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Beezie Madden, right, pictured with Michael Morrissey

Kent Farrington and Uceko were the winners of the 2011 American Invitational   JLP

Reed Kessler and Katie Prudent will both compete in the American Invitational

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Star Studded Line-Up for 2012 Gene Mische American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm

Written by: Kenneth Kraus /
Client: American Invitational
Release Date: 2012-04-02

Tampa, FL – April 3, 2012 - - With this year’s edition of the $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational, presented by G & C Farms, less than a week away, the line-up for the Saturday night showdown is all set, and this year’s roster of riders, as expected, includes another magnificent array of the world’s best equestrians, all trying to win America’s most challenging test of equestrian skill.

The fortieth edition of the Invitational, the “Super Bowl of Show Jumping,” takes place on Saturday night at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, home to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gates open at 6:00pm, opening ceremonies are at 7:00pm and show jumping starts at 8:00pm.

The American Invitational, year after year, offers up one of the most spectacular settings for show jumping, with a loud and enthusiastic audience and one of the most beautiful, yet toughest course of massive jumps, designed by Olympic Course Designer, Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida.

This year’s line-up is headlined by defending champion Kent Farrington and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Beezie Madden. Joining Madden (right, with Stadium Jumping’s Michael Morrissey) and Farrington will be Olympic Gold medalist Laura Kraut and America’s winningest grand prix rider of all time, Margie Engle, with 197 career grand prix victories.

The future of American show jumping will be represented in great style as seventeen year-old Reed Kessler, is scheduled to compete on Saturday night as well. Kessler, just a week ago in Wellington, Florida, topped the list of riders emerging from the U.S. Olympic Selection Trials for the London Olympic Games, and she and Margie Engle tied for the top spot in the hard fought U.S. National Show Jumping Championship that same week.

In what should be a fascinating match-up, Kessler will be competing against her veteran trainer, Katie Prudent (left, with student Reed Kessler), who if she can pull off the win on Saturday night, will become the first ever four-time winner of the American Invitational. Prudent rode to victory in Tampa in 1983, 1985 and again in 1988.

Speaking of youth, Nicholas Dello Joio joins the competition on Saturday and will try and follow in his famous father’s footsteps. Norman Dello Joio, an Olympic Bronze medalist, has scored two American Invitational victories during his career, in 1978 and again in 2004.

The youth movement also includes North American Young Rider Individual Gold Medalist, Katie Dinan, a two-time winner at the Winter Equestrian Festival this season.

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden will try and add her name to the trophy for a third time, having led the victory gallop in 2005 and 2007. On the other hand, her Hong Kong Gold Medal teammate, Laura Kraut, with an amazing record of 94 career grand prix wins all over the world, is still searching for her first win at Raymond James Stadium.

Kent Farrington, meanwhile, will try and become only the third rider in the forty year history of the event to win in back to back years. That was done once early in 1974 and 1975 when Michelle McEvoy (Grubb) won two years in a row and then again in 2001 and 2002 when Molly Ashe-Cawley duplicated the difficult feat. Ashe-Cawley will be in the line-up on Saturday night, trying to become one of those rare three-time winners.

1984 American Invitational champion, Olympian Leslie Howard will be making a Tampa appearance on Saturday night, and she’ll be joined by top veteran Mario Deslauriers, a Canadian Olympic veteran, who is now an American citizen and has competed successfully for the United States at the World Equestrian Games and on the Super League tour in Europe.

Venezuela Olympian Pablo Barrios headlines a list of foreign riders that include Angela Covert-Lawrence of Canada, Paulo Santana of Brazil, Tina Fletcher of Great Britain, Darragh Kerins, Kevin Babington and Darragh Kenny of Ireland and Maria Hecart of France.

Also scheduled to compete on Saturday night are Candice King, Jimmy Torano, Callan Solem, Aaron Vale, Megan Edrick, Charlie Jacobs, Catherine Pasmore, Cara Raether, Charlie Jayne and California’s Richard Spooner.
Prior to the start of this year’s big show, the Mane Event will take place in Parking Lot #5, beginning at 2:30 p.m. with the Just World Horseless Horse Show.

Also, don’t miss the Tampa Bay BUCKS Mechanical Bull-Riding Championship, with cash prizes for the winners, plus fun shopping and fun food for all of the family.

Gates open 6:00 p.m. and as always, the public will be invited on to the floor of Raymond James Stadium for the traditional American Invitational course walk. The event will also include the Parade of Champions and the Parade of Breeds and the exciting half-time entertainment includes the Show Jumping Hall of Fame induction ceremony and a high voltage performance by Equine Extremist Tommie Turvey.

Tickets on sale now at

For more information, call (800) 237-8924.


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