East Dorset, Vt., August 26, 2010 -- The big winner at the 2010 Vermont Summer Festival proved to be 22-year-old Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, N.J. Throughout the six-week competition that ran from July 7 through August 15, 2010, Dobbs and her mount, Marengo, scored three major victories.
The first of Dobbs' wins came in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort, on July 18. She and Marengo then successfully defended their title in the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors, on August 8, to win for the second year in a row.
The unstoppable combination of Dobbs and Marengo next won, for the third year in a row, the $10,000 Polo/Ralph Lauren Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on August 13.
"We love coming to Vermont, it is always an annual stop for us," said Dobbs, whose trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan, operate North Run Stables in Warren, Vt. "This is my seventh year coming here, and it feels like home."
Dobbs was cheered on throughout the six week competition by her parents, her grandmother, her fianc? Roy Wilten, and three dogs.
"My parents are die-hards, they drive back and forth every Friday for the Open Welcome and for the Grand Prix on Sundays," laughed Dobbs, who is the daughter of former CNN television personality, Lou Dobbs.
Dobbs' numerous winning performances with Marengo put her in the race for the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, and her result on the final day of competition, a second place finish in the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, placed Dobbs at the top of the leader board. With a total of 150 points accumulated throughout the Vermont Summer Festival, Dobbs earned $5,000 in bonus money awarded at the end of the six-week competition.
Louis Jacobs of East Aurora, N.Y., and his big chestnut mare, Kachina, also forged a name for themselves at the 2010 Vermont Summer Festival. After winning the $10,000 Vermont Bird Place and Sky Watch Open Welcome Stake on July 16, and the following week's $10,000 Hickey Freeman/Bobby Jones Welcome Stake on July 23, the pair dominated the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by Devoucoux, on July 25.
Jacobs was not the only family member to enjoy victory at the Vermont Summer Festival. His wife, Joan, had wins with her two mounts, Nigels and Boyke 2, in the Adult Amateur divisions while his daughter, Charlotte, 15, dominated the Junior/Amateur-Owner competition.
Traveling to the Vermont Summer Festival is an activity that the Jacobs family looks forward to each year.
"I have teenage kids, and when we come here, there is a lot to do," said Jacobs, noting that his son, Louis, 17, who does not compete, enjoys activities such as swimming at the quarry. "It is very much a summer destination, and we treat it as a family vacation."
The first Grand Prix victory of the six-week circuit belonged to 21-year-old Addison Phillips of New York, N.Y., who emerged victorious riding Teirra in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, on July 11. Chris Ewanouski of West Palm Beach, Fla., and his mount Vertigo claimed victory during week four in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors, on August 1.
The grand finale, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, presented by Purina, went to Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, riding MTM Timon to close out the six-week Vermont Summer Festival. Fenney received her prize from Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, who was in attendance to enjoy the final day of festivities.
For the fifth year, the Vermont Summer Festival offered $10,000 in bonus prize money to its neighbors from the north through the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, presented by Ariat International, Inc. Lily Russell of Bolton, Ontario, topped the Hunter Award standings following her outstanding performances riding Allura in the Amateur-Owner and Regular Working Hunter divisions during the first two weeks of competition to earn a $3,000 bonus while Peter Gisborn of Erin, Ontario, took home $3,000 in bonus money after topping the Jumper Award standings.
The 2010 Vermont Summer Festival offered more than $750,000 in prize money over the six weeks of competition, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.
The Vermont Summer Festival will return to Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vt., next year for another six weeks of competition running July 6 to August 14.