Culpeper, VA (September 27, 2008)— In a tune up for Sunday's $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix, Laura Bowery and her mount Indy Star II posted the fastest double-clear round to capture the $25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper.
Bowery outlasted a starting field of 26 riders to challenge course designer Olaf Petersen's first-round route and an additional six pairs that advanced to the jump-off to collect $7,500.
However, coming into the $25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix, Bowery was already qualified for Sunday's featured class with a spot in the top 20 of the USGPL Standings. The highest finisher in Friday's class not already qualified for Sunday's big Grand Prix was Evan Coluccio who took home the fourth-place ribbon aboard his mount Hpnotiq but more importantly earning him a spot in the Invitational.
Coluccio coincidently earned a spot in last years $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix with a top placing in the Wild Card Grand Prix. He was first to go in the jump-off on Thursday aboard Hpnotiq and the pair went clear and set the Great American Time to Beat at 44.264.
Second to go in the jump-off were Roberto Teran and his mount Distant Star 3E. The Canadian was quick to push Coluccio off of the top of the leaderboard when they set the new time to catch at 42.614. Maryland's Tracy Magness and her Grand Prix horse Tarco Van Ter Moude were third to challenge the jump-off route. The combination had an unlucky rail down midway through the trip resulting in a fifth place finish.
Bowery and Indy Star II were fourth in the order and they made a dash for the cash stopping the clocks in 41.543 to win the blue. Following Bowery's clear effort were Robin Sweely and her mount Discovery. The pair laid a clear round of their own stopping the clocks in a very fast 44.100 to finish in second place.
Gavin Moylan and his mount Con-Air were fifth in the jump-off order and were eliminated to finish in seventh place. Sitting in the enviable last-to-go spot was Tracy Fenney and her mount MTM Centano. The texas native had two rails down to finish in sixth place.
All eyes at HITS Culpeper are now shifting towards Sunday's Invitational. Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood won last years feature class and is going to have to tangle with the likes of three-time Invitational champion Aaron Vale and this year's USGPL leading rider Patty Stovel, as well as Callan Solem, Tracy Fenney and Tracy Magness if she is going to take the first-place check of $30,000 back to Canada with her.
Other Grand Prix riders expected to show this week include Michelle Spadone, Laura Linback, Kristen Vanderveen, Mary Lisa Leffler, Eliza Ferguson Shuford, Laura Bowery, Henrik Gundersen, Roberto Teran, Sulu Rose-Reed, Derek Petersen, Mike McCormick, Kelley Robinson, Megan Edrick, Chuckie Waters, Matt Hollberg and Ian Silitch.
The Invitational will take place after the presentation of the Grand Circuit Champion Awards for 60 divisions in the majestic Grand Prix ring. Click here for the current circuit award standings. The SHALANNO Style of Riding Award Perpetual Trophy will also be presented prior to the Invitational to the Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Olympic medalists Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld and George Morris. The award recipient must have the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman. Kylie Wright and Ramsey Carter are two front runners to take home the award this year.
Show jumping at HITS Culpeper continues all weekend with the $15,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Low Classic, $25,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner High Classic and the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix.
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 Flying Horse Photography, Laura Bowery and Indy Star II get congratulated by HITS' Sara Jackson after winning the $25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/laura-bowery-devoucoux-hits-culpeper-09-08.html">Laura Bowery and Indy Star II win the $25,000 Devoucoux Wild Card Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com