued a winning show for the entries of Thomas Filipek and Lou Ellen Williams in the three-year-old snaffle/hackamore. River Riders Rainshine and Richard Bowden slid into second for Jon and Sherry Rivers. Chris and Janet Morris' Paradise Morgans breeding program sent Spring Diva to the winner's circle with Doug Sande in the saddle in the four-year-old snaffle/hackamore. Moving up to the five-year-old snaffle/hackamore Hartquest Rachel and Mark Wilcher scored the win for Leroy Stockton.

The non-pro riders took over the ring with a whopping field of 13 taking part in the competition world championship. River Rider's Romeo and Jon Rivers made their fan club proud as they carried the title back to Texas for the third year following Romeo's 1998 and 1999 victories. Atakapa Waushau and Damon Odoms spun away with the reserve world championship directed by Mark Wilcher.

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