For Immediate Release
It’s the “Back Stretch”….and what a race it is! For three of the last four weeks, horses and riders have been battling it out at Spruce Meadows competing at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series 2014 edition. Juniors, amateurs, seasoned pros, Pan American and Olympic champions, at every level have combined to make it a tour to remember. Amazingly, many of the highlights are still to come over the next five days. Those highlights, however, will not be solely confined to the arena of sport.
The 2014 ‘North American’ CSI 5* tournament runs through Wednesday July 2 – Sunday July 6th, 2014. While sport is the centre point of the $1.2 million Spruce Meadows ‘North American’, the penultimate tournament of the Spruce Meadows Summer Tour offers so much more in terms of tradition, pageantry, entertainment, and family fun.
The ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday July 5th, and the Cenovus Energy Classic Derby on Sunday July 6th will be the highlighted events of the weekend. The ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup will serve a qualifying event which can lead to team selection and qualification for a “Certificate of Capability” for this summer’s World Equestrian Games. This accomplishment allows Athletes and Horses to compete, if selected, at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy, France August 23rd – September 07th.
First, a look at the sporting drama that is sure to unfold over the next five days. The story line quickly turns to McLain Ward (USA), 2014 victor of the CP Grand Prix. Ward continues to add precision and excellent sportsmanship to the show jumping competition at Spruce Meadows. With 7 FEI wins in 2013, and 4 FEI wins thus far in the 2014 Summer Series, Ward is sure to be seen in the winners’ circle throughout the ‘North American’.
Another international rider with great momentum is Darragh Kenny (IRL), who has achieved a successful 4 FEI wins at the beginning of the Summer Series, and a Nations Cup win with Team Ireland to top it off. The Irishman returns with an impressive stable of horses including 11 year old Warmblood, Picolo who earned Kenny 2 FEI wins in the 2014 show jumping season.
Challengers for the winner’s circle this week will include Kent Farrington (USA) who returns with Uceko, the 13 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding; the pair earning two major victories with the RBC Grand Prix and the CP Grand Prix in 2013. After a taking a well-deserved break from competition, Uceko returns ready to compete with Farrington who who started the Summer Series ranked 5th in the FEI World Rankings. This pair will enter the International Ring with their eyes on the prize, and will certainly be the “ones to watch” at the ‘North American’.
Canada's Eric Lamaze will be back with impressive partnerships which have developed within the past year. His mount Powerplay has shown great progress since the duo first appeared in the International Ring together in 2013, and now appears to be ready to “kick it up a notch”. Lamaze and Powerplay have earned 2 FEI wins thus far in the 2014 jumping season, and the ‘North American’ will set the pair up for new and greater challenges.
Lamaze, along with the likes of Conor Swail (IRL), Quentin Judge (USA), Jaime Azcaraza (MEX), and other veteran stars such as Rich Fellers (USA), and Richard Spooner (USA) are certain to be at their full stride at this stage of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. All have been experiencing tremendous seasons thus far and will look to build on that success this week at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament.
Outside the competitive arena, the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ has evolved into a spectacular celebration that is rich in tradition, pageantry and entertainment. This year’s edition has all of the ingredients to march in the “first rank.”
Visitors can wander the grounds in their full summer splendor and enjoy the tranquility of the park-like setting or the fervor of the Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs or the spectacular Dock Dogs, appearing at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ for the first time.
This same open public invitation applies to enjoy the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians. Only here is the “Lord Straths” traditional horse power complimented by the regiment’s Historic Military Vehicle Display which includes an operational Leopard Tank.
The Lord Strathcona’s will join forces on both Saturday and Sunday for Royal Command Performances of their famed Musical Ride and the Feu de Joie of the Hundred Man Guard in the Spruce Meadows International Ring.
Feu de Joie Performed on the International Ring
Throughout the ‘North American’ the beautification of Spruce Meadows will continue as the Lower Plaza has been redesigned, with the inclusion of the new CP Canada House building. The International Plaza now continues to flow up into the Upper Plaza, hosting entertainment, pony rides, prairie dog features, Marketplace shopping, International Flavours and much more. Going forward this will be the locations of the new Founders’ Plaza, celebration our 40th Anniversary.
The Military Museums exhibit on the Plaza tells the story of our military heritage with samples of military artifacts, uniforms, handouts and interactive displays. The Calgary Fiddlers and What Goes Up… Juggling productions, and the always popular Pony Rides are on site as feature entertainment.
The excitement of the “back stretch” of the Spruce Meadows Summer Tour begins today.
It’s yours to enjoy!
Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services. They may only be used in relation to this press release and with photo credit.