The best of the best in the Morgan breed was celebrated in Oklahoma City for the 2015 edition of the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show, October 10-17. 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 and Europe met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to compete in over 300 classes for $400,000-plus in prize money.
Matt Kwapich of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was the show's manager for the second year in a row, and C. A. "Tony" Lee of Birmingham, Alabama, served in the capacity of show chairman.
"It was both a joy and a pleasure to be chair of the 2015 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show," said Lee. "The staff and the committee were extraordinary! The parties were fun; the camaraderie was enjoyable; the competition was outstanding. Thank you to all involved. I hope your week was as gratifying as mine."
Kwapich, 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 as the manager of the Grand National this year," said Kwapich. "This horse show is where the best of the best in the Morgan breed compete is Morgan history in the making!"
The Youth of the Year Contest had 12 competitors this year. Victoria Angers of Merrimac, New Hampshire, was crowned the winner of this prestigious contest. Angers, 16, will receive a unique custom-designed prize package valuing $3,500. This award is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Earning reserve honors in the contest was Bethea Phelan, 22, of Kingston, New Hampshire, who also has earned a custom-designed prize.
The 2015 World Champion Gelding, Mastroianni, owned by Brenda Varney and shown by Richard Boule, set a record at this year's show by being the only Morgan horse to win both the World Champion Gelding and World Champion Stallion honors. The two-year-old Brave, shown by John Hufferd for Saralin Morgan Horse Farm, was the World Champion Junior Gelding. For the mares, the yearling filly SLB Gordon Girl was the World Champion Junior Mare with Mark Bodnar showing for Sherry Bartolucci. Treble's She's Mizbehavin was shown to World Champion Senior Mare and World Champion Mare titles with Tim Roesink for Mountain Hawk Farm Ltd. For the stallions, the yearling colt, Primal, led by Phil Fountain for Peeper Ranch, left the ring as the World Champion Junior Stallion. Former champion, Dragonsmeade Icon, returned to Oklahoma to earn the World Champion Senior Stallion and World Champion Stallion honors for the second time. He was lead to victory by longtime trainer, Tim Roesink for Dragonsmeade.
In the performance divisions, David Rand rode Angela Conner Bulmer's VL Zaia to claim the World English Pleasure Championship. Alyssa Wick rode Indian Creek Bali Ha'i GCH to top honors as the World Hunter Pleasure Champion for Irina and Rebecca Shavlik. Graycliff Tony Hawk, with owner Peggy Alderman in the buggy, switched gears and won the World Park Harness Championship after winning the four-year-old world class. Rick Gervasio rode SP Remington to the World Western Pleasure Championship for Stone Pine Farm LLC. Tim Roesink returned to the ring with the World Champion Stallion, Dragonsmeade Icon, to win the open world championship in pleasure driving. It was announced following his victory pass that Icon is now retired from the show ring. Nikki Rae Woodworth rode As Predicted GCH to win the very competitive World Park Saddle Championship for Deborah Hamilton, who also earned a world championship in the Amateur Masters division. Peggy Alderman returned to the ring to win the World Roadster to Bike Championship with Flairetation for a record fifth year in a row. Alderman continues to be the most winning roadster driver in Morgan history, driving to the world championship 11 times.
The Grand National joined forces with Horse Show Wire and Richfield Video to bring the show to online viewers for pay-per-view. The video feed had an incredible viewership response.
Plans already are underway for next year's show, which will take place October 8-15 in, of course, Oklahoma City. Cindy Mugnier of Belchertown, Massachusetts, 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.
The Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show is owned by the American Morgan Horse Association and is licensed to the American Morgan Horse Educational Trust, a not-for-profit organization committed to education and scholarship. For more information and updates on the Morgan Grand National, go to www.morgangrandnational.com.