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An Historic Finish To A Tricolor Saturday At The Morgan Grand National


Anticipation mounted as the final weekend of the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show opened. After a long week of showing and some highly charged performances, the momentum was building toward the crowning of some of the major world champions of 2004 during Saturday's program. Breeding programs are the future of any breed, and futurity programs are one of the best things a breed can do to reward its breeders for their countless hours of work, effort, and energy that go into securing our next generations of horses.

Saturday morning's session was reserved for the World Futurity In Hand classes. The Yearling Geldings started things off with a fine field of eight. Following the recent announcement of Richard Boule heading back to his New England roots at the newly established Taylor River Farm, the new group was off to a winning start in Oklahoma. Boule selected Graywood's Lear from the first foal crop of SpiceOLife Right Answer for the Gove family of Taylor River Farm and the combination made an immediate impact earning the World Champion Futurity Yearling Geldings.

 Peeper Ranch earned their second tricolor of the week with Miramax (Salem Command x Only Forever) with Phil Fountain on the lead of the polished youngster. The Yearling Fillies Futurity Class featured a tricolor sweep for entries under the direction of Mark and Melissa Wahl. Amidst an impressive field of 15, Cabot First Confession (Liberation First Star x KJM French Confession) struck the winning pose to conclude a sensational season for Jim and Carole Bradford. The Salem Farm breeding program was back in the spotlight as the Wahls guided Annika (AFF Leroy Brown x AFF Little Liza Jane) to the reserve streamers.

A fabulous field of 14 showcased many prominent breeding programs and bloodlines in the Futurity Yearling Colts. It was SYP High Definition (HVK Vibrance x Kim's Bellegante) who made headlines in his show ring debut as Kim Caisse was on the lead of the dynamic colt to earn the unanimous world title for proud breeders Phil and Gloria Blevins. Jan Van Dusen made the trip from Astoria, Oregon to Northampton and to Oklahoma City to cheer on her Ultra's Special Trademark (Ultra's Special Agent x Ultra's Independence) to tricolors. Mark and Melissa Wahl continued their successful morning presenting the toppy bay to the reserve title.

 Between the yearling and two-year-old World Futurity In Hand classes, the young riders had their chance to impress the audience. Cheyenne Rumens was focused on having a memorable debut aboard Baccarat's Noble Cause. Her focus on the sporty white trimmed gelding was rewarded with a great ride and her very first Grand National Championship. The victory in the Walk-Trot 10-11 English Pleasure Finals was just the beginning of an exciting day for everyone at Fire Run Farm. It was a tricolor sweep for the top riding young ladies from Washington State as Anna McLallin continued a fabulous week in all three seats plus driving as she matched up for the reserve tricolor aboard Marathon's Electrafire.

The Two-Year-Old Gelding World Futurity featured a tricolor repeat from the Grand National Two-Year-Old Geldings six days earlier. Ann Hailey's Copper Beech breeding program continued an outstanding week as CBMF Mozambique (Stonecroft Byzantine x Treble's Wild Memories) collected his second set of roses with Rodney Hicks on the lead. They were again followed by the sporty AMHF June's Star (RFF Stars N Stripes x Trust In June) with Bob Kellert presenting for Margaret Thompson.

Mark and Melissa Wahl capped a phenomenal morning by earning the second World Futurity title in as many years on the lead of WWW Virtual Reality (WWW Reality Check Dot Com x Tribecca). The refined filly bred by Mike Super and owned by Dale Nielson posed as the World Champion Futurity Two-Year-Old In Hand Mare. Jim Lowry added to a tricolor week for Priscilla Marconi as the sleek Halle Berry (Stonecroft Byzantine x THB Heavens French Starlet) was named the reserve champion.

The two-time Junior World Champion Stallion, TRE Master of Disguise (Stonecroft Masquerade x WTS Wing and A Prayer) returned for another impressive showing to win the Futurity Two-Year-Old Stallion honors. Bob Kellert presented the handsome youngster to another unanimous tie for Debra Hurst Walters. Boxford's Bravura (HVK Man About Town x Futurity's Valiant Belle) secured a reserve world championship in his first trip to Oklahoma as Stacy Hennessy guided Ted and Elaine Olson's promising colt to the honors.

