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UPHA/American Royal - Friday Evening

The exceptional effort of the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup National Championship led the way on Friday night in its traditional place of honor. Sean Simpson has been a star in this class each and every year he has competed, winning the Non-Physically Challenged National Championship for three years in a row! From his home base in Florida, Sean has come to Kansas City to remain undefeated in this Non-Physically Challenge division. Aidan Silverton made a great performance in a Kansas City debut, earning the Reserve National Championship in this division. Rachel Sanchez received a huge ovation as the National Champion in the Physically Challenged division. Also a repeat winner, Rachel was the National Champion in this section last year as well. Rachel won all three of her qualifying classes this year for the High Caliber banner. Also repeating her Reserve National Championship, Victoria Mattson took that prize for the second straight year. She was three times a winner this year in qualification as well.

The Overall National Championship went to Elizabeth Metcalfe. Also three times a winner this year in the Exceptional Challenge Cup, Elizabeth was the Overall Reserve National Champion just last year, stepping up tonight to take the biggest prize of them all. Grace Gustafson’s Kansas City debut couldn’t have gone much better. She was the Reserve National Champion tonight in her first time showing here. She made her qualifying win at ASHAM this year.

The performance kicked off with the Amateur Three-Gaited National Stake, as Misdee Wrigley Miller’s great week continued with a unanimous National Championship win aboard Moonbeams And Dreams. Just a six-year-old mare, this is her first year in the show ring. She is by Attache’s Royal Assets and out of Callaway’s Truest Blue, by Callaway’s Blue Norther. Bred by Rae Lee Mills, Moonbeams And Dreams has been owned for the past year by Joan Hamilton, developed by the Kalarama team and earning a national title tonight. Winner of the amateur over 2 earlier this week, Undulata’s Simbara was the Reserve National Champion with Erin Eichenbaum. Formerly known to the Saddlebred world by her maiden name, Erin Sembler, she showed the entry of Diane Sembler Kamins to the reserve honors. Trainer Neil Visser showed this one to the Junior Three-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title this year. Simbara is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Gotta Secret. Callaway’s Naughty And Nice and Ceil Wheeler were a sporty third, with Attache’s Popeye and Danny Cummins a good fourth.

The qualifier placings held over to the Amateur Hackney Pony National Championship, as Heartland High Tech earned the unanimous win with Ali DeGray. By Dun-Haven Bandolier and out of Heartland Sweetheart, the wonderfully long-necked and hinged-up cobtail is showing at the American Royal for the first time in a decade. He was the 2004 UPHA Hackney Pony Classic National Champion. A national champion the last three years here, CH Heartland Globe-Trotter was the Reserve National Champion tonight with John Wrather driving for Charlotte Wrather. The top two here are both trained by Majestic Oaks. Globe-Trotter is a four-time winner in Freedom Hall. He is by Heartland Equality and out of Heartland Ashley, by Dun-Haven Bandolier.

The Mo/Kan Five-Gaited Stake honors one of the great trainers in Missouri’s long history of equestrians, Tom Bass. Robert Gardiner made the winning ride in this one aboard Ridgewood’s Wonderful Admiral. By Admiral’s Dixieland and out of She’s Wonderful, Wonderful Admiral swept this division here, fresh off his stake win at Boone County. Sarah Track rode Shining Moonlight to the Reserve Championship for William Woods University. Sarah is preparing this up and comer for her students at the university.

The UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Champion added the American Royal Saddle Seat Equitation National Championship to her rapidly expanding resume. She and Oh What A Feeling were tops in this one for the Knollwood banner. Ainsley has really grown up this year, adding an element of power to her always smooth style. Also a national champion, Clara McCool was the 2009 UPHA Walk-and-Trot Challenge Cup National Champion. She brought the Reserve National Championship back to Cater Stables tonight. Clara is fresh off her win in the prestigious NEHS Saddle Seat Medal Finals at Twin State Octoberfest. Lila Tatar finished in third, with Taylor Pszeniczny in fourth.

