FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEXINGTON, KY----- February 9, 2015----- This week marks the World Championship Hunter Rider Spectacular Week at the Winter Equestrian Festival, offering some of the most prestigious hunter classes, including the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 14, some of the top horses and riders in the country who qualify throughout the week will go head-to-head in the two-round hunter class for a chance at $100,000 in prize money.
"The WCHR Spectacular Week has a different feel from the other weeks at WEF," said Caroline Weeden, Chair of the WCHR Task Force. "It really draws attention to the hunters in a special way, recognizing the top competitors across all the rated hunter sections. And, when the top riders and horses compete for $100,000 in the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, you can feel the intensity and excitement in the air."
|2014 Winner Victoria Colvin & Betsee Parker's Ovation. |
Photo Credit: Lindsay Brown/The Book LLC
All participants in the class are invited, and riders may compete on no more than two horses. The Champion and Reserve Champion horse-and-rider combinations in hunter sections 3'6" or higher during WEF 6 will be eligible to compete in the Palm Beach Spectacular. Several riders are also invited to participate including the previous year's winner, the 2014 WCHR Junior 3'6" and Amateur Owner 3'6" National Champions, the 2014 WCHR Professional National Champion, and the 2014 WCHR Developing Professional National Champion, to name a few.
The two-round class will bring back the top 12 from the first round, and the winner will receive the Dark Continent Perpetual Trophy, the Let's Dance Perpetual Trophy and $30,000 in prize money. The winner will become the 20th on a list of greats who have won this class, including Monday Morning and Elizabeth Towell Boyd who won the inaugural Spectacular in 1997. Additionally, the Mark Gregory Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the best conditioned horse of the 3'6" section of the first round, and USHJA sponsor Shapley's will present a commemorative gift, bucket of products and a $100 cash award to the groom of the Mark Gregory Perpetual Trophy recipient. The highest scoring conformation horse of the first round of the WCHR Hunter Spectacular will win the Charlie Weaver Perpetual Award.
In conjunction with this prestigious class, the International Club will play host to the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular Gala with cocktails starting at 5:30 p.m. The gala will offer a wonderful menu, entertainment, a live auction for an incredible spa vacation package from Salamander Resort & Spa, as well as the best views of the class. The proceeds of the event go to support the WCHR Program with a portion of those proceeds benefitting the USHJA Foundation Horseman's Assistance Fund, which helps equestrians in times of need.
USEF Network will be streaming the event live for those who wish to watch from home. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:00 p.m. with the first horse on course at 6:30 p.m. Beginning February 10, the USHJA tent will be open near the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, where exhibitors and spectators can purchase a table, pick up wristbands for the gala, complete the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular declaration and bio forms, or purchase USHJA gear.
"We wish everyone luck as the 2015 WCHR Spectacular Week kicks off," added Weeden.
Additional classes that comprise WCHR Spectacular Week include the $5,000 Peggy Cone memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic, the $5,000 WCHR Junior/Amateur Owner 3'3" Hunter Classic, the $2,500 Florida Children's Hunter Horse 14 and Under Classic, the $2,500 Florida Children's Hunter Horse 15-17 Classic, the $2,500 Florida Small/Medium Children's Hunter Pony Classic, the $2,500 Florida Large Children's Hunter Pony Classic, the $2,500 Florida Small Hunter Pony Classic, the $2,500 Florida Medium Pony Hunter Classic, and the $2,500 Florida Large Pony Hunter Classic.
The USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Program was founded in 1992 to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. Since the inaugural WCHR Professional Finals in 1992 the WCHR program has expanded to include coveted year-end awards for Professionals, Developing Professionals, Amateur Owners, Adult Amateurs, Juniors, Children's and Pony riders. WCHR Program Members qualify for National and Regional Awards by earning points at Member Events held across the country throughout the qualifying year. Points from a rider's top four WCHR Member Events will be used to determine the National and Regional standings. Each year the top 10 nationally ranked riders and top six regionally ranked riders in each category, come together to compete in the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD. The 2015 Capital Challenge Horse show will be held September 28 through October 4, 2015. For more information, visit www.ushja.org/wchr.