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Thursday - Morgan Grand National Performance World Championships Begin



Thursday Morning

The morning session started off with 11 enthusiastic young riders striving for the tricolor in the Grand National Walk-Trot Western Pleasure Nine and Under Finals. The gifted team of Fair Haven Federal Xpress and Sara Heidenreich repeated a winning performance from earlier in the week directed by Crystal Farms. Morgan Valley Apollo and Jenny Miller’s quiet confidence earned them the judges’ approval for reserve.

The youngest of the hunter horses made their way into the ring next for the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Mares. EKL Command The View‘s first trip to the Grand National was a memorable one as Kathleen Peeples guided the smooth striding chestnut to the winner’s circle for Eli Lapp Jr. MEM Scan-Dal-Less and Keely Sogoloff turned in a polished performance to secure the reserve for George Schott of Maine Event Morgans.

The 16 entries in the next class, the World Champion Western Pleasure Four-Year-Old were evaluated on their conformation following their polished performances on the rail. Metolius and Garn Walker made it look effortless and they were rewarded for their exquisite performance with the world championship tricolor and cooler with Melissa Walker cheering them on. Like Walker, Jordy Johns has had a wonderful week in the western division at Grand National and he headed down victory lane aboard reserve world champion BPM Estralita De Oro for Allen and Kristen Breyer.

Thirteen hunters were next on the agenda, vying for the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Three-Year-Old Stallion and Gelding title. A shoe was thrown, hence making this quite a lengthy class, but following the careful inspection by the judges, Mary Carlton and Century Oak Gallivant trotted to the presentation area, representing proud owners Robert and Muriel Herrick. Earning reserve honors, SPR Patriot and Kathy Shorten had a clean go and carried the red streamers home to Gail Bratz of Stove Prairie Ranch.

An impressive group of the top cowboys of the industry were back in the coliseum next, presenting their seasoned western mounts in the Grand National Western Pleasure Gentlemen’s Finals. The audience has really gotten to know the face of Garn Walker this week. He teamed the congenial DLH Dakota Blues to another Grand National victory in this class for Julie Chan. The stylish and lovely Tracemark Tapestry and Andy Marlett traced a perfect path toward the reserve position in the 17-entry class for Kristie Strom.

The final class of the relatively brief morning session was for the 10 and 11-year-old walk-trot riders and their western pleasure mounts. The 12 entry class produced repeat tricolor winners from the previous day's equitation class. TCS Supreme Aire and Shelby Clark had a superb performance and they were very proud to make the victory pass for owner Brittany Clark. Kane Creek Kryptonite carried very happy rider Amber Bornt to the reserve finish under the direction of Keith Friday.

Mark Farrar invited the World Champion Futurity Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving horses to kick off the Thursday afternoon session. After working the most impressive field of 14 entries both ways of the ring, the panel asked four horses to take the rail one last time for a final evaluation in the first performance workout of the show.

                                                          SLB Andiamo

On the road to a bright future, the dynamic
SLB Andiamo (Simply Maserati x HVK Obsidian) and Bob Hughes had a beautiful drive and landed the unanimous World Champion victory for breeder/owner Sheryl Bartolucci. Following a speedy buggy change due to a flat tire prior to the workout, TRE Master of Disguise (Stonecroft Masquerade x WTS Wing and A Prayer) and Bob Kellert stood out among the tough group for reserve honors for owner Debra Hurst Walters. MEM The Patriot stood out for his quality and style to accept the yellow ribbon with Kurt Hufferd presenting for SpringMill Morgans. Only lightly shown, CBMF Audacious held his own with the more seasoned competitors to carry the white ribbon back to Copper Beech LLC with Tim Roesink directing.

Thursday Afternoon


The pleasure driving futurity class was a perfect way to warm up the crowd for an afternoon that included several world championship classes, including the World Champion Classic Pleasure Saddle Junior Exhibitor 14-17. Jessie Fejes had a delightful ride aboard Sunny Acres Candoo and Dwayne Knowles greeted them in the winner’s circle where they were presented with a beautiful set of roses and the tricolor. The smooth and steady-going chestnut Prior Knowledge, with Cressi Bryant up, also made a victory pass as the reserve world champions to the delight of the Oklahoma based team.

The Grand National Park Harness Youth Finals followed with four bold entries performing in front of judges Phil Price, Lonnie Lavery and Lewis Eckard. A very charismatic entry, Will-O-Way In Due Time, with Bryan Earehart on the lines, earned the opportunity to take the Grand National victory pass for Stephen Smith. Lauren Cojocar enjoyed making her trip to the victory circle - an area she’s very familiar with - to accept the reserve streamers with King Lehr’s Bob A Loo for team Waterford.


                                                       Outrageous Courageous

The World Champion English Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 13 & Under class was next on the lineup and 11 of the Morgan industry’s best young equestrians put forth their best efforts in hopes of returning to their respective homes with the top prize. Outrageous Courageous, a name synonymous with blue ribbons, put on a stellar show with Stacia Klein in the irons for the world championship victory pass. Tim Arcuri smiled all the way to the presentation area where he greeted the winners. Med-E-Oka Nobel Prize and Sarah Shimmer impressed the panel with their skillful ride and were rewarded with the reserve ribbon for Tara Farm and Holly Johnson.


                                                            Intrepid Dynasty

The World Champion Park Harness Four-Year-Old class featured a second world title in as many years for the charismatic Intrepid Dynasty. The Donna Woolley and Debra Woolley Lee owned stallion was in high gear to take the rose adorned victory pass with Craig Clapp on the lines. The handsome Starboard's Blitz Krieg mounted up high in the bridle for a strong performance to garner the reserve world championship title with Rick Stevens directing for EL Waterman Inc in the field of six.

                                                       Hylee's Dann Osgood
Entries in the next class kept the crowd revved up as 14 talented 14-17 riders showed off their English pleasure horses for world championship honors. Hylee’s Dann Osgood had all the right ingredients for the across-the-boards victory with Kristi Evans in the irons. Melissa Morrell was the first to congratulate the newly crowned champions. Gable’s Top Quark and Lauren Cook had the stamina it took to succeed in the deep class and they exited the ring as the reserve world champions to end a successful first season under the Triumph Stables banner.   

                                                            HVK Winter Rose

Another group of young exhibitors assembled next for the Grand National Pleasure Driving Youth Finals. After years of hard work and great memories, Jennifer Hazen closed out her youth eligibility with a dream come true victory. Paired for the first time with her charismatic new partner HVK Winter Rose, they claimed the tricolor and cooler directed by Tim Roesink and cheered on by their many fans. Chris Rushton drove KHF Bleeding Heart like a pro and the judges had them in the reserve position after tabulations were complete.

The World Champion English Pleasure Four-Year-Old class looked to be a promising class after two highly competitive qualifiers earlier in the week. Ashley Wilson’s face was priceless as she guided the sharp Blade to the winner's circle over the field of 14. Stacy Hennessy and GLB Perfect Harmony have garnered first place ribbons in this division all season prior to Oklahoma and they finished with the reserve streamers hanging from the bridle for Silver Creek Stables.

Representing the South, Barb Goda was more than happy to greet Grand National Pleasure Driving Amateur Gentlemen’s Finals winners On Target and P.D. May in the presentation area after they put in a terrific performance to top the class for Sara Dye. Fury’s Fortune and Bob Neimeth had to feel fortunate for the great drive they had for reserve for Misty Meadows.

Adding to their qualifying victory in the 16-17 division, On Eagles Wings and Gillian Nelson topped the World Champion Park Saddle Junior Exhibitor class to the delight of trainers Damian and Melinda Hyde. The eight entry gathering also featured a strong ride for NAS Simpatico and Nicole Neville to put the pressure on for the reserve world championship directed by Luman Wadhams.

