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©Kenneth Kraus/ The course for the American Invitational, always one of the toughest tests in equestrian sport, will be designed, as always, by 2008 Olympic Course Designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida