Gulfport, Mississippi - February 26, 2015 - Week III of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit welcomed beautiful weather, a new influx of riders and barns from around the country as well as Pan American Games Course Designer Michel Vaillancort of Aiken, South Carolina, sponsor Cedar Street Advisors from Atlanta, Georgia, top hunter courses and another great week on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Vaillancort commented, "The grass turf is excellent and the horses are really happy on this natural footing. This grand prix field is very forgiving and it really is what sets it apart from the other shows," he said. "That being said, the new footing in the Main Hunter Ring, warm up rings and in Jumper 1 is excellent," said Vaillancort.
"I think that the addition of KCR footing was a huge improvement in the technical part of this venue," Vaillancort commented. "Footing is such an important aspect of our sport and the riders are difficult to please, for obvious reasons. Good horses are hard to come by and the last thing you want to do is abuse them on bad footing," he said. "This footing creates a fantastic 'in between'-it is forgiving but not deep and not too hard. It takes away the abrasiveness of the lime that we sometimes use in the sand which keeps it tight but it doesn't really move. The fiber in the sand is very similar to a natural root system because it holds the position of the sand. It really makes a difference. I would endorse it," he said. "This is as good as it comes," he said.
Tucci, the Official Custom and Ready to Wear Boot of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic presented the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby award to Emily Hertz of Eads, Tennessee Friday. Hertz also won the Kastel Denmark Hunter Style of Riding Award for her efforts.
The $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcome was won by well-known equestrian Laura Linback of Long Grove, Illinois and Woodrun's HH Dauphin and Sunday saw Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico win the $35,000 Cedar Street Advisors Grand Prix before packed crowds. Sadler was also awarded the Kastel Denmark Jumper Style of Riding Award in addition to a gift certificate to The Gulfport Shed Barbeque and Blues Joint.
Rebecca Baker of West Chester, Pennsylvania won the Kastel Denmark Hunter Style of Riding Award for her performance in the 3'3" Amateur Owner Hunters 18-35. Baker has been a consistent winner at the Gulf Coast Winter Classics. "Rebecca demonstrates commendable sportsmanship, is always turned out well and turns in winning round after winning round," commented Bob Bell, President of the Gulf Coast and Classic Companies.
Shownet.biz is filming all events at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit and each Sunday, you can watch the Grand Prix live by clicking on Streamhorsetv.com, the Official Live Stream Partner of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic.
Domino's sponsored Saturday night's Exhibitor Appreciation Party in the VIP tent. Everyone enjoyed a live band, fabulous food, including smoked salmon, crawfish and pizza and Budweiser beverages as well as champagne! A good time was had by all! "We appreciate Domino's sponsorship and all they do for the show," commented Janet McCarroll, Gulf Coast Classic Show Coordinator. "Everyone looks forward to this Exhibitor Appreciation Party every circuit and we are truly appreciative of Domino's support!" she added.
Monday night the party moved to the posh Beau Rivage Casino & Resort in nearby Biloxi. Beau Rivage hosted a special exhibitor appreciation party and it was a winner in every sense of the word!
Week IV is underway and tomorrow is Derby Day! The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Tucci will be the featured hunter event in the Main Hunter Ring. The $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcome takes place Friday afternoon.
Sunday the $35,000 Budweiser Grand Prix takes center stage at 2 pm Central time! Shownet.biz will be videoing all Grand Prix so if you can't be on the Gulf, be sure to tune in. The Gulf Coast Winter Classic's Official Livestream partner is streamhorsetv.com. Click here to watch top show jumping events. http://www.streamhorsetv.com/events/
This week riders will be treated to international course designer Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico. Esparza was an Assistant Designer for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing in 2008. "Manuel is a wonderful course designer and it is a pleasure to welcome him to the Gulf Coast," commented Classic Company and Gulf Coast Classic Company Technical Coordinator, Allen Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer is the Technical Coordinator for this year's World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Friday night kicks the weekend off with a special President's Reception that starts at 4:30 pm in the VIP tent. The Gulf Coast Winter Classic welcomes USEF President Chrystine Tauber and USHJA President, Bill Moroney. The reception is scheduled to start at 4:30 pm Friday but the time will be determined depending on when the rings conclude. All are welcome to attend and meet the presiding leaders over the equestrian sport. Light snacks and beverages will be served.
Horse Power Meets Horse Power!
Saturday night the party kicks into full gear! Chevy pickup trucks, a live band, catering by The Shed Barbeque and Blues Joint in Gulfport and Budweiser in the VIP tent from 5 to 8 pm. All are welcome to attend and meet Gulf Coast Winter Classic's Official Truck and Car Dealership of this year's Circuit.
The USHJA Zone 4 Member's Choice Award winning Gulf Coast Winter Classic Horse Show Circuit is also a South East Tourism's Top Ten Award winning event.
Each year during February and March the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit welcomes thousands of competitors for six weeks of top show jumping competition and fun on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Gulf Coast Winter Classic hosts their award winning six week circuit at the Harrison County Fairgrounds and Equestrian Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Equestrian Center is a state of the art facility with an extraordinary Grass Grand Prix field considered by top Olympic course designers to be the best in North America. In addition, the facility boasts well maintained, all weather footing competition rings, more than 600 permanent stalls and temporary stalls housing up to more than 1,500 horses, permanent, fully equipped RV sites, complimentary riders lounges, a VIP tent, covered arena and many other features that make both horse and horseman happy.
The 2015 Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit is offering over $1,000,000 in prize money and awards, classes for all skill levels, and of course a big dose of their sweet southern hospitality. You are invited to enjoy and join in on the Gulf Coast Classic Company's legendary exhibitor appreciation parties, Pizza Saturdays, Happy Hour Mondays and all of the amenities that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has to offer!
The area offers world class casino resorts, wonderful musical and theatrical shows, incredible dining opportunities of all types and also features delicious Gulf seafood, award winning museums, beach and boat activities along the twenty six mile long white sand beachfront, and just plain fun for the entire family.