The final class of the session was the World Champion Western Pleasure Three-Year-Old. Treble’s Mucho Uno and Daryl Hopson earned the “numero uno” position for Treble’s Morgan Manor to a polished performance to dominate the 16 entry field. It was a tricolor sweep for the Pacific Northwest as Scandias Mademoiselle and Erin Silver graciously accepted the reserve award. 

Thursday Evening


The course was set in the Coliseum Thursday evening for ten beautiful carriages and their drivers to put their horses to the test in the Single Obstacle Driving World Championship. Each driver had the cones set to be 25 centimeters wider than their individual carriages that ranged from 150 cm to the widest vehicle at 177 cm.

There are more Morgan excelling in carriage driving events than all other breeds combined and it was easy to see why with the outstanding world championship competition. Lance Wetmore and Wintergreen Sultana won the event with an original time of 206.65 plus 15 penalty seconds (5 for each tennis ball that is knocked off a cone) for a total time of 221.65. Kate Podell and Jill Countryman own this talented entry who competed with a beautiful carriage that was 170 cm wide. Reserve in the class went to Samac’s Black Tie Affair and Cathy Grimes performing for Alton Page who had an original time of 228.31 and a final time of 238.31.

                                         Denbury Irish Justice and Denbury Regal Justice 

The two multiple entries in the Carriage Driving Multiple World Championship each had two horses. The first entry was the narrowest carriage in the competition at 150 cm. Gene Brown put Denbury Regal Justice and Denbury Irish Justice through the course to earn the world championship for backseat driver James Brown with an original time of 227.13 and a total time of 247.13. Vic Vickroy drove the tandem of Stormy Tasha and Canabar Kokopelli for Mai Wisdom to earn the reserve finish with a total time of 422.06.

                                               Taylor and Jennifer McFall

Next up on the agenda was the leadline competition. Twenty-one precious young riders started off their Grand National show career in grand style. Each of these young riders earned participation ribbons for their efforts and there was lots of effort. Virtually every discipline was represented in the leadline entries. From saddle seat to hunter to roadster to western, it was easy to see the future of the breed will be bright and varied.

The spotlight next turned to eight beautiful Ladies Pleasure Driving entries for their world championship competition. It was an excellent class that kept the crowd involved throughout the class. Pass after exciting pass, the decision became more and more clear as Festival Calypso and Stephanie Connor claimed their third world championship together. This team is trained by Arcuri Stables and they repeated the honors from 2000 and 2003 to earn a unanimous decision in 2005. Also putting on a stellar performance was GLB Bell of the Ball and Stacy Hennessy who put on a terrific show to earn reserve for Lorraine Bumb and Silver Creek Stables.

Seeing only two entries in the Futurity Park Saddle Three-Year-Old World Championship was disappointing, but the two entries made it worth the watch. Debi Jeppesen directed Morgan Ridge Bellaragazza to a unanimous decision in her saddle debut for owners James Hangley and Tracy Fietz. Bellaragazza is by HVK Bell Flaire and out of JL's Deer Sal. Tom Johnson and DBL F Commanding Officer earned reserve honors for proud owner/breeders Felicia and Frank Schlemmer.

                                                Festival Rock N Roll

The Parade Horse Finals featured the third unanimous decision of the judges in a row with perennial parade favorite Art Perry directing Festival Rock N Roll to the winner’s circle. Festival Rock N Roll is owned by George and Joan Arnold’s Festival Morgans and is a repeat winner from 2004. In fact, Art Perry has won the Parade class for six of the last seven years; the one year he missed, he was not able to show due to illness. The popular entry waved to the crowd as he made his victory pass, and as is his tradition, turned at the gate to wave once more and back out of the ring. K-Lyn Stable prepared the other four entries in the class which was much appreciated by the crowd with Sandra Saran along with daughter Deborah Davies and granddaughters Robyn and Skye Davies making it a family affair. The reserve honors in the class went to LV Dark Crystal and Deborah Davies.

