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A Star Spangled Show On Top Of The Rockies

by Diana Davidson


DENVER, Colo. - The Circle J Regional Morgan Horse Show hosted its 49th annual edition with a star spangled spectacular on July 4-7, 2007, at the National Western Complex. The competition for AMHA Region 9 and Top Of The Rockies Championships featured stables from throughout the region 9 states of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Utah, as well as those from California, Oklahoma, Oregon, New Mexico, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas and Ohio.


In addition to the show ring activities, Circle J featured numerous parties and special events to entertain exhibitors. The activities started off on Tuesday with youth day as the future of the breed enjoyed a horse bowl, pizza party and youth contest under the direction of Kate Edmonds. The Youth Of The Year Contest featured senior division champion Lisa Wermuth, junior division champion Kristen Wade and walk-trot division champion Lauren Wade. That evening Andover Farm hosted another wonderful welcome party courtesy of owners David and Cindy Vogels and manager Patty Miller.


Wednesday, July 4 was a tribute to America’s horse on America’s birthday. After the show’s opening session, a $500 Top Of The Rockies Grooms’ Equitation class sponsored by Judith Caldwell, Ralph Stuart and Rob Wheeler was held with Fidel Diaz topping the fun-filled competition. This was followed by an old fashioned Fourth of July picnic. The good times continued on Thursday with a watermelon feed as well as a birthday celebration for Dick Jeffery.


Friday night's session was dedicated to the Circle J Yearling Futurity Championship. The evening got underway with the ringside Circle J Futurity Reception. This was followed by the main event, the crowning of the 2007 Circle J Yearling Futurity Champions where nearly $50,000 was awarded (see separate article). Friday night ended with plenty of merrymaking at the memorable 2007 edition of the Circle J Progressive Barn Party. This gave exhibitors the chance to visit while sampling the delicacies offered.


A large group turned out for the AMHA/USEF Rules Forum run by Ellen DiBella and the Circle J annual meeting under the direction of John Aranda on Saturday afternoon. Exhibitors once again gathered following Saturday night's championship session as numerous stables toasted their 2007 Circle J Champions.


Circle J President and Show Chairman John Aranda and Show Manager Patty Miller remained at the helm of Circle J as they work tirelessly to promote the show and encourage participation throughout and outside the region. Together with a hard-working group of show committee members, volunteers and officials, they banded together to put on a fine horse show that will hopefully work its way into the show schedule of more barns. Show Secretary Kelly McFaul maintained her position to the delight of exhibitors. The remainder of the show officials included; Peter Fenton (announcer), Doug Shane (music), Betty Weber (steward), Del Slaugh (farrier), Jerry Mavor (ringmaster), Anne Mears (ribbons and trophies), Bill Amen (stabling), Shari Ashley (paddock) and Casey McBride (photographer).


Highlighting this year’s judging panel were Harry Sebring (Park Saddle, Park Harness, English Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Classic Pleasure Driving, Futurity In Hand, Stallions and Mares In Hand, Saddle Seat Equitation, and Roadster); Daryl Hopson (Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Classic Saddle, Hunt and Western Seat Equitation, Carriage, Futurity In Hand, Geldings In Hand, and Hunter/Jumper); and Sammi Hazen (Futurity In Hand).


The show ring highlights of the Circle J Regional Championship competition follow with complete results available by clicking here.


The River’s Edge brought the only two park horses of the week as a pair of young stallions showed off for the appreciative audience. Lookaway’s High Roller carried the Top Of The Rockies Park Saddle Championship back to owner Deborah Phelan for the second year in a row. Elier Najera drew the riding assignment for the grand five-year-old to earn the tricolor as well as the open blue. The smile on Kate Edmonds’s face said it all as she debuted her dynamic Mizrahi son ECP Scandalous to earn the Junior Park Saddle Championship as well as the three-year-old blue.


Lookaway’s High Roller and Elier Najera


The Top Of The Rockies English Pleasure Championship saw Irresistiblee make a tricolor return to the show ring with Ralph Stuart in the irons for Judith Caldwell. They earlier made the victory pass in the mare class. Stacy Hennessy and OH Independence Hall teamed up for the reserve tricolor after matching blue ribbon performances in the stallion/gelding classes under saddle and in harness for Mariann Brown.


