CULPEPER, VA (July 7, 2008)--Show jumping action returns to HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia this week with the Showday National, featuring the $40,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix and the Cavalier Classic, July 16-20, featuring the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix.
Even though, like most of HITS' horse shows, Culpeper offers nearly 250 different classes each week for all levels of riders from beginner to high-performance, it's the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix -- this year held on September 28 -- that usually gets the blood flowing when exhibitors think about Culpeper. It's one of the top purses offered on the East Coast and riders compete from September to September to earn their spot in the top 30.
The top 30 riders in the Marshall & Sterling League National Standings (based on money won by the qualified horse/rider combination) are invited to participate in the Invitational. In addition, one Wild Card slot is allotted. Riders may elect to ride any horse of their choice, but may only ride one horse in the Invitational.
During the summer, the competition starts to heat up as the remaining qualifying Grand Prix events start to close in. All Grand Prix events at HITS Ocala, Arizona Culpeper and Saugerties are qualifiers.
This winter, it was a battle between the "Tracys" in Ocala as Tracy Fenney and Tracy Magness went head to head claiming six of the twelve Grand Prix events between them. Fenney currently sits comfortably in the number one spot on the rankings with more than $45,000 in prize money earned aboard her mount Grace. Callan Solem also made headlines in Ocala racking up an impressive $38,100 in prize money aboard Mianta. Then it was Aaron Vale making headlines. In an emotional victory, he scored the top prize in the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group aboard Tatra Farm's Blue Danube, giving him an immediate lift into the top five.
Patty Stovel used her second-place finishes in the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance and the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix, plus a few finishes in the money from this spring in Saugerties, to help secure the number three spot in the standings.
Who will be the stars rising to the top in the coming weeks? It's anyone's guess; however, thanks to their win in the $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix and some other in-the-money placings at HITS Saugerties Hillary Dobbs and Corlett are now in a very competitive number seven spot, while Darragh Kerins and Night Train recently broke into the top five with their win in the $50,000 Waldorf=Astoria Collection Grand Prix.
Other riders to watch include Todd Minikus, who currently stands in the top 10 with his mount Ultimo Rouge. In addition, Rebecca Johanson-Hofmann, who placed in the money in five of the six Grand Prix events at HITS Saugerties this spring, owns the number 10 spot, while Beth Underhill and Ramiro Quintana anchor the top 30 with their winnings so far.
In the next two weeks HITS Culpeper offers two more $40,000 Grand Prix qualifiers. And, with Tracey Fenney in town to defend her top spot against Patty Stovel and others, it's just starting to heat up -- so stay tuned to see who jumps ahead next!
USGPL Finals: September 24-28, 2008. This year's highlights include:
•$10,000 Pre-Green Hunter Classic sponsored by Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. and Four Winds Farm
•$15,000 Junior/A-O Jumper Low Classic
•$25,000 Junior/A-O Jumper High Classic
•$25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix -- As always, there's an automatic invitation waiting for the top finisher who is not already qualified!!!
•$100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix
For more information on the USGPL Finals and the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix, please visit http://www.HitsShows.com
The first Culpeper Horse and Colt Show was held at Monte Vista Park in 1897 and it continued for the next 54 years. In the 1980s, show jumping returned to Culpeper in a grand fashion with the opening of Commonwealth Park, one of the finest horse-sport facilities in the country. Some of the richest show jumping events in America have been held at Commonwealth Park, including the $200,000 U.S. Cup, the grand finale for the United States Grand Prix League in 1986. HITS purchased Commonwealth Park in 1997 and began restoring the grounds to its former glory. In 1998, HITS reintroduced the United States Grand Prix League, and has presented the USGPL Finals at Commonwealth Park ever since. Approximately $1 million in total prize money is offered at the six HITS Culpeper events.
HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com
PHOTO: © 2007 Lili Weik Photography; Tracy Fenney and S & L Willie win the $ 40,000 Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper in 2007. The texas native is ranked on the top of the USGPL Standings this year.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/competition-hits-culpeper-07-08.html">Competition returns to HITS Culpeper!</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com