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Classes for Charlotte Jumper Classic to be Designed by 2008 Olympic Course Designer Steve Stephens

Charlotte, NC - February 28, 2008 - The 2008 Charlotte Jumper Classic, held on April 11-13 at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, will be one of the most exciting show jumping events this year. The course designer for this year's events, which includes the $500,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte, is Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Stephens is also this year's co-course designer for show jumping at the Olympic Games.

Stephens has been the course designer at the Charlotte Jumper Classic since its inception in 2004. He is pleased to return this year to design courses for some of the best jumper riders in the United States. "It's a very nice indoor show," Stephens said. "What makes it stand out is that it is only a one-arena performance. It features the jumpers, and that makes it special."

The talented horseman takes a lot of things into account when he designs the tracks for classes, which range from junior/amateur-owner classes, to accumulator classes, to the $500,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte, CSI 5*, which is the highest international rating a show jumping class can receive in the world. "This is a world-class competition and offers a prestigious class for the best riders," he noted. "It is as hard as any other grand prix in the United States. Without a doubt, it is in the class of a World Cup Final competition."

Stephens must adjust the course to fit inside the Charlotte Bobcats arena, which is smaller than most outdoor riding rings. "We make special jumps for Charlotte," Stephens explained. "We size them down to fit. The standards are not as wide, and the poles are not as long. That makes it easier to design and gives more room for the course. You can't design like you would outdoors with difficult distances and huge height because the indoor arena offers difficulties in itself that come automatically."

When riders arrive to compete on Friday, Stephens plans on having a nice, welcoming design for their first class. "It'll be a good welcome for them because most riders will have come from competing in big, outdoor rings. They will have to get used to the small indoor arena in a hurry though and get ready for hard jumping on Sunday," he said.

The Charlotte Jumper Classic is a signature fundraising event for the Bobcats Youth Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children and youth in the community. The upcoming 2008 Charlotte Jumper Classic will benefit the Bobcats Youth Foundation's three signature initiatives: Building reading and technology centers, resurfacing outdoor basketball courts and supporting the Presbyterian Hospital Community Care Cruiser, a mobile health clinic providing needed healthcare to disadvantaged children.

The Charlotte Jumper Classic is North Carolina's premier equestrian competition, hosting more than 200 horses in Uptown Charlotte and featuring $700,000 in prize money.

For more information on the Charlotte Jumper Classic, please visit their Web site at http://www.charlottejumperclassic.com.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Jumper Classic and 2008 Olympic show jumping course designer Steve Stephens. Photo (C) 2008 Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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