OH Independence Hall with Stacy Hennessy

World Champion Kiss N Tell and top-riding Alexandra Wille-Irmiter teamed up for two fabulous rides as they carried the Ladies English Pleasure blue and tricolor back to the Rushton Stables banner for Dick and Nan Cecchettini. Cristina DiGioia and HVK Flash Back enjoyed their season-opening performances in Denver as they carried the reserve honors back to Arcuri Stables.

Alexandra Wille-Irmiter enjoyed two more winning rides at Circle J as she stepped aboard World Champion MEM La Vida Loca for Jim, Kathy and Katie Cook to capture the Amateur English Pleasure Championship as well as the amateur stallion/gelding blue. It was a tricolor sweep for Rushton Stables as Erica Santa matched up with the tall and elegant Boxford Beloved for the reserve tricolor as well as the amateur mares blue.


Alexandra Wille-Irmiter with MEM La Vida Loca


The junior exhibitor division was the largest and most competitive of the English pleasure classes. Plum Haven Minuet and Kristen Wade proved to be small but mighty as they carried home the impressive tricolor victory in the championship after topping the 13 and under class for proud parents Michael and Dawn Wade. The Grand National Championship team of Ready To Rumble and Hailey Jones carried the reserve honors back to trainer Ronda Collins.


The 14-17 qualifier featured the blue ribbon debut of QVM Rocket Man and Natasha Rodley as they matched up beautifully under the direction of Arcuri Stables for Quincy Valley Morgans.


Lauren Wade and AMHF Double Miss C made two fabulous showings to earn matching blue ribbons in the Walk-Trot English Pleasure and Saddle Seat Equitation classes under the direction of The River’s Edge.


The Stove Prairie breeding program introduced some bright new stars at Circle J this year. Gail Bratz and Kathy Shorten were delighted with the Serenity Masterpiece daughter SPR Chanel as she danced away with the Junior English Pleasure Championship following a blue ribbon ride in the three-year-old class. MWR Myskinetics and Mary Cockriel collected the reserve tricolor honors to add to a great show for the Charles Buller family. The limit blue also went back to The River’s Edge banner as Morgan Rhodes matched up with Pegasus Brass Hat for the victory.


This year's Top Of The Rockies Pleasure Driving Championship featured Colorado favorite and World Champion TRE Master Of Disguise earning the honors for the second year in a row with an outstanding performance. Bob Kellert guided the Stonecroft Masquerade son to the tricolor following a blue ribbon drive in the amateur stallion/gelding class with owner Deborah Phelan. World Champion Noteworth’s Nobel Heir also made his presence know as Mary Cockriel drove the brilliant chestnut to the ladies win for The River’s Edge.


Bianca Buller and Dragonsmeade Divine Miss M continued a memorable debut season with two victorious drives in the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship to the delight of proud parents Charles and Martine. KHF Bleeding Heart and Anne Kate McLain teamed up for the reserve tricolor drive coached by Ronda Collins.


Ring Girl and Missy Rushton continued their victory march as the dynamic Tolstoy daughter drove away with the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship after enjoying a blue ribbon ride in the Four-Year-Old English Pleasure to start the week. Kingsgrove Dynasty put on a pair of stylish drives to earn the reserve tricolor following a blue ribbon drive in the four-year-old class as Gerry Rushton guided the Stonecroft Byzantine son for Dolores Nickel.


Rushton Stables brought a trio of young driving horses sired by CCR’s Outrajus Corajus to the winner’s circle at Circle J. Stacy Hennessy introduced Dreammaster J’st Outrajus to the top honors in the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classic with a charismatic performance for Kate Aldinger and Jean Stewart. Glory Days had the winning ticket in the three-year-old class with Stacy Hennessy guiding to the victory.


Stacy Hennessy continued her string of entertaining youngsters as Take Me Higher added the Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Championship as well as the stallion/gelding qualifier win for the Underground Partnership. Steve Smith guided his sporty bay Ultra’s Philosophy Major to the reserve titles.


