[Calgary, Alberta] The heat turned up in a number of ways during the Rocky Mountain Classic II tournament at Anderson Ranch on Saturday, August 18th Not only did Mother Nature turn up the heat, a field of 26 sets of athletes competed for the largest purse ever offered by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.
That prize money was easily the catalyst that turned up the heat on a gripping competition, the $100,000 CSI 2* Oil Patch Grand Prix, presented by The Wood Automotive Group of Calgary, made up of Woodridge Ford Lincoln, Okotoks Ford Lincoln, and Advantage Ford.
King and Capone I over fence 11a. Photo ©Briarwood Photography
Just like the Wood Automotive Group, performance was the name of the game. Out of that field of 26 looking for the biggest piece of the $100,000 prize, an exciting jump-off was to ensue with 8 horse and rider combinations jumping clear and moving forward. Those 8 combinations consisted of 8 horses and 7 riders, as Canada’s Tamie Phillips was clear aboard both of her mounts, giving her two rolls of the dice in the jump off.
It can certainly be advantageous to go last in the jump off, but sometimes the best position can be coming back first. If you go clean and fast, it can put a lot of pressure on those remaining to try to catch you, and with their desire for the faster time it can produce rails. The “Cinderella Position” of being last is always a crowd favourite, but then so is the point of “catch me if you can” of going first and forcing others to overtake you.
The course in the first round was challenging, however considering the purse on the line it was expected. The first of the 8 to qualify, and hence the first to pull the trigger in the jump off, was America’s Kyle King and his fairly new reunion with an old friend, the stallion Capone I. These two have been off and on partners ever since Kyle introduced Capone 1 to his first ever Grand Prix 9 years ago. Kyle has been consistently in the top ribbons over the two weeks, but he is not unbeatable.
Some riders love to go first in the jump off to put their strategy into place, other riders like to hold their cards a little bit closer and want to be in the later stages of the jump off. For Kyle it never seems to matter to him as his strategy and plan to win is always at the fore front and he puts it all on the line. Kyle went first in the 8 horse jump off, was clear with a fast time, learning from a minor mistake he had made the other night.
“The jump off rode beautiful, very open and sprawling and I just hit his good rhythm. I learned my lesson the other night when I thought I was a little bit slow at the beginning and had a vertical down at the angle.” said Kyle. “So tonight I gave him a little bit more room and a good tug off the ground at the verticals. I knew when I left that I felt that nobody was going to be able to touch the time.”
He was bang on with his strategy for the rest to try to catch him. Kyle’s clear round score and a time of 47.22 seconds would not be beat. Only two time Olympian Jonathan Asselin had a faster time of 46.93, but could not keep the fences up with that speed and ended up in 5th.
Only one other rider was perfect aboard two horses and that was the talented Tamie Phillips. She qualified both Kumano and Lerche 37 for the jump off round. Tamie ending up second and sixth on her horses respectively. “I had to go first on Kumano, and I just love that little horse. He jumped fantastic, had one down and and I'm totally ok with that. Didn’t think that it would hold up for second., but it did,” declared Tamie. “Lerche 37 has been amazing both weeks, she just ran out of steam towards the jump off, but I am so pleased with her, actually so pleased with all my horses.”
Another one of those in the jump off had the wind taken out of his sails early on over the jump off course. “I was extremely happy with Terrific, the rust is coming off, mind you, I didn’t need to the first fence down, it really miffed me, because I want to win,” noted John Anderson, President of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. "My father was on hand today, and he has been having some health issues, so I was really riding for him. People have to realize that if it wasn't for my folks, none of this would be happening here today," added Anderson.
Talking to some of the riders at the tournament, there seemed to be a common buzz in the air. The fantastic footing and the course designers on hand for the two weeks made the tournament that much better for everyone. It was an amazing two weeks of competition, the prize money outstanding and just a fun and festive venue. “I tell you, it was a wonderful day today, it is the most stressful day all year because today is when we pay tribute to the people who make this possible, and that is our fine family of sponsors,” stated John. “So there is that added stress to me while the competition goes on, it makes it a little tougher to ride.”
As the sun set on Anderson Ranch and the fourth of five days completed, the day was not quite ended as the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping exhibitor party was just getting into swing with a live band and dancing. A great way to wind down an action packed day. As always, things just keep getting better and better in the Rockies for the sport of show jumping.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is one of Canada’s premiere show jumping destinations. Its tournaments are held at Anderson Ranch in Calgary’s south end, a world-class facility featuring permanent stabling for 300 horses and a grass grand prix field complete with natural obstacles. For more information on Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, please visit www.rmshowjumping.com.
Top Ten - $100,000 Oil Patch Grand Prix
Rider | Horse | Nation | First Round Faults | Jumpoff Faults | Jumpoff Time
- Kyle King | Capone I | USA | 0 | 0 | 47.22
- Tamie Phillips | Kumano | CAN | 0 | 4 | 51.97
- John C Anderson | Terrific | CAN | 0 | 4 | 56.65
- Lisa Carlsen | Worlds Judgment | CAN | 8 | 51.92
- Jonathan Asselin | Makovoy | CAN | 12 | 46.93
- Liz Ashton | Wedding Day | CAN | 0 | 12 | 53.11
- Tracey Epp | Santee | CAN | 0 | 12 | EL
- Jonathan Asselin | Showgirl | CAN | 1
- Marshall Whyte | Quinlan | CAN | 4