By Dun-Haven Regal Attraction and out of Mastercraft’s Princess LF, Sugarland has certainly made his parents proud, wrapping up a second straight undefeated season with Elisabeth Goth. Two years in a row the Amateur Road Pony National Champion, he also has brought the last two Amateur Road Pony World’s Champion of Champions titles back to Majestic Oaks. Sugarland was also the first pony to ever win the Best of Show award at Midwest Charity last year. The placings held true from the qualifier, as following the unanimous champion was Sirfistication. Patrice Watson O’Brien drove the Reserve National Champion for Joe and Patrice O’Brien and the Majestic Oaks banner. This is just their second year to be teamed together. They won the Road Pony Championship at the Alltech National Horse Show last year.

What a great entrance into the park division it has been for Glenview’s Excelalante and Barbara Goodman Manilow. Winner of Section One of the Amateur Park qualifier, they were twice winners at St. Louis this year as they made a re-debut of sorts. Barbara hasn’t been a full-time teammate with the big bay gelding since 2012. The Amateur Three-Gaited Park National Champion is by Designed and out of Tra La La. Skyline Stables trains this team. The Amateur Park Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion, Cloverleaf Freedom Writer added the Reserve National Championship here to his Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title. This one was also reserve in Section One earlier this week. Alexandra Percoco made the good rides once again for owner Jayne Romano. Monnington Farm trains this team. The King’s Watchman and Tara Grom were third for Bob and Kim Grom, with Cherished King and Lexie Pearson fourth for Lisa and Alexis Pearson.

National Champion now in three of the last four years, CH Callaway’s Born For This was the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited National Champion with Sallie Mason Wheeler. Also the World’s Champion of Champions in this division, Born For This is by CH Callaway’s Born To Win and out of Beckon The Day, by Sultan’s Great Day. It has been an undefeated season for this beautiful gray mare, including as a Saddlebred ambassador in the Five-Gaited Special, winning it for the second straight year at Devon. It will be exciting to see this next team come together over the winter, as Callaway’s No More Mr. Nice Guy and Payton Walker were the Reserve National Champions for Virginia Stanley. By Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of Sweet Sachet (BHF), No More Mr. Nice Guy is about as athletic a horse as you will find. He is now trained by DeVore Stables. Sensational Charm and Ainsley Budzinski made a top show in third for Renae and Hailey Wegner.

Raymond Shively has to be the first man to ever win the Roadster to Wagon Championships at the both the American Royal and the Royal Winter Fair in the same week! Ice Man was the winner tonight for Betty Tucker. Raymond made the return trip from Toronto to take the tricolor.

What a great selection Joe and Sally Jackson made for granddaughter Nicole. She and Cuttin’ Up were named the ASHAF Show Pleasure Driving Challenge National Champions tonight as the choice of all three judges. This team also swept the 12-and-Under Walk-and-Trot Pleasure division here. She had to make a great drive to get the win tonight, as the reigning Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving World’s Champion of Champions CH First Class Heir was the Reserve National Champion. Zach Meyer drove tonight for his family’s Brown-Anderson Farms under the Hollow Haven banner.

The top two from the Ladies Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Championship were the same top two in the National Championship tonight, but the placings were reversed, as CH With Style And Grace won a National Championship here for the fifth straight year. Four years in a row the Amateur Three-Gaited National Champion, Tara Grom rode to this unanimous Ladies Amateur title tonight for Bob and Kim Grom and the DeLovely banner. By Sir William Robert and out of Lady Peridot, Style And Grace has long been a star of the show ring for the Grom family. Ladies Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions Soquili’s Curious George rounded out an outstanding first season with Kate Foy, taking the Reserve National Championship for Kate and Sara Foy and the Cater Stables team. Winners of seven straight coming into the week, this top team has been exciting to watch all year long. Hilheiry Duff and Mimi Bahcall earned the third prize, with Promised Love and Stacey Kipper Perrelli were fourth for Sondra Kipper.

