October 28, 2010 -- The best of the best in the Morgan breed was celebrated in Oklahoma City for 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, Okla., to compete in over 250 classes for $250,000-plus in prize money.
For the fourth year in a row, Fred Nava of Kingston, Ma., was the show's manager, and this year, Dr. Frederick Dills of Indiana, PA, served in the capacity of show chairman.
"The staff and management of the show are making a special effort this year to say thank you to all the people it takes to make the Grand National a world-class event," said Dills. "Oklahoma City should be proud of this show and of their city."
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 Morgans compete and world champions are crowned. The future of our breed is guided by the results of this horse show. It's history in the making!"
A new mare on the scene, Flawless, owned by Sarah Lee, was crowned World Champion Mare at this year's show. Shown by trainer Keith Nelsen, Flawless is in her second year of showing, and took Grand Champion Mare honors at the Far West Regional Morgan Horse Show in June. This year's World Champion Stallion was Dragonsmeade Icon, shown by Tim Roesink for the Fu family of Dragonsmeade Farm. Taking reserve was the reigning two-time champion, Mastroianni, owned by Sheryl Bartolucci. For three years in a row, CBMF Ruling Class took top honors as World Champion Gelding for Tara Farm. Sadly, Ruling Class passed away last year, but the farm returned with a new gelding to land in the world champion spot. CBMF Avenger was led to victory by trainer Ken Swanson.
In the performance divisions, many repeat winners returned to defend their titles and return with the roses. Trainer Peggy Alderman rode Bada Bing to his third consecutive World English Pleasure Championship. Keely Sogoloff of Cedar Spring Farm rode Jerry Nau's MEM Bailamos to his second World Hunter Pleasure Championship. Merriehill Home Stretch, with trainer and breeder Stan Bodnar in the buggy, was the World Park Harness Championship for Ruth Peterson. Daryl Hobson rode Sandra Nelson's Grand Cru Beaujolais to the World Champion Western Pleasure title, which he also won in 2004. Lamborghini In Black returned to the coliseum after capturing the world championship in park saddle with junior exhibitor Hannah Kelley to win the World Park Saddle Championship with David Rand. And Steve DeBolt drove HVK Bold Spirits to win the World Roadster to Bike Championship, the 10th world championship in the division for Kohler Stables.
Wednesday evening's performances were dedicated to military veterans and soldiers.
"It was an honor to recognize veterans from both our Morgan family and in the Oklahoma City area," said Dills. "Wednesday evening featured a variety of Morgan show classes that we hope entertained the men and women who have given so much for all of us."
The Youth of the Year Contest began on Thursday with 15 contestants this year. Maxi Gumprecht of Mercer Island, Wa., was the winner of this prestigious contest. She will receive a unique custom-designed prize package valuing $2,500. Earning reserve honors in the contest was Melissa Bates of Kewanee, Ill., has earned a week-long trip to the trainer of her choice.
As another Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show comes to an end, fond memories return. The Morgan world comes together in Oklahoma each fall and this year was no exception; it truly is a tradition of excellence.
Plans already are underway for next year's show, which will take place October 8-15 in of course, Oklahoma City. C. A. "Tony" Lee will be the show's chairman.
For more information and updates on the Morgan Grand National, go to www.morgangrandnational.com.