East Dorset, Vermont – Kaitlin Campbell of Brookeville, Maryland, captured victory in the $10,000 Overland Sheepskin Co. Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 5, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.
Half of the starting field of 16 managed to jump clear over the first round track set by Irish course designer Alan Wade. Those competitors then had to immediately contest the shortened jump-off track.
The second rider on course, Campbell laid down the first clear round of the competition. Her quick jump-off time of 37.530 seconds would prove unbeatable as seven other horse/rider combinations tried and failed to match her time.
Campbell took the win riding Rocky W, a 14-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding she purchased in 2007 from two-time Canadian Olympian Jay Hayes. The pair moved up the ranks together and will continue to contest grand prix events this season, including the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix on Saturday, July 7.
“Rocky was my junior jumper,” explained the 20-year-old, who only began competing at the grand prix level last year. “He’s like my child now. We’ve come so far together. He’s just such an amazing horse.”
In addition to taking home a $3,000 check for her win, Campbell also received a $1,000 gift certificate courtesy of Overland Sheepskin Co., America’s most trusted source for premium sheepskin, leather and fur.
“I always try and win the Open Welcome,” said Campbell, who is studying business at American University in Washington, D.C. and has been competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for the past two years. “Riding horses and shopping are my two favorite things to do, so when I get the chance to do both, I always go for the win.”
Campbell and Rocky W are no strangers to the winner’s circle at the Vermont Summer Festival. In 2011, the pair won the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake and placed second in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix during week two.
Jennifer Gray of Owen Sound, Ontario, finished second aboard Tonic, an eight-year-old Hungarian Warmblood gelding owned by her student Rachael Barnes. Gray put in a double clear performance and stopped the jump-off clock in 40.148 seconds, preventing Campbell from taking first and second in the class. Riding Grand Pleasure, owned by her trainer Rachel Kennedy of ESP Farm, Campbell finished third, with a clear jump-off performance in a time of 41.030 seconds.
“I only started riding him during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida,” Campbell said of the eight-year-old chestnut Belgian Warmblood gelding. “We got him from England around Christmas time. We’re planning on showing him in the grand prix this weekend along with Rocky. It will only be his second time ever competing in a grand prix.”
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. New for 2012, the first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. During week six, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will now be held each Thursday.
The hugely popular $5,000 3'3" Hunter Derby will also be held each Thursday for the first five weeks. Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, Vermont Summer Festival show organizers have added a $15,000 Hunter Derby for week six, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$10,000 Overland Sheepskin Co. Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
Rider Horse Faults Time
1. Kaitlin Campbell Rocky W 0:0 37.530
2. Jennifer Gray Tonic 0:0 40.148
3. Kaitlin Campbell Grand Pleasure 0:0 41.030
4. Amanda Flint Superbad 0:0 41.477
5. Miranda Scott Quick Lantus 0:4 38.672
6. James Gillam Chanel 0:4 40.082
7. Theodore Demetriou Pelham Bay 0:4 40.556
8. Kirk Webby Quintero 14 0:8 41.147
Photo: Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W claimed victory in the $10,000 Overland Sheepskin Co. Open Welcome Stake on Thursday, July 5, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by David Mullinix Photography