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Canadians Karen Cudmore and Melissa Brown Qualify to Compete at 2003 Budweiser Show Jumping World Cup Final

Karen Cudmore
After a fierce qualifying season, Canadian show jumpers Karen Cudmore and Melissa Brown have qualified to represent Canada in the Budweiser World Cup Final at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, NV, April 16-20, 2003. Cudmore and Brown, teammates on Canada’s World Equestrian Games show jumping team, earned the right to compete by finishing first and second, respectively, in the World Cup Canadian League standings. Two-time World Cup champion Ian Millar finished third and is first alternate for Canada should either Cudmore or Brown wind up not going.

Cudmore, originally from Victoria, British Columbia, is now based in Omaha, Nebraska. She topped the standings with a total of 58 points. Cudmore’s first place finishes at the Blainville World Cup Qualifier in Quebec and the Concours Hippique de Quebec World Cup Qualifier also in Quebec gave her a lead in the standings that she was able to maintain throughout the season.

With her second place finish in the standings, Melissa Brown of Claremont, Ontario, earned the right to join Cudmore in Las Vegas. Brown finished the qualifying period with 44 points. At the young age of 23, Brown’s trip to Las Vegas will mark her second consecutive trip to the World Cup Final.

Millar jumped into the third place in the standings with a fourth place finish in the final qualifying event, the $60,000 World Cup Grand Prix at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto in November. Millar finished the qualifying period with a total of 43 points to make him Canada’s alternate for the World Cup Final.

Cudmore, Brown and Millar came out on top against a field of twenty-three Canadian League riders who began the race to the Budweiser World Cup Final last June. Canada has won the World Cup Final three times since it was first held in 1979. Millar won it twice, 1988 and 1989, and Mario Deslauriers won it in 1984.

With the announcement of the Canadian riders who have qualified to compete in Las Vegas, riders from the 11 other leagues around the world continue to battle for the right to represent their countries in the 2003 Final in Las Vegas.

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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