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The Race to Las Vegas Has Begun for U.S Show Jumping Riders

Gladstone, NJ- September 13, 2002— The race to the Budweiser World Cup 2003 in Las Vegas has officially started for U.S Show Jumping riders, and Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, and Misti Cassar of Hidden Valley, CA lead the way after the first East and West Coast qualifying classes!

The $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix, held at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY, on September 1, opened the qualifying season on the East Coast. Nine more qualifying events will follow between now and March in the USA East Coast League. A separate league for USA West Coast riders began on August 31 with the $40,000 Grand Prix of Showpark in Del Mar, CA. In the upcoming months, the United States’s best riders will battle for the right to represent their country at the Budweiser World Cup Final, which will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV, April 16-20, 2003.

Engle’s win at the Hampton Classic secured her 20 points and the top spot on the leader board in the East Coast early in the qualifying season. Laura Bowery of Bridgehampton, NY, sits in second place after her third place finish at the Hampton Classic. Laura Kraut was the next finisher riding a declared World Cup mount in the class. Kraut finished in fifth place. Her finish in the qualifying class put her in third place in the World Cup standings. Following Kraut came McLain Ward, Schuyler Riley, Todd Minikus and Chris Kappler.

The $40,000 Grand Prix of Show Park in Del Mar, CA, on August 31, opened the qualifying season for West Coast riders. As with Engle, Cassar’s win earned her 20 points and the top spot on the leader board in the West Coast after one qualifier. Sitting behind Cassar in second place after a second place finish in the class is Jennie Martin. Susan Hutchison was the next top finisher on a declared World Cup horse and she currently occupies the third position in the USA West Coast League. Following Hutchison came Cathleen Calvert, Liz Denny, John French and Marley Goodman.

The qualifying season promises months of fierce competition among U.S riders who hope to earn the right to represent the U.S against some of the world’s strongest competition amidst the glitz and glamour of the city of Las Vegas. Riders compete in 12 leagues around the world, all hoping to earn the right to come to Las Vegas for the chance to win the coveted World Cup Championship.

The United States, having won seven World Championships, has won more World Cup Championships than any other country. After the United States, Austria has captured the most wins at the World Cup Final winning four. Great Britain, Canada, and Brazil each have won three titles in World Cup Final competition.

Started in 1979, the World Cup Final is an annual showdown among the top show jumping riders in the world, as they compete for the prestigious title of World Cup Champion. This will be the fifth World Cup Final held in the United States. Previous Finals were held in Baltimore (1980), Tampa (1989), Del Mar (1992) and Las Vegas (2000). The excitement of international show jumping competition amid the bright lights, theatrical shows, fine dining, and shopping found in Las Vegas promises a grand time for all.

The World Cup competition takes place over five days starting with a warm-up class on Wednesday afternoon, April 16. Thursday evening, April 17, kicks off the main event with the first leg of the World Cup Final, a heart-stopping speed class run under Table C specifications—with faults converted into penalty seconds. Riders go all out in the speed class, knowing that in order to have a chance at a top placing in the Final standings they need to produce a slick, fast ride.

The second leg of the Final takes place the following evening, Friday, April 18. This leg features a lengthy and grueling first-round course followed by a jump-off round where competitors again show their mastery of the speed format.

Saturday, April 19, is a day off from World Cup competition, but not from top show jumping action as the prestigious Grand Prix of Las Vegas takes place in the afternoon. Some riders bring multiple mounts to the Final and use a second horse in the Grand Prix, which also features World Cup horses not going in Sunday’s last leg. So once again spectators have a chance to watch a class filled with the national and international stars of the sport.

The grand finale of the weekend is Sunday afternoon, April 20: the final leg of the Budweiser World Cup Final, a challenging two-round class run under Table A with a jump-off if needed to break a tie for first place. The field of starters is winnowed down to only the top riders who are granted the privilege of returning for the second course. The rider with the fewest faults emerges as the new World Cup Champion.

A variety of ticket packages for all price ranges and interest levels is now available for purchase. All-Session Plaza Level Priority seating is available for $300 per person. All-Session Balcony Level Priority seating is available for $150 per person. VIP Packages are available for $1,000 and include one premier All-Session seat, access to the private VIP hospitality area complete with complimentary deluxe food/beverage each day and preferred parking. Daily individual tickets for the five days of competition range from $10 to $85 depending on the seating and the session.

To order tickets or for more information on the excitement of the 2003 Budweiser World Cup Final, please visit or call (702) 260-8605.


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