 From Southern States to Northampton to Jubilee, the young stallion named Evolution has evolved into one of the most talked about young performers of the season. The Saturday afternoon session opened with this colt taking his rightful place amongst the world champions of the breed as he scored the unanimous Three-Year-Old Park Harness World Championship with Jim Lowry on the lines for proud owner Donna Zimmerman. The ultra-expressive Patchwork Simply Amazin trotted away with the reserve world title guided by Jim Taylor for Janet and Eugene Siddle.

A highly competitive group of 17 tricolor teams from coast to coast went head to head in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Western Pleasure World Championship. Sandlyn's Connemara and Erika Mitchell displayed the winning style with the flaxen trimmed mare and red-clad rider truly standing out from the crowd. The jogged away with the tricolor and roses to the delight of owner Alice Nazzaro and trainers Roger Brown and Vicki Wirth. From the opposite end of the country came the reserve tricolor pairing of Winsation's Bojangles and Whitney Hazen as this smooth performing bay captured an Oklahoma tricolor for his third rider of the week.

Frances Pugh and her standout star Tara’s War Eagle made it two for two by winning the Ladies Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship for the second year in a row in unanimous fashion. Ken and Diana Swanson direct this incredible Tara Farm property. Reserve in this all-star group of 12 were the elegant duo of Intrepid Immortal Beloved and Cindy Sheldon completing another great season under the Cedar Creek Farm banner.

With 25 horses competing for the Ladies Amateur Western Pleasure title, showmanship and steadiness were the key to victory. Ling Fu Wylie used her wealth of show ring experience to her favor in presenting Troika's Black Russian to the victory directed by Larry Bolen. Wylie's black and red outfit perfectly matched with the geldings shimmering black coat and world championship red roses as they jogged out of the ring for Dragonsmeade Farm. Ellen DiBella enjoyed quite an exciting return to the Oklahoma show ring as she guided her Futurity's Ultimate Twist to the reserve world championship honors. The outstanding top ten field included such top champions as MCA Seawind Serenade, He's Simply Marvelous, Bear Brook Supreme Bar, CRS Executive, Evil Knievel, Beamwood Belagio Red, Morningdance, and KSB Elizabeth.

Luman Wadhams earned his second unanimous tie in the Three-Year-Old English Pleasure World Championship in as many years. This time it was the big gun of Gotti who earned his second set of roses on the week for owner Deedee Ludlam with a brilliant performance. Jim Lowry continued a fabulous show with his string of youngsters as the expressive IGF What's The Question had all the answers as the reserve world champion for Vickie Roberts Rohrer.

The boys were back at it in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship. This time the tricolor sweep for the male gender came from a pair of 13 and under drivers who have learned their lessons well from their trainer/parents. Tyler Hufferd earned his second world championship of the week, this time his dad John Hufferd directed him to the victory on the lines of Linda Church's super solid Merriehill Stonewall Will. J. T. Brannon and HVK Top Drawer were hot on their heels in reserve as the placings were reversed from the earlier qualifier.

Robyn Davies had her second thrill in as many days. With all of the glitter gone from her performance the night before, Davies was down to serious business as she rode DVF Lonesome Dove to the 9 and Under Walk-Trot English Pleasure Championship for Kathy Padgham. Devin Russo and Alexander The Prince earned another trip to the presentation area as they were named the reserve champions to the cheers of their Waterford Farm fan club.

The Junior Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship showcased the good looks and show ring presence of Con-Sider Me Special. The well-named gelding and owner/breeder Connie Votava matched up for the world championship honors prepared by Michael Slomkowski. Kathy Mullaney and KB Infinity And Beyond had a week beyond their wildest imagination as the scored a unanimous Grand National victory and came back to score the reserve world championship guided by Jim and Michelle McCleester.

A ring full of junior exhibitor 13 and under riders were on hand to compete in the Hunter Pleasure division for world championship honors. Whether it's equitation or pleasure, Merriehill The Lion King and Alyssa Rumsey are a force to be reckoned with. The bigger the prize, the more focused they become as they showed in earning their second world championship in as many days to the delight of their Crystal Farms fan club. Speaking of young ladies who do not shy from tough battles, Alex Mooney rode with determination and the will to succeed in the field of 18 and brought home a reserve world championship as well as the support of her many friends and supporters. Her elated parents Mike and Sara Mooney greeted Alex and Chintimini Cabaret in the winner's circle. Great champions from coast to coast filled the top ten lineup of Penncrest Philosopher King, Talk Of The Town LPS, Cosmic Girl, JJF Fear For Your Life, Hypnotic, Raintree Valjean, Light Year and Pondview Lady Hawk.