Four entries sped into the ring for the Roadster to Bike Amateur Finals. The crowd was on their feet cheering all the entries when announcer Mark Farrar blew the whistle to line up. Becky Arnold and Arboria Perfection earned the trip to the winner’s circle for Darwin Olson. Dr. William Silber and Primary Investment GP earned the reserve finish and an appreciative roar from the crowd as they accepted their reserve ribbon. The crowd always loves JW Romantic Ways who received a strong ovation with Frank Gibbard on the lines to pick up third place honors after winning the competition in 2004.

The Hunter Pleasure Gentlemen’s Finals featured nine top entries with 2003 winner GPM Genesis B and Garn Walker earning the victory pass. “Gene” as he is more commonly known is one of the favorites of the show ring and certainly the favorite of owner Melissa Walker. He also won this class in 1998 and 1999 under the ownership of Greg and Linda Miller. Will Vidler and Sunny Acres Sneek-A-Peak earned reserve honors in the great class and a rousing round of support from the crowd.


                                                    HVK Ancient Cry

The evening ended with a wonderful finale of beautiful Ladies Park Harness entries and another unanimous decision. 2002 World Champion HVK Ancient Cry and Helen Crawford was a beautiful pair to earn the unanimous support of the judges. They were met by Bob Hughes in the winner’s circle. 2003 World Champion (and Ancient Cry’s twin brother) HVK Constantinoble and Stephanie Connor earned the reserve honors in the competitive class which ended the night in high class fashion.


                                                           Alyssa Rumsey

World champion competition opened the day in Show Arena 6. Nineteen eager junior equitation riders filled the ring contending for their hunter seat on the flat world championship. Alyssa Rumsey continued a successful week in hunter seat equitation with a unanimous decision from judges Stasiak, Hughes and Dunn for her third world junior title in a row. She rides Merriehill The Lion King under the direction of instructor Mary Carlton, who is herself a world title holder in equitation. In reserve was 12 year old class winner Kelsey Robinson riding Melendy Cash Mare. Robinson was also the over fences medal winner earlier in the show.


                                                          Carolyn Spinelli

Judges Gilman, Smith, and Dunn were the panel for Grand National Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation 10-11 Finals. Ten determined young riders trotted briskly into the ring. It may have been a different panel but the result ended up the same – a second unanimous decision of the day. Carolyn Spinelli was named Grand National champion on RRG Reign Man Reserve champion under the direction of Sarah Gove and Richard Boulé of
Taylor River. Reserve champion Elizabeth Wyllie, riding SKB Lylith, took her victory pass to the enthusiastic support of her cheering section. Jean DeGutis is her instructor.

                                                        Caitlin Novotny

Thirty-five riders qualified and returned to compete for the Hunter Seat On The Flat Senior Equitation World Championship. After being divided into two splits, a total of ten riders were invited to ride one more time for the championship. With the total class lasting over an hour without any individual workouts, the wait was certainly worth it for hometown favorite Caitlin Novotny on Lone Star Bill, the earlier winner of one of the 16-17 year old qualifiers. Jonalyn Gwinup greeted this accomplished young rider following her victory. Reserve champion Laura Pecherski, riding Ha-Ho Windstar with quiet assurance, had previously won the other 16-17 qualifier. This gifted team is coached by Katie Mair.

Changing gears back to saddle seat, the next class was the Grand National Saddle Seat Classic Equitation Walk-Trot 10-11 Finals. Amber Brown was judged to be the best in the class of seven resolute young riders. She rides Twin Peak Princess K under the direction of Coby Clark. The reserve champion finish belonged to Lyssa Bomgaars aboard Old Oak Rare Edit. This well matched team is instructed by Mike and Ann Slomkowski of Showcase Stables.

                                                          Ariana Varveris

The Grand National Saddle Seat Equitation Walk-Trot 9 and Under Finals saw five of the littlest riders take to the show ring. Riding True Gold, Ariana Varveris lit up the crowd and the judges, too. Under the direction of Lark Henry, this young lady may have been teeny in stature, but she rode as if she were in the park finals on Saturday night making one bold pass after another. Tall in the saddle on her victory pass was reserve champion Alexandra Frangiosa on Think About It MEM. Her instructor is Jean DeGutis. 