Noble Charm has always been one that is striking when he hits the show ring. He has a ton of charisma to go along with his incredible headset. He was the Junior Five-Gaited winner tonight with a unanimous decision in a class of nine. Neil Visser was the winning rider for Elisabeth Goth. Noble Charm is by My Royale Charm and out of Wee Pee’s Darlin’, by Arborlane Tangos Wee Pee. Blues In The Night made one of his best shows yet for reserve with John Conatser up for Catherine McMichael. By Listen To The Music, Blues In The Night is out of Kalarama’s Blue Flame, by Callaway’s Blue Norther. Smith Lilly and Nuttin’ But Talk were up for third for Ceil and Kenny Wheeler, while Believe In Worries and Zach Duffy finished fourth for Kirk Osburg.

Majestic Oaks swept both the National Championship and Reserve National Championship in all three pony classes tonight. It was CH Crystal Creek’s Commander winning the Amateur Harness Pony National Championship with Sandra Surber driving to the unanimous tricolor. This year’s Amateur Reserve World’s Champion of Champions is now a four time National Champion in this division. It was four years ago the last time Seamair Sensation came to the American Royal. It was a same result this time around, as the product of Dun-Haven Awesome Creation and Heartland Simplicity was once again a Reserve National Champion. Charlotte Wrather made the drive tonight for the Majestic Oaks team.

Combining beauty and charisma with talent and pleasurable manners, Mighty Thor was the unanimous winner of the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure National Championship with Carol Hillenbrand. Carol has loved this division for a very long time, having ridden some of the very best the pleasure ranks have ever known. Steve and Tiffany Wheeler directed the winning effort tonight, a second straight National Championship for the two-time defending World’s Champion of Champions. CH Kent Brockman held onto his qualifier placing, earning a great Reserve National Championship with Bridget McNeese. Owned and bred by the McNeese family, Kent Brockman is owned by Catherine Carter McNeese and trained by Bret Day. This tandem also earned the reserve tricolor at Lexington this year in a tough workout. Nuttin’ To Lose and Lisa Holt took the third prize for Holt Oaks Farm, while Ocean Eleven and Ashley Hallock were fourth for James Orr.

Just two showed in the Junior Three-Gaited class but what a duo it was! I’m A Fashionesta debuted with her new haircut to take top honors with Bob Brison up for Redwing Farm. These two were just the Junior Park Pleasure winners at Boone County. Fashionesta is another by Designed and out of Glenview’s Successful, making her a full sister to UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Champion Look Of Success. Also relatively new to the walk-trot ranks, Here Comes The Boom was the reserve winner with Neil Visser up for Elisabeth Goth. The Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding Reserve World’s Champion is by Callaway’s Northern Kiss and out of Madame Cost A Lot.

James Miller likes to save his best performances for the last class of the season apparently, as he is now two years in a row the Amateur Roadster to Bike National Champion with Ring Of Fire. The unanimous winner tonight for Hillcroft Farm, Ring Of Fire rose to the challenge of this three-horse class and then some. He and James turned them all back to win the tricolor for the Kalarama banner. The highly decorated Mr. Bones was the Reserve National Champion. Charlie Jones added this title to his World’s Champion of Champions win from earlier this year for the Lukens Stables team and his sweetheart, Jan Lukens.

The Friday night finale was once again the Ladies Five-Gaited National Championship, a carry over from the days of the UPHA Pink Ribbon Class. While that program has run its course, this prestigious class still carries the weight of a national title and this place of honor as the nightcap for Friday. It was a National Championship to go with her World’s Championship and Reserve World’s Grand Championship for Elisabeth Goth. She took CH Bravo Blue to the Ladies Five-Gaited National Championship with the support of all three judges. The Neil Visser-trained entry was all rocked back and strutting again tonight, wearing the tricolor with pride. He was the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Champion in Freedom Hall this year. Winner of the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare qualifier, the 2012 UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Champion, Fox Grape’s Sierra Madre was the Reserve National Champion in this one with Tiffany Wheeler. These two were the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champions this year for Fox Grape Farms. Sierra Madre is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Himalaya. Memories Of Heart and Debbie Foley took the yellow ribbon in third for Hagan Saddlebreds, with You Can Kall Me Lucky and Drew Taylor Hewitt in fourth.

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