The final class of the afternoon session was Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving 14-17 World Championship. Following a pair of Amateur Pleasure Driving World Championships with his mom, Zachary Howa took over the reins of Aristocraticallee this season and the results were spectacular. They concluded an undefeated season with an across the cards victory for world championship honors directed by Arcuri Stables. It was another tricolor sweep for the young men as Ben Warner followed his dad John's instructions well to collect the reserve world championship on the lines of the fancy Burkland Rafinesque for proud owners Chris and Janet Morris.

Arguably one of the best nights of competition at the Grand National each year, perhaps even better than the final Sunday night, is Saturday night's competition. The Amateur Park Saddle World Championship starts things off with a bang and it doesn't slow up until the Park Harness World Championship exits the ring, and perhaps not even then since parties abound in the tack rooms and aisleways of several stables. With everyone dressed in their finest and spotlights for those incredible victory passes, the evening was a very special event.

 The Amateur Park Saddle World Championship had been a highly anticipated event. A ring full of talented entries, with nearly all having previously earned world or reserve world titles, started off what promised to be a night to remember. It certainly was a night that Annie Morgan won't soon forget as she and Hylee's Dann Right successfully defended their Amateur Park Saddle World Championship of a year ago. The tall chestnut gelding and his petite blonde rider were again the talk of the town as Erin and Kathy Boggs directed them to the spotlight ride to the cheers of the Morgan family and their many fans. Richard Boule directed the reserve world titled team for the second year in a row, but this time it was the impressive new team of HVK Man Of Distinction and Kristin Curreri in their first show together. Even a pair of hurricanes couldn't keep this determined new team from being ready to shine in Oklahoma as the Amateur Park Saddle Reserve World Champions. The top ten field included the national and international championship teams of About Last Night and Jan Evans, PWF Good Will Hunting and Amy Gatewood, Charlestown Super Sonic and Georgia Bulmer, CPM Sabrina and Clare Simpson, Mantic Diva and Dawn Fire, Fox Glen Hail To Divinity, WCM Moreland Morgan and Rhonda Hooper, and CBMF Undeniable and Kathy Gutting.

The Grand National Heritage Salute to America is a great chance for the carriage driving enthusiasts to present their lovely horses and carriages to the entire Morgan Grand National audience. Both tricolor teams had adorable black dogs on board adding one more attention-capturing accessory to this appointments class. Cece Green and her grand stallion Greentree Brigadier strode from the ring with the tricolor honors with Royal Heart and Mary Jo Stockman following with a crowd-pleasing reserve.

The Ladies English Pleasure World Championship is always one of the prettiest classes to view. Eleven elegant combinations answered the call of the class with mare and gelding qualifier winners from earlier in the week battling it out for tricolor honors. For the fifth year in a row, the show ring dynamo named Silversides Toy Soldier saw his name in lights in Oklahoma. Owner Mary Fisher Davila enjoyed the spotlight ride aboard her crowd-pleasing gelding under the direction of Krista Dent as they added the ladies world title to Toy Soldier's previous titles in the four-year-old, open and amateur divisions. Kiss N Tell and Stacy Hennessy were elegance in motion as they earned the reserve tricolor and roses for their performance for owners Bill and Connie Myers.

The AMHA is proud to have one of the most developed youth programs in the country. The AMHA youth compete in four categories; written exam, speech, horsemanship pattern and judging contest. In the end the top 12 finalists were showcased in the coliseum on Saturday night. Then in reverse order the top six finalists culminating with the announcement of Melissa Bullard as the AMHA Youth of the Year. The winner takes a trip anywhere in the world compliments of the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust Fund. Along with many other generous sponsors, the AMHA Youth Program continues to prosper.

The competition got back underway as 19 entries made for tough competition in the Ladies Hunter Pleasure World Championship. It was a night for the ladies and their mares as 1997 Hunter Pleasure World Champion Carmen Miranda made her way back to the winner's circle to collect the roses and tricolor with Tristanne Weber Childress on the saddle for Michael and Jamie Fiocco. While Lynn Peeples bred the champion, his attention on this night was directed to last year's Open Hunter Pleasure Reserve World Champion RTS Miss Belle Pepper who added another reserve title to résumé on this night with Kathleen Peeples in the irons for Taylor and Robert Severino.

