Southern Eighths Farm in Chesterfield, South Carolina and Nikon are working together to support Eventing’s amateur riders. “We approached Nikon about becoming a sponsor of our Southern Eighth/Nikon Three-Day Event scheduled to take place on May 3-6, 2012 because we felt it was a good fit and they agreed,” commented owner Brad Turley.
“Together our goal is to focus on the amateur riders, the unsung heroes of the Eventing world. Best of all, these amateur riders have a chance to compete at a facility that is good enough to host the high profile Eventers but this place is for the rest of us. This is a place where the amateur riders can feel like the pros.”
“We here at Nikon are proud to be involved with Southern Eighths Farm’s recognized three-day event and support all the Amateur riders and their passion for Eventing. It is this same passion that drives Nikon each day. We look forward to a long relationship and wish all the competitors Good Luck!” remarked Bill Pekala, General Manager, Nikon Pro Services.
The recent Heart of the Carolinas recognized event April 28-May1 sponsored by Nikon was an indication of just how good this facility is and it is the riders who say it best. They love the facility, the organization, the footing, the courses, the jumps - just everything.
Becky Brown and EZ dominated the Training level (32.90) and Annie Lane Maunder and Penny Lane (37.30) were the winners in the Novice division.
Brown was feeling “pretty terrific. It is EZs first blue ribbon at a recognized event. We chose the right one. I am so proud of him.”
When asked what the highlight of the weekend was, Brown commented, “Choosing one highlight is kind of impossible. Doing the whole cross country because it was such a beautiful course, beautifully presented and the jumps were great. All the volunteers were super. The organization was great and the whole care and feeding of the competitors was unbelievable. I’ve never been anywhere where they were so concerned about our welfare.
In addition to that was the educational aspect. The whole experience has been terrific.”
Some of the riders have already returned with trainers, students, friends or family to do schooling weekends in preparation for a fall JumpFest and next year’s recognized event.
Brown loves the idea. “This is a marvelous place to do the schooling weekends and to stay a couple of days. To go out on the trails and school the cross country is a good experience for the horses.”
Maunder was equally thrilled with the event. “I feel great. I am very pleased with the final result but I’m a little disappointed with the rails. (They had two rails down.) Those rails lost me the Nikon camera.”
For Maunder the highlight of the weekend was “personally feeling that I’ve still got a few more years left in me. I’m not ready to hang up my boots and it refocuses me as to why I do Eventing.”
Maunder will also be back for some schooling weekends. “If there is any hope for horsemanship to come back into the world of Eventing it is through this kind of thing. The problem with Eventing is the horsemanship has gone out of it but Southern Eighths is bringing it back”
Jim Baker and Wings claimed the victory in the Beginner-Novice division (58.30). “The format and the organization were topnotch. I can’t say enough about it,” he readily commented.
“I feel wonderful, fantastic on top of the world. My horse Wings grew a lot in confidence. I saw him mature over the weekend. He was nervous when he got here and now he’s calmed down. I was very pleased with the way things went.”
When asked what he thought the best part of the weekend was, Jim was quick to respond, “The facilities are amazing, simply amazing, probably the most spectacular thing is the effort they made for us as competitors. I’ve been Eventing for a long time and we’ve never had this done for us. For the average competitor, the lower level competitor this was a phenomenal event. I’ve only seen this at the higher level events.”
Baker is already planning to “bring a trailer load back here for a schooling weekend.”
Brown was the Low Score rider of the weekend and the lucky winner of the Nikon D3100 Camera Kit and when asked about that she thought for a moment and then responded. “I am floored. To think that Nikon gave such a wonderful prize at an event focused on adult riders is really special. I am beyond thrilled to have won that camera.”
Nikon did more than just provide the camera kit to the low score winner. Their sponsorship also included a Nikon Photo Circle where each competitor had a photo op of their choice. In addition, Nikon lent cameras for the Nikon Photo Hunt, where teams of competitors went out in search of Nikon labeled locations on the 300-acre piece of property. At each location competitors had to take fun photos. The best photo and the fastest team were the winners.
“Four years ago when we moved to Chesterfield the dream was to share the exhilaration and camaraderie of Long format Eventing. Now that we’ve done our first recognized event we’ve taken a large step toward achieving this goal and with the help of sponsors like Nikon this place may become the ultimate destination for the amateur rider,” concluded Turley.
All photos by Diana DeRosa/Press Link