                   Mattie Willard                                Jamie Willard

Eight 9 and under riders closed out the morning session with the Grand National Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Classic Equitation Finals. They confidently rode to the wholehearted encouragement of the crowd. Back number 1 was picked by the panel to be number one. No one was more thrilled than Mattie Willard’s mom Jamie who couldn’t hold back her tears of joy at the gate. Willard was riding Roadshow Texas Playboy. Continuing another family tradition of winning, Talia Stewart earned the reserve tricolor aboard Bri-B Guinevere to the delight of Lookaway Farm.

The World Champion Trail competition featured some masterful maneuvering of the 12 entries. It was Jen-Don Star Attraction and Susan Motter who earned the world championship distinction for their performance. Wintergreen Marquis and owner Lisa Reif enjoyed more Oklahoma success as they carried the reserve world championship honors back to the Baccarat Farms banner.

The Carriage Driving Pick Your Own Route obstacles competition was next to test the agility and talent of the athletic entries. The singles division featured an impressive victory for HVK Hard Rock with Tristanne Weber Childress piloting for Marilyn North. Wintergreen Sultana and Lance Wetmore added the reserve title to a great week for Kate Podell and Jill Countryman in the nine horse field. The pairing of Denbury Irish Justice and Denbury Regal Justice kept their blue ribbon streak intact in the multiples.

The evening competition featured the Senior Western Seat Equitation World Championship first on the agenda with a supportive audience on hand. Natalie Nelsen continued an amazing week as she presented a poised and elegant picture to earn the tricolor aboard QVM Collector's Edition. Jenna Britt turned in a smooth and steady ride to guide DFM Poetic Justice to the reserve honors in the 18 rider field coached by Judy Nason.

The evening continued with the preliminary competition in the Junior and Senior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals. The railwork and individual workouts each count one-third toward the final judging which also includes the one-third from the railwork to be completed in the finals on Friday.

In the Junior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals Preliminary, all six riders earned a spot for the finals. Caroline Gaker, Katherine Alderman, Ben Walstrom, Meghan Bradley, Abby Smith, and Lauren Tomaino will be back to compete for the ultimate title on Friday.

A strong field of 19 vied for the change to earn a spot in the Senior UPHA Challenge Cup Finals. The 12 selected to return (in numerical order) are Tiffani Earehart, Jamie Cruz, Brooke Gove, Kali Erin Hutchinson, Holly Carlton, Sarah Shimmer, Ashley Dragan, Marlo Franco, Emily Buchanan, Ariana Corrigan, Catherine Hendrickson and Katie Goodpaster.


The excitement and athleticism of the reining horses were the star attraction in Show Arena 9. In the 1st Year Green competition W Nugget's Rebels Are We and Monty Bruce slid away with top honors for Thomas Filipek and Lou Ellen Williams. River Riders Rainshine was piloted by Richard Bowden to the second place finish for Jon and Sherry Rivers in the six entry field.

The 2nd year green competition saw MorganQuest Native Sun and Heath Herndon earn a trip to the presentation with the top score for Duane, Shirley, and Tane' Burris. There was a Passport to Jamaica and it was a second place trip for owner/rider Corrina Bomer.

The ever-improving non-pro reiners were next to compete with Travis Filipek turning in a winning ride aboard the multi-titled Painters Pine Ridge for top honors. They were challenged by the reserve placing team of LSI Hollywood Hel Kat and Meredith Rosier-Cooke.

The up and coming non-pro youth riders continued the action with W's Ready To Rumble and JoAnn Ace scoring the top prize to make it two in a row for owners Thomas Filipek and Lou Ellen Williams. The hardworking team of Challie's Firethorn and James Gallagher slid into second.

Eight entries vied for the victory in the Open Reining with Heath Herndon guiding MorganQuest Native Sun to his second top score of the day for the Burris family. Mark Wilcher was aboard Leroy Stockton's impressive stallion Heartquest Erin for the second place finish to round out the first day of reining competition.

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