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The Race to Las Vegas Heats Up for U.S. Show Jumping Riders

Source :  World Cup Las Vegas

The hotly contested race to ride at the Budweiser World Cup 2003 in Las Vegas is heating up for U.S. Show Jumping riders. In the East Coast standings, Norman Dello Joio of Wellington, FL leads the way, and on the West Coast, Misti Cassar of Hidden Valley, CA, and Richard Spooner of Glendale, CA, are tied for the top spot.

After four Budweiser World Cup qualifying classes in the U.S. East Coast League, Dello Joio sits on top of the standings with a total of 50 points, 35 of which were earned while he was competing in Europe. Dello Joio had a big boost in the standings when he won the World Cup qualifier at Oslo, Norway in mid-October.

He is a former World Cup Champion, having won the 1983 Final in Vienna.

McLain Ward of Brewster, NY sits in second place in the East Coast standings with 48 points. He placed second in the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix at the Washington International Horse Show in Washington, D.C. on October 27 after placing eighth in the Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA.

Joe Fargis of Middleburg, VA is third in the standings with 46 points. Fargis did well at all four of the U.S. qualifying events that took place in the fall – at the Hampton Classic Horse Show, American Gold Cup, Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show.

Beezie Patton Madden of Cazenovia, NY made the biggest leap in the standings after she had back-to-back wins at the two Show Jumping World Cup qualifiers held in October. On October 19, Madden won the $60,000 Budweiser Grand Prix De Penn National at the

Pennsylvania National Horse Show. The following weekend she went on to win the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix at the Washington International Horse Show to give her a total of 42 points, which ties her with Margie Goldstein Engle of Wellington, FL, for fourth place. Engle previously sat in first place after winning the first World Cup qualifying class, the $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. Five 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. Misty Cassar won that class and earned herself 20 points and the top spot on the West Coast leader board after one qualifier. Since then, Cassar has competed at both San Juan Capistrano and Los Angeles, earning 10 points at each show. Spooner gained 20 points after he placed first in the $25,000 World Cup Qualifying Class at the Oaks Blenheim Fall Classic in San Juan Capistrano, CA on September 13 and then earned 10 points in the $40,000 Grand Prix of Showpark in Del Mar, CA. Spooner and Cassar each earned 10 points as part of a 5-way tie at the $35,000 Los Angeles International Grand Prix in Los Angeles, CA on September 21. Six qualifying classes remain in the USA West Coast League.

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.

The qualifying season promises months of continuing fierce competition among U.S. riders who hope to earn the right to represent the U.S. against some of the world’s strongest competitors 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 Cup Finals, 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 www.worldcuplasvegas.com or call (702) 260-8605.

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