October 21, 2011--The best of the best in the Morgan breed was celebrated in Oklahoma City for the 39th edition of the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show?. Since 1973, this show has represented the pinnacle of achievement in the Morgan horse world. More than 1,000 of the world's finest Morgan horses from across the United States, Canada, Austria, and Great Britain met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to compete in over 300 classes for $400,000-plus in prize money.
For the fifth year in a row, Fred Nava of Kingston, Massachusetts, was the show's manager, and this year, C. A. "Tony" Lee III of Birmingham, Alabama, served in the capacity of show chairman.
"Every year, Morgan enthusiasts from across the country look forward to these two weeks in Oklahoma City as a time to celebrate their love for this wonderful breed and this year is no exception," Lee said. "Our thanks go to Oklahoma City for being a wonderful host city for our world show for 37 years."
Nava, along with a dedicated and hard-working show committee and staff, joined an impressive list of sponsors, officials, and volunteers to make this year's show the best ever.
"It is with great excitement that I come to Oklahoma each year as the manager of the Grand National," said Nava. "This horse show is where the best of the best in the Morgan breed compete and world champions are crowned. This week-long horse show is Morgan history in the making!"
Overtime Farm had a lot to celebrate Saturday evening, as they own both the World Champion Gelding and World Champion Mare! The three-year-old gelding Cimi's Avant Garde was shown to top honors by trainer Tim Roesink. A new filly on the show scene, Jungle Love, also a three-year-old, took top honors in the mare division, again with Roesink leading. In a battle between two multi world champion stallions, Mastroianni returned to the Oklahoma stage to win his third World Champion Stallion title for owner Sheryl Bartolucci.
He was led to victory by brothers Mark and Whitney Bodnar of Merriehill Farm. Reserve world champion was the four-time World Champion Stallion, LPS The Boogie Man, who returned to the Oklahoma In-Hand division, led by longtime trainer, David Rand, for owner Nancy Ramsey.
In the performance divisions, trainer Peggy Alderman returned to claim her fourth consecutive World English Pleasure Championship with Lila Tatar's Bada Bing, setting a record for the division. Mary Carlton rode the two-time world champion, Indian Creek Bali Ha'i, to top honors as the World Hunter Pleasure Champion. SpringMill Superstition, with trainer Nikki Rae Woodworth in the buggy, claimed the World Park Harness Championship. Daryl Hobson rode Beverly Olsen's Tracemark Touch Of Gold to the World Western Pleasure Championship. Tim Roesink took the two-time World Park Saddle Amateur Champion, Dragonsmeade Icon, to the open to win the very competitive World Park Saddle Championship. Peggy Alderman returned to the ring to win the World Roadster to Bike Championship with Flairetation.
The Youth of the Year Contest began on Thursday with 15 competitors. Katy Foy of Kingston, New Hampshire, was the winner of this prestigious contest.
She receives a unique custom-designed prize package valuing $2,500. This award is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust Fund.
Earning reserve honors in the contest was Irina Shavlik of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and who also has earned a custom-designed prize.
The Grand National joined forces with four generous sponsors: Markel, Marcia De Arriaga, Radon, and Hawk Multimedia, to bring the show to online viewers for free. The video feed, which also was simulcast on USEF Network, had an incredible viewership response, eclipsing any competition this year on the network!
Plans already are underway for next year's show, which will take place October 6-13 in, of course, Oklahoma City. Sally Plumley of Monmouth, Oregon, will be the show chairman.
Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors, and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 90 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. It also provides an important link to foreign Morgan horse registries and clubs.
Working in conjunction with AMHA is the American Morgan Horse Institute (AMHI), a charitable organization dedicated to educations and historical Morgan activities. One of the activities of the AMHI is conducting the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show?, the breed's premier show.
For more information and updates on the Morgan Grand National, go to www.morgangrandnational.com.