August 29, 2005 -- Twenty-three of the greatest reining horses in the United States traveled to Lexington to compete for the $75,000-added Adequan?/United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Open Championship. Craig Schmersal accompanied three of those horses and earned the 2005 USEF title with Tidal Wave Jack.
Schmersal, of Menifee, Calif., and his 9-year-old power-house stallion entered the arena as the sixth draw. The pair made a picture-perfect run and earned the high score of 226 along with a championship check for $20,645.
Schmersal's win in Lexington bumped him to the top of the qualifying standings for the FEI World Reining Masters and he's ready to make the trip to Manerbio, Italy, this September.
Tidal Wave Jack, by Hollywood Macho Jack and out of Tidal Mist Cody, is an NRBC Open Reserve Champion and has lifetime earnings exceeding $100,000. Schmersal and the horse traveled to Jerez, Spain, in 2002 for a medals finish at the World Equestrian Games. The stallion spent the breeding season at Mike McEntire's in North Carolina and Mike started showing him last spring. Schmersal saw how well he was doing and decided to bring him to Kentucky for the USEF.
"I didn't ride him until Monday when I got here," Schmersal noted. "My hat's off to Mike; he did a great job preparing him."
Schmersal also credited his wife, Ginger, along with Pierre Luc Phaneuf and Liam MacNeil for helping him throughout the show with his three horses. Schmersal also showed his stallion Mister Mntana Nic, by Reminic and out of Mollie Montana, and placed in the top 10 with Vintage Boom, by Mr Boomerjac and out of Taris Little Vintage, owned by Doug Porcello.
Todd Crawford of Blanchard, Okla., earned the USEF Open Reserve Championship riding Commandalena, a 13-year-old stallion owned by Wayne and Judy Clark of California. Commandalena, by Smart Chic Olena and out of Givenchy Command, marked a 225 as the third-to-last draw for the silver medal and a check for $14,864.
Because of Crawford's prior commitment to compete at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, which takes place at the same time as the FEI World Reining Masters, he will not be able to travel to Italy. Tim McQuay, who finished in third place in the standings, is planning to take his place.