Calgary, Alberta – Kyle King of Ocala, FL, and Ashley Jerome of Calgary, AB, tied to win the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix held July 17 during the Mid Summer Classic II produced by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB. Run in a unique format, the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix sees competitors jumping the exact same course set at four different heights - 1.10m, 1.15m, 1.20m and 1.30m. All competitors, regardless of the height they were jumping, had the same time allowed to complete the course designed by Eric Hasbrouck. Of the 67 entries that competed over the four divisions offered, a total of 20 jumped clear.
Working backwards for the jump-off, the 1.30m division went first. Tami Masters was again clear in the jump-off in a time of 47.24 seconds riding Aurora to move into the lead. King then jumped clear in the 1.20m division in a time of 47.09 to move to the top of the leader board. In the 1.15m division, last year’s defending champion, Breanne McAllister of Calgary, AB, set a blistering fast pace with Zorro, stopping the clock in 44.48 seconds. However, a rail down along the way left the 17-year-old in eighth position overall with the day’s fastest four fault jump-off effort.
Next up, Ashley Jerome also jumped clear in the 1.15m jump-off, crossing the timers in the exact same time as King to tie for the lead. In the 1.10m division, Kristy Mytrash of Cochrane, AB, came closest to catching the leading time with A Touch of Dutch, but 47.60 seconds was only good enough for fourth place in the final standings. In the end, it was a tie between King and Jerome, who split the first and second place prize money to take home $6,500 each.
“I actually didn’t watch the jump-off,” admitted Jerome, 26, who has been competing at the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping events since moving to Calgary three years ago. “I got a little bit nervous and I just wanted to go in there and have a safe jump-off with my horse. I was surprised that we were that fast, honestly. My horse is 18 hands, so he covers the ground. I was totally shocked that Kyle and I ended up tying. What are the odds, really?”
Jerome’s horse, Santa Cruz, is the first horse she has ever owned. She purchased the nine-year-old chestnut Canadian Warmblood gelding, by Santana out of a Cruising dam, directly from his breeder, Basia Sampson, two years ago. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Jerome of the competition. “It is run in a different format to make it fun for everyone, not just those competing at the 1.40m level. I thought it was a great opportunity.” In addition to winning her share of the prize money, Jerome, who trains with Jim Ifko, was thrilled that she was the one who got to keep the winner’s cooler.
“They let me keep the cooler, and I appreciate that,” she noted. “Kyle King is an internationally acclaimed rider and I am sure he has won lots of coolers, but I don’t have many opportunities to win a cooler.”
“Ashley rode a beautiful, smooth trip, and she deserves it,” said King, who was also surprised that there was a tie for the win. “It was strange to have the same time. I didn’t know if we were going to have to go to another jump-off!” It was the first time that King had competed in the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix, having last competed at Anderson Ranch four years ago.
“I thought the whole format of the show, and that class in particular, was great,” praised King. “Everyone gets a chance. I was riding a green horse, and I thought the whole thing was a great idea. All of the horses, regardless of division, got to compete for the money. It was really a neat, neat class.” King was riding Cormick, an eight-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding, for owner John Anderson.
“I have been based at John’s place for the last month and a half, and he gave me that horse to train and ride when I first got there,” explained King. “I actually think the horse is quite special. He is small and quick, and he jumps extremely well. I am absolutely in love with the horse. I think it is a real winner. It loves to jump, and it has no problem jumping any size jump. That horse is really fast, so going into it I thought I had a good chance in the jump-off.”
King, 36, was impressed with the idea for the competition, saying, “John has a good sense for the sport, and he knows what will make a good atmosphere. It was a neat class because the younger riders got to experience a bit of pressure. You could kind of see them come a little bit unraveled. The results really leveled out between all four divisions. I was amazed, but they said it has worked out that way every year, with it being pretty even among the divisions. There was a great vibe to the whole event.”
In the four-year history of the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix, the 2008 and 2009 winners emerged from the 1.20m division while last year’s winner, Breanne McAllister, came from the 1.15m division. This year, the 1.20m and 1.15m divisions shared the win. Show organizer John Anderson’s concept is one that sees the junior and amateurs competing on equal footing with the professionals.
“I really wanted to do something that concentrated on the next generation and encouraged the future of our sport,” explained Anderson, President of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. “Everyone enters on the honour system, entering at the respective heights that they have recently been competing at.” The $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix wrapped up two weeks of competition comprising the Mid Summer Classic show series.
“The Mid Summer Classic is quickly growing into one of the most popular tournaments among our exhibitors,” said Anderson, who represented Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1986 World Championships. “The largest jump we set all week is at 1.30m, and yet we still attract more than 400 entries. It just goes to show how strong the sport is in the west. Over the course of the two-week Mid Summer Classic, we hosted two big exhibitor parties, St. George’s Derby Day, Nations’ Cup Day, Grand Prix Day, and a large Hunter Derby, so there really is something for everyone. We are thankful for all of the support that our exhibitors have shown us, and that makes all the extra work worth it!”
In August, Rocky Mountain Show Jumping will host the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I from August 17-21 while the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic II, featuring the Western Canadian Talent Squad Finals, runs August 24-28.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is one of Canada’s premiere show jumping destinations. Its tournaments are held at Anderson Ranch in Calgary’s south end, a world-class facility featuring permanent stabling for 300 horses and a grass grand prix field complete with natural obstacles. For more information on Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, please visit www.rmshowjumping.com.
$25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix – Mid Summer Classic II
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Kyle King Ocala, FL Cormick 0:0 47.09
1. Ashley Jerome Calgary, AB Santa Cruz 0:0 47.09
3. Tami Masters Lakewood, WA Aurora 0:0 47.24
4. Kristy Mytrash Cochrane, AB A Touch of Dutch 0:0 47.60
5. Kristin Russell DeWinton, AB Ashtin’s Sevita 0:0 47.77
6. Kyle King Ocala, FL Silhouette 0:0 47.96
7. Christina Marlin Sturgeon Country, AB Pialotta 0:0 49.64
8. Breanne McAllister Calgary, AB Zorro 0:4 44.48
Photos: Ashley Jerome of Calgary, AB, and Santa Cruz tied for the win in the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix held during the Mid Summer Classic II in Calgary, AB.
Kyle King of Ocala, FL, and Cormick tied for the win in the $25,000 Full Meal Deal Grand Prix held during the Mid Summer Classic II in Calgary, AB.