The Wednesday morning session got the show underway with all of the In Hand divisions taking center stage. The Mares In Hand were first to shine as Bob Kellert started off a winning show for Judith Caldwell’s Rancho Rio Grande with the Grand Champion Mare honors with RRG Ms. Promiscuous. The look-alike daughter of World Champion RRG Promises Promises also posed as the three-year-old winner and senior champion. Dreammaster J’st Outrajus showed off her elegance and style as the Reserve Senior and Reserve Grand Champion Mare with Gerry Rushton and Stacy Hennessy starting off a tricolor show with the entry of Kate Aldinger and Jean Stewart.


Frank and Ann Miller brought a few nice youngsters from California as they kicked things off with the Junior Champion Mare honors with Haute Flash, the winner of the yearling class. Tamera’s Tae Too and Molly Nill posed for the reserve titles for Cheryl Gehrig. Cliff Swanson guided Victory’s Trusty to a pair of blue ribbons in the two-year-old mare classes in hand and in pleasure driving.


The geldings were up next with Bob Kellert again on the lead of the champion as Whispering Masqued Man earned the honors for Deborah Phelan following the five and over blue. Ronda Collins had C’est La Vie looking sporty for the reserve honors for Adam Lewis. Stephen Smith added a pair of blue ribbons with Ultra’s Special Tribute in the three and four-year-old class for Chris Bauer and his own Philosophy Major in the two and under.


The stallions closed out the session in grand fashion with a clean sweep of the tricolors for The River’s Edge. Basic Black made his eagerly awaited show ring debut as Bob Kellert presented Deborah Phelan’s exotic black son of HVK Bell Flaire and JL’s Deer Sal to the Five and Over, Senior and Grand Champion Stallion honors. Grand National Champion RWF Noble Peace repeated his titles of a year ago as Junior Champion Stallion and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion and also added the two-year-old blue to begin a winning show for Charles and Martine Buller’s Fortress Crest Morgans directed by The River’s Edge. Cliff Swanson introduced another product of the Victory Morgans breeding program as Victory’s The Cat’s Meow posed for the yearling blue as well as the Reserve Junior Champion Stallion award.


Monty Kugeler enjoyed a sensational show in her hometown when she earned a total of four Circle J championship victories with four different horses. Queen’s American Idol was Kugeler’s winning partner in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship as well as the adult qualifier. Aire’s Bella Sera and Luanna Schauer matched up for the reserve tricolor performing for Walter and Ann Arensmeyer.


Adam Lewis enjoyed a pair of tricolor rides with Futurity’s Flamboyant as they matched up for the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle and Classic Saddle Seat Equitation championships as well as the equitation qualifier blue coached by Ronda Collins. The top winning team of Abracabam and Rachael Colley kicked off the season with a victory pass in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle qualifier and also added the reserve tricolor to the Boston Morgan Farm banner.


Adam Lewis and Futurity’s Flamboyant


Following his winning in hand performances, Whispering Masqued Man returned to the winner’s circle with owner Deborah Phelan on the lines in the Classic Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Charles Thompson and Ryan’s Got The Beat had quite a cheering section as they captured the reserve tricolor as well as the junior exhibitor blue under the direction of Rushton Stables for Brian and Thea Sanderson.


The Top Of The Rockies Western Pleasure Championship closed out the show with Wood Valley Counterpoint and Mary Cockriel earning a trip to the summit for Dick Jeffery after jogging away with the ladies blue. They were followed by two-time champion Maximum Pepper, who was named reserve champion as well as the gentlemen’s winner with Dale Rickford aboard for the Lindeberg family.


The Western Pleasure Stallion/Gelding class featured a big win for RRG Ignite and Terri Rickford performing for Valarie and Dean Francis. Truly Divine and Michael Graham matched up for a jog down victory lane in the mare class for Lauren Sachen.


Be My Dark Knight and Jenna Boyles earned the accolades in the Ladies Western Pleasure Championship as part of a great show for Barbara and Anton Nesse. Grand Cru Wish And Tell and Kimberly Garrett matched up for the reserve ladies tricolor as well as the limit blue for Kathie Horman under the direction of Cliff Swanson. Swanson was aboard Thunder Beam for a trip down victory lane in the first year green class for Bruce and Jean Beckman.


The dapper duo of AMHF Mr. Courageous and Ray Bendele turned in a great ride to collect the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship over a large and competitive field. They were followed by Mai Wisdom and Canabar Kokopelli, who earlier won the amateur masters blue. The amateur qualifier saw Katie O’Meara and Bold Eden earn the blue ribbon coached by Cliff Swanson.