The Amateur Pleasure Driving World Championship was the next center stage attraction of this exciting night of competition. Following back to back world championships in the three-year-old and four-year-old divisions, Pondview Tres Bien and owner Kurt Rumens matched up to conquer the ultimate prize as they drove away with the tricolor and roses. After a joyful stand in the buggy on the way to the winner's circle, Rumens was joined in the spotlight victory pass by daughter Cheyenne who earlier in the day won her first Oklahoma tricolor as well. This victory capped a great day for Fire Run Farm under the direction of Bill Grundmeyer. This class also rounded a breakthrough show for Can't You See MEM. Owner Phyllis Frechette matched up with her fancy bay to add the Amateur Pleasure Driving World Championship to a fantastic week under the direction of Melissa Morrell.

 Following the qualifier round, the Open English Pleasure World Championship seemed like a wide-open affair. Things quickly changed on Saturday night in the world championship competition as a 13 horses featured the winners of two of three open qualifiers along with horses coming from the amateur, junior exhibitor, and ladies divisions. However, it was the return of CCR's Outrajus Corajus to the open division that was front page news. CCR's Outrajus Corajus began the week with a unanimous victory in the amateur stallions following a natural three-way tie in the original cards with owner Karie Miller. Miller turned over the reins the majestic bay to trainer Stacy Hennessy as they reprised their 2002 title with another unanimous victory as the Open English Pleasure World Champion. Following world titles as a two, three and four-year-old, Futurity's Miss Munitions and Stan Bodnar packed their ammunition to collect the reserve tricolor honors for the Dodson family's Lake Holiday Farms.

With 15 competitors in the Ladies Western Pleasure World Championship, the competition was stiff. In a division where manners and elegance are paramount, Gulfwind Wild Solitaire fits the specifications to a tee. The beautiful chestnut made a spectacular silhouette with Margaret McKnight Karrh as they rode away with the tricolor and roses under the spotlight for Gulfwind Morgans. Pondview Picante closed out a great season as the reserve world champion with Judy Nason guiding Jill and Steven Tassinari's handsome Futurity French Command son.

The traditional closing event of the Saturday night session at Oklahoma is the Park Harness World Championship. The theme of the week in the open division would be surprise entries coming back from other divisions to challenge the open qualifier winners. In this case both open qualifier winners were back and ready for Saturday night. The defending world champion and Tuesday night's stallion qualifier winner Wil-O-Way Moment In Time and David Earehart were ready to defend their title. Following a tricolor season, the mare/gelding winner SpringMill Sequel with Kurt Hufferd were prepared for the challenge. Also coming from the open division, Minion Millenium and Brian Stewart returned for new owner Margaret Van Meter. However, there were a pair of young stallions who were ready to come to the big dance and challenge their elders. With two world titles in as many years and an undefeated show ring career to this point, Stand And Deliver bypassed the four-year-old world championship in favor of going for the big one on Saturday night with Mike Goebig. In just his first season in the show ring, Pine Creek's Noble Vision started off the week with qualifier wins in the three-year-old division both in hand and in harness directed by Steven DeBolt. The lineup was set for the evening's grand finale.

 The judges called the class quickly, and after some time in the lineup judges Parker, Sessink and Wilson selected just two horses to go back to the rail. It was the youngsters who would get their chance to work for the honor of being named the world champion. When the final tabulations were made, it was a victory for the record books as Pine Creek's Noble Vision became the youngest horse ever to be named Open Park Harness World Champion. The tricolor and blanket of roses went back to the Kohler Stables banner, but this time it was Steven DeBolt who had the thrill of earning top honors for delighted owners and breeders Michael and Mary Penn. Stand And Deliver and Mike Goebig accepted the reserve world champion awards and the cheers of their many fans performing for owner/breeder Tara Lindeen. The cheering had only just begun. When defending champion Wil-O-Way Moment In Time was announced for third place, the coliseum erupted for the defending champion with David Earehart responding to the cheers by driving out of the ring in Ben Hur fashion! SpringMill Sequel and Kurt Hufferd ended their season with another flawless performance for owner/breeders John and Patti Huse. Margaret Van Meter was proud of her new purchase Minion Millienium as he rounded out the field in this most memorable event.

