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HITS Culpeper returns with two of the final qualifiers for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix

CULPEPER, VA (August 20, 2008)--Crucial show-jumping action returns to HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia this week and will feature two of the final four qualifiers for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday, September 28 during the USGLP Finals.

The first crack for high-performance riders to earn their way into the field will occur during the Winston National when the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix takes the stage on Sunday, August 24. During the Constitution Classic, there's a second opportunity with the $40,000 Avalon Saddlery Grand Prix on Sunday, August 31. The featured class will be one of the last chances for riders to qualify to jump for one of the top purses offered on the East Coast.

Patty Stovel and her mount Shandor 41 are sitting pretty in the top spot of the Standings with nearly $65,000 in Grand Prix prize money won. New Jersey's Callan Solem and Mianta are second with $52,100 in prize money, while Tracy Fenney and her mount S&L Willie are in third place with just under $50,000 giving the top three spots in the standings to the ladies.

The top 30 boasts some of the sports finest riders, including former Olympian Todd Minikus and his mount Presidente, who recently won the $50,000 In the Woods Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties and Aaron Vale, who holds a top standing thanks to a victory aboard Blue Danube in the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix this past winter in Ocala. Both of these heavy hitters are in the top 10. Additional top equestrians such as Hillary Dobbs and Darragh Kerins can also be found near the top of the leader board of what looks to be a fantastic finale to the show jumping season at HITS Culpeper.

Grand Prix action is not all that's in store for exhibitors when show jumping returns to HITS Culpeper on Wednesday, August 20. A full schedule of nearly 250 classes will be offered including the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix, $5,000 Low Jr/A-O Jumper Classic, $10,000 High Jr/A-O Jumper Classic, Central Equine Junior Medal and the Adequan Hunter Division.

Also highlighting the next two weeks at HITS Culpeper will be the crowning of this years champion in the USHJA Tad Coffin Zone III Junior Equitation Finals. The prestigious class will feature about 35 talented equitation riders and take place in the afternoon of August 23 in the Grand Prix ring.

The riders have had to qualify during the last year by winning a national or state medal class in Zone 3 at either the 3' or 3'6? height. The 3' section will compete first, followed by those showing at the 3'6? height. Riders will be scored under the watchful eye of veteran hunter and equitation judge Christina Schlusemeyer of Ocala, Florida.

These two weeks in Culpeper also offer riders an opportunity to add to their Circuit Standings for the 2008 HITS Culpeper season. Circuit Champions will be crowned in Culpeper during the USGPL Finals prior to the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday, September 28.

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: 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Aaron Vale aboard Blue Danube at HITS Ocala


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