The County Agent and Samantha Winsett jogged away with top honors in the junior exhibitor qualifier and championship as well as the Western Seat Equitation blue and reserve tricolor not to mention the hunter hack win. Jessica Shaffer finished the week as High Point Junior Exhibitor after earning the Western Seat Equitation Championship as well as the Junior Exhibitor Western Pleasure Reserve Championship with Festival Reggae.


Taylor Woods and FMF Wild Heiress enjoyed a clean sweep with a quartet of victory passes in the walk-trot division competing in hunter and western in both pleasure and equitation to the delight of the Collinwood cheering section.


Monty Kugeler and her lovely black mare AMHF Missiplicity matched up for a pair of winning rides as they carried the Junior Western Pleasure Championship and the four-year-old blue back to The River’s Edge. RRG C-Quinn and Terri Rickford added the reserve tricolor to the Rickford Stables banner for Rick and Jan Lindeberg. Be My Rocky Mount and Dale Rickford followed in third after a blue ribbon ride in the three-year-old class for Barbara and Anton Nesse.


Monty Kugeler and her world champion partner Light Year rode away with the Top Of The Rockies Hunter Pleasure Championship to add a great show under the direction of The River’s Edge. The stallion/gelding qualifier winner Ultra’s Active Ingredient and Mallory Mignot earned the reserve tricolor honors for Anne Mears. Kugeler and Mignot also dueled for tricolors in the ladies division with Kugeler again earning the top honors. This time she rode Twin Peak Heritage to the tricolor victory as well as the amateur 29 and over blue for Wesley and Shannon Fox. Mignot and LR Ami Sultan followed as reserve champions after winning the large and competitive ladies qualifier as well as the road hack for Anne Mears.


Monty Kugeler with Light Year


GMH Flash It My Way and Caprice Zoumaras topped the Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship after besting the first year green class for Ted and Eutha Giesick under the Miller Training banner. Barbara Nesse and her versatile Be My Magic Moment added the reserve amateur championship to a trio of carriage driving blues as well as the High Point Carriage honors coached by Chris Rickford.


JJF Fear For Your Life and Katherine O’Meara matched up for the amateur 18-29 win for Anne Smith. Temerity Tribute B and Dottie Regas were the happy winners of the Amateur Masters Hunter Pleasure.


Whispering Fancy That and Emily Rosini triumphed in the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Championship over a competitive field of entries as they did in the qualifier. Iron Forge Bonnie Blue and Briana Schauer followed in the reserve tricolor slot and came back to earn the tricolor in the Hunt Seat Equitation Championship after a blue ribbon ride in the AMHA Hunt Seat Medal. This time, Emily Rosini followed as the Hunt Seat Equitation Reserve Champion after claiming the blue ribbon in the 14-17 coached by Carolyn Dillon.


Emily Rosini and Whispering Fancy That


Moondrift Triumph and Jean Marie Bousquet had the winning number for matching blues in the hunter pleasure and equitation 13 and under for Heidi Brunette.


Merv Jacobson was on hand to cheer on the first Morgan produced through sex selection by his XY Inc. SPR X-Rated was rated first place by Judge Hopson as Kathy Shorten guided the elegant mare to the Junior Hunter Pleasure Championship as well as the three-year-old blue. LR Ami Hallelujah and Mallory Mignot added another reserve tricolor as well as the four-year-old blue to the Mears Morgans banner.


Alison Bendele satisfied her need for speed with her victorious performances with her blazing chestnut mare MEM No Inhabitions. They earned the Roadster To Bike Championship following a pair of blue ribbons in the amateur bike and saddle classes, while Bob Kellert got a chance in the open bike class.


Emily Orthwein added the Saddle Seat Equitation blue to the Collinwood banner with a determined ride aboard Cedar Creek Ungaro. Bryan Wisdom enjoyed a trip to the winner’s circle as Dale Rickford guided the winning cowboy in the AMHA Western Seat Medal.


Friday afternoon’s hunter and jumper competition also featured winning performances by Elfondo’s Raven and Cambridge Governor Hunt with Kelly McCracken as well as LR Amie Savoir Faire with Mallory Mignot.



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