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Gochman Family Sponsors International Hunter Derby; Debuts All-New Rafael Sportsmanship Trophy at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Written by: Courtesy of Client
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-02

Traverse City, MI - July 2, 2015 - The traditional generosity of the Gochman family is on display once again, this time at the debut of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Traverse City, Michigan this July with their sponsorship of the $25,000 International Hunter Derby. Also at the festival, in order to celebrate the monumental life of their show pony, Rafael, who passed away this April, the Gochmans are coupling this sponsorship with the inception of the all-new "Rafael Sportsmanship Perpetual Trophy."




The Gochman family has frequented Traverse City as a vacation destination for numerous years, making it a remarkably special place for them to award the first annual trophy.


"We appreciate the extra care that is given to the blossoming show grounds and surrounding areas here, and we love how various members of the town gather on the side of the hill to watch the derby," mother and respected equestrian Becky Gochman stated. "It's the ideal family show. The location is perfectly balanced for a family vacation, being that our kids are able to spend an equal amount of time at the horse show and on the lake."


"We are so grateful to the Gochman family for sponsoring the $25,000 Hunter Derby," said ­­Michael Morrissey, the President of Stadium Jumping, Inc. . "I think it's a wonderful gesture to memorialize their late pony, Rafael, and the award becomes even more special when you realize it's honoring sportsmanship among our youngest riders. We welcome them to our family of sponsors."


The 2015 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will be held at Flintfields Horse Park, located at 6535 Bates Road in Williamsburg, Michigan on July 1 through July 26th.


The new series of world-class equestrian events are scheduled to run four weeks: July 1-5, July 8-12, July 15-19 and July 22-26, 2015.


The summer series will be highlighted by:

  • Weekly $5,000 National Hunter Derby
  • Weekly $25,000 Jumper Classic
  • Week 1 $50,000 Grand Prix
  • Week 2 $50,000 Grand Prix
  • Week 3 $50,000 Grand Prix
  • Week 4 $50,000 Grand Prix
  • Week 4 $25,000 USHJA International Hunter  Derby

The Gochman children Sophie and Mimi grew up riding Rafael, and he has had a long-lasting affect on not just them, but all of the young riders who were granted the privilege of learning from him.


"Rafael was such a great pony; no matter what level of rider was placed on him he put his full heart into every task at hand," Gochman stated, expressing her undying admiration for the late pony. "We would like to commemorate his life with a trophy that honors a special child rider that shows remarkable horsemanship, persistent spirit, and true love of their pony." To further celebrate Rafael's life, the Gochmans will be hosting a pizza and ice cream party throughout the duration of the Derby for bystanders to enjoy.


Morrisssey continued, discussing the all-new Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. "We hope to bring to Traverse City what should be America's most exciting summer stop on the equestrian show jumping tour," he said. "Have four great weeks to work with in Michigan allows us the creativity to make this both an exhibitor friendly experience as well as a real delight for spectators that want to come out and spend an hour, an afternoon or a weekend watching exciting show jumping action in a fabulous atmosphere."


The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival debuts at the Flintfields Horse Park, located at 6535 Bates Road in Williamsburg, Michigan, just 10 miles east from the beautiful resort town of Traverse City, on July 1st and runs through July 26th with four separate horse shows.


More about the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is the perfect venue to prepare for this year's Pan American Games, which will be held at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, just outside of Toronto, Canada. Show jumping during the Pan-Am Games runs fromJuly 17- 25. The close proximity (just 430 miles) makes Great Lakes Equestrian Festival a convenient half-day drive to the Pan-Am Games venue and provides three great weeks prep time in Michigan's very similar climate. Add to that world-class course designers, including Michele Vaillancourt, Leopoldo Palacios, Bernardo Costa Cabral and Keith Bollotte, on hand to build thoughtful, innovative and challenging tracks makes Great Lakes Equestrian Festival the ideal summer competition to get ready to go for the Gold.







July 1-5

July 8-12

July 15-19

July 22-26




A four-week long hunter and jumper equestrian festival.




Weekly $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Weekly $25,000 Jumper Classic

Weekly $50,000 Grand Prix

Week 4 $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby 




Flintfields Horse Park, 6535 Bates Road, Williamsburg, MI 49690 - 10 miles east from the beautiful Resort town of Traverse City.




Amanda O'Neil - Great Wolf Lodge



Reservations: 1.888.981.9653


Margaret Morse - Park Place Hotel 


Reservations: 231.946.5000


Ric Heller - Fairfield Inn Traverse City  

Main line: 231.922.7900


Nick Trahair - AmericInn 

Main: 231.938.0288


J. Mike DeAgostino - Grand Traverse Resort and Spa 

Reservations: 1-800-748-0303


Lori Puckett - Courtyard by Marriott  

Main: 231.929.1800


Sleep Inn 

Main: 231.938.7000


Quality Inn - Pam 


Reservations: 1.877.329.1538


Kristin Toedebusch - Cherry Tree Inn  


Reservations: 1.800.439.3093


Mike Norton - Media Relations for Traverse City Tourism 



Sarah Barnard - Traverse City Tourism  





Matt Morrissey - 

Brooke Berganza - 

Ainsley Bernstein -  




Stadium Jumping Inc.

1301 6th Ave. West Suite 406

Bradenton, FL 34205





Phelps Media Group, Inc.

12012 South Shore Blvd.

Suite 102

Wellington, FL 33414

Tel: 561-753-3389

Fax: 561-753-3386


Web site:  



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