Victoria Colvin and Way Cool Are Best In The WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

February 20, 2012



Wellington, Florida, February 20 – It all came down to the final rider—Victoria Colvin. And in a nail-biting finish, the youngest rider competing in the $50,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular claimed an impressive victory over all challengers under the lights of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena on February 18.

With nerves of steel, Colvin, 14, guided Betsee Parker’s Way Cool to a beautiful second-round performance that pushed her total to 180.06 points to defeat defending champion Louise Serio, 57, aboard Castle Rock who earned 178.37. As icing on the cake, Colvin also claimed third aboard Scott Stewart’s Inclusive with 177.25.

Three-time victor Liza Towell Boyd, 32, placed fourth aboard Brunello (177.12) and sixth with Casallo (175.74), while Come Monday and Christa Endicott, the inaugural winners of the Peter Wetherill Cup, placed fifth with 176.75.

The 16th annual $50,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular was a featured event of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival circuit Week 6 and drew 32 entries that qualified to compete after showing in the week’s junior, amateur and professional hunter sections.

Course designer Skip Bailey set the tracks for the two-round classic, and judges Jim Clapperton, Scott Fitton, Karen Healey, Mary Lisa Leffler, Scott Williamson, Bill Moroney, Patrick Rodes and Dee Thomas presided.

Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, trains with four-time WCHR Professional Champion Scott Stewart and qualified Way Cool for the class after earning the reserve championship in the Antares Large Junior Hunter, 15 and Under, section. Colvin was champion in the section with Inclusive.

As Serio and Boyd looked on with surprise, Colvin smiled and admitted that she never gets nervous when asked if she felt pressure going into the ring as the final rider. Despite facing a veteran professional and the defending champion, Colvin wasn’t fazed.

“I don't get nervous,” she said with a smile. “I didn't feel any pressure. My mom is the one who gets nervous, and I think Scott gets a bit nervous, too.”

If Colvin was concerned with anything, she said it was with Way Cool’s energy level. The 10-year-old Hanoverian had competed in the juniors earlier in the day. “I thought [my second round] was good,” she said. “I hoped he would pick up his feet. I thought I was going to have a rail because he was very tired, but he was perfect.”

Serio, Kennett Square, PA, said Castle Rock was on his game, as usual. "He’s so reliable and just knows his job,” she said of the 13-year-old gelding owned by Bryan Baldwin. “I was confident going into my rounds that he was going to be sharp. He’s unbelievable to ride, and he walks into the ring and wants to win. It’s an amazing feeling to have a horse like that.”

Boyd, Camden, SC, also credited her veteran Brunello with his consistency. The winners of the class in 2010, they led the way after the first round, but couldn’t quite maintain the momentum.

“He felt amazing. He really shines under the lights,” she said. “He was definitely a bit tired for the second round. He made such a hard effort and jumped every jump out in the first round.”

Riders earning championships or reserve championships in the 3’6” and higher rated hunter sections qualified for the $50,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular, with additional riders qualifying based on points if the qualified riders chose not to compete or were pre-qualified. In addition, riders also qualified based on their 2011 standings in the WCHR national awards programs.

Other special awards presented included the week’s high-score honors: professional—Louise Serio, 90; junior—Victoria Colvin, 95; amateur—tie, Katie Robinson and Heather Hooker, 88. Emerging Professional Sarah Mechlin earned the Champion Equine Insurance Trophy for her high score of 84 in the Green Conformation Hunter Section with Well Adjusted, owned by Melissa Ziegler.

Following the first round of competition, Costar, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, was presented with the Mark Gregory Memorial Award as the Best Conditioned horse in Round 1. Casallo, owned by Erin McGuire and ridden by Elizabeth Boyd, earned the Charlie Weaver Memorial Award as the highest-scoring Conformation Hunter in Round 1 with an 87.87.

Two special retirement ceremonies started the evening, with Alise Oken’s Take Away and Rachel Geiger’s Dream Date having their shoes pulled in center ring. Both horses had long and illustrious careers in the professional, junior and amateur hunter sections, including many WCHR honors along the way.

The USHJA would like to thank its generous sponsors for the 2012 WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular, including Blue Ribbon Custom Blankets by Royal Riders--The Official Cooler of the WCHR, Beresford Gallery--Award donor to the winner of the Peter Wetherill Cup, and the many donors who supported the VIP Gala.

In addition, the inaugural WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular Calcutta raised more than $12,000 for the USHJA Foundation. The winning bidders, Carl and Rush Weeden, graciously donated their winnings back to the Foundation. A champagne toast to the late Peter Wetherill also served to recognize his contributions to the WCHR and the lasting legacy he leaves in the sport.

Final Results: The $50,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

HORSE/RIDER/OWNER/SCORE
1. WAY COOL/VICTORIA COLVIN/88.56 + 91.50 = 180.06
2. CASTLE ROCK/LOUISE SERIO/88.12 + 90.25 = 178.37
3. INCLUSIVE/VICTORIA COLVIN/88.25 + 89.00 = 177.25
4. BRUNELLO/ELIZABETH BOYD/89.37 + 87.75 = 177.12
5. COME MONDAY/CHRISTA ENDICOTT/87.75 + 89.00 = 176.75
6. CASALLO/ELIZABETH BOYD/87.87 + 87.87 = 175.74
7. ENJOY/SCOTT STEWART/87.50 + 87.56 = 175.06
8. GOOD HUMOR/JOHN FRENCH/86.00+ 86.12 = 172.12
9. TAKEN/KELLEY FARMER/87.12 + 84.25 = 171.37
10. ROCK STEADY/KATIE ROBINSON/84.37 + 85.93 = 170.30
11. WINTER PLACE/SCHAEFER RAPOSA/84.37 + 84.50 = 68.87
12. SIENNA/PATRICIA GRIFFITH/83.75 + 84.50 = 168.25

Photo Credit: Victoria Colvin and Way Cool won the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo ©Tricia Booker/USHJA Archive. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release. For high-resolution images, please send request to wallen@ushja.org.

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