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Tampa Showdown! Budweiser American Invitational Qualifying Battle Narrowed to Three Key Classes

Tampa, FL - January 20, 2009 - The city of Tampa, Florida, will once again play host to Stadium Jumping Inc.'s Tampa Equestrian Festival, starting on March 18 and continuing through April 4 at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL.

The highlight and concluding event of this year's festival is the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, the nation's premier outdoor show jumping event and a Tampa tradition for 37 years. Show jumping's main event will be held under the lights at Raymond James Stadium, the site of this year's Super Bowl, on April 4, 2009.

Over the years, the American Invitational has been recognized as the crown jewel of American show jumping, and year in and year out, it has been one of its toughest tests.

The $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational brings together a star-studded international group of equestrians to compete for one of the richest purses in all of show jumping. The unique invitation-only format assures the best possible starting field.

And for the first time this year, the Tampa Equestrian Festival will be the only location for qualifying events, making those competitions more important and more competitive than ever before.

Based on money won in these three classes - the $35,000 Tampa Bay Welcome Stake, CSI 2* on March 26, the $75,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier & Grand Prix of Tampa CSI 2*-W on March 29, and the $35,000 Grand Prix of Florida on March 31, the top 27 money winners will advance to Raymond James Stadium to battle it out for their chance at a part of the $200,000 in prize money.

The starting field on that first Saturday night in April is already guaranteed to be a impressive affair, with automatic invitations being issued to last year's Budweiser American Invitational champion McLain Ward, plus the other three members of this year's Olympic Gold Medal Show Jumping team from Hong Kong: Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut and Will Simpson. In addition, the Individual Gold Medalist, Eric Lamaze of Canada, has a reserved spot in this year's competition.

During the three weeks of competitions held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center leading up to the main event, the world's best riders will be in heated and head to head competition for the remaining spots on the roster for this year's $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational.

Riders will also be fighting for the seven coveted openings on the squad for the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April.

The stakes will once again be high when show jumping excitement returns to Tampa in March. For more information, please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com.

American Invitational Champions over the Years

1973 $15,000 American Invitational

Rodney Jenkins & Idle Dice

1974 $15,000 American Invitational

Michelle McEvoy & Sundance

1975 $15,000 American Invitational

Michelle McEvoy & Sundance

1976 $15,000 American Invitational

Robert Ridland & Southside

1977 $15,000 American Invitational

Terry Rudd & Mr. Demeanor

1978 $25,000 American Invitational

Norman Dello Joio &Allegro

1979 $30,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Rodney Jenkins & Third Man

1980 $35,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Bernie Traurig & Eaden Vale

1981 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Buddy Brown & Felton

1982 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Melanie Smith & Calypso

1983 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Katie Monahan & Noren

1984 $100,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Leslie Burr & Albany

1985 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Katie Monahan & The Governor

1986 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Tim Grubb & Linky

1987 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Lisa Jacquin & For The Moment

1988 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Katie Monahan-Prudent & Special Envoy

1989 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Greg Best & Gem Twist

1990 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

David Raposa & Seven Wonder

1991 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

George Lindemann & Three's & Seven's

1992 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Ian Millar & Big Ben

1993 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Debbie Stephens & Volan

1994 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Michael Matz & Rhum IV

1995 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Chris Kappler & Seven Wonder

1996 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Harold Chopping & Brandy

1997 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Todd Minikus & Ravel

1998 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

McLain Ward & Twist Du Valon

1999 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Marley Goodman & Canyon *

2000 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Schuyler Riley & Ilian

2001 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin

2002 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin

2003 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Chris Kappler & Royal Kaliber

2004 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Norman Dello Joio & Glasgow

2005 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Beezie Madden & Authentic

2006 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Rodrigo Pessoa & Baloubet De Rouet

2007 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Beezie Madden & Authentic

2008 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

McLain Ward & Sapphire

Photo Credit: The American Invitational is held rain or shine. Last year's winners, McLain Ward and Sapphire, overcame great odds for the victory. Photo Randi Muster. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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