Show Arena 6 The highly coveted Senior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals highlighted the competition on Saturday in the show arena. After securing her place in Morgan history by topping Thursday night's AMHA Saddle Seat Medal, Sarah Taylor earned her second finals victory by teaming Wind Blu Roadmaster to the Senior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals Championship. The team of Kathy and Erin Boggs and Reese Richey once again greeted the champion. Ariana Corrigan stepped up to the senior division with style and confidence as she and her partner Festival Troubadour followed in the parade of top riders as the reserve champion under the direction of Anne Speck. The traditional finale in the UPHA Challenge Cup is all top ten riders parading around the ring. The champion and reserve were followed in the parade by top ten finishers Kara Brooke Horse, Holly Carlton, Brooke Gove, Jamie Kalalas, Catherine Hendrickson, Morgan Glenn, Lindsay Wood and Katie Goodpaster.

Carriage driving competition resumed for the single hitched carriages in the Carriage Pleasure Driving World Championship with the 18 beautiful horses and carriages that have filled this division all week. Cece Green and Greentree Brigadier enjoyed a rose adorned victory pass as they brought the world title back to Colorado. They were followed by Juneacres Tandy and Anita Meinert as they closed out a winning week as the reserve world champions.

The Junior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals were held next. Nine riders returned for Phase II of the class. Additional railwork ensued and in combination with the railwork and workout scores from Friday evening, the winners were determined. Sarah Shimmer continued a sensational week with Minion Absolut as she carried the Junior UPHA Challenge Cup back to Crystal Farms. She was followed in the parade of champions by the up and coming Taylor Sams mounted on Shermandell Asgard under the direction of Anne Speck. The lineup of talented top ten finishers also featured in numerical order; Kelsey Bornt, Rachel Keidan, Caroline Gaker, Maxine Kenny, Emily Buchanan, Brooke Yule and Katie Coney.

Show Arena 9 Two days of intense dressage competition began on Saturday in earnest. Greentree Courtney and Patti Thurman earned the top score in the Third Level Test One to begin a winning show for Wendy Gray Bizzaro. They were followed by Bethesda Carbon Copy and Connie White performing for Betty and Gordon Weyrauch. Kate Podell added her third AMHA Gold Medal to her résumé as she presented Wintergreen Sultana to the AMHA Dressage Gold Medal Finals following their wins in the Hunt Seat On The Flat in 2002 and Hunt Seat Over Fences in 2000, all under the Bittersweet Farm banner. Sarese Reed earned the reserve honors with Cin-O-Rama Savoire Faire in the 12 rider competition.

The top finishers repeated in the First Level Test 1 Junior Exhibitors. The First Level Test One also featured Rough Diamond DragNFly and Alejandro Salazar earning the top score in the open followed by Firecrest Alef Holly Avichouser-Gellner. The versatile team of Nanton's Bossanova and Carrie Klooster earned top honors in the amateur test one while River Song Crescendo and Susan Mihal picked up the reserve.

The Fourth Level Test 1 featured Fortunes Maestro and Emily Knight showing off for the top score with Greentree Ever Reddi and Patti Thurman in second. The test one performances in the second level saw Sancrest Monte Darling and Julie Haugen earn the top score for Deborah Shields followed by Dragonfire Kublakhan and Shannon Ward. Training Level Test 3 Open saw Bonnie Lee Mona Lisa and Marie Milliman earn a score of over 70 for the top prize for Linda Delene while TJR Destiny's Tiara and Julie Haugen finished in reserve.

In the amateur competition of this test and level, EMR Windchester and Katie Klooster captured top honors with Sagamore Domino and Michaelana Richardson in second. Cin-O-Rama Savoire Faire and Sarese Reed stepped up to the top spot here in the junior rider competition with Taproot Old Glory and Alyssa Fletcher next in line for ribbons.

 First Level Test 3 saw Rough Diamond DragNFly and Alejandro Salazar earn the open honors with Wintergreen Don Diego and Susan Garmier in second. The amateur competition featured Cosmos Cinder Fella and Cynthia Larry earning top honors with Nanton's Bossanova and Carrie Klooster in second, while Ken Mar Mattheu and Jamie Smith Beauford were the lone entry in the junior rider class. Fortunes Maestro and Emily Knight earned their second top score of the day as they won the Fourth Level Test followed by Fortunes Nightingale and Julie Haugen.

The entertaining Musical Freestyle Finals saw Rough Diamond DragNFly and Alejandro Salazar earn their third top prize of the day for Rough Diamond Ranch. WTR Chocolate Bar and Patti Thurman earned the second highest score in the eight horse competition. Rogue Hill's Galaxy and Barbara Richardson-Lewis showed some of their high level moves as they exhibited for the honors in the Prix St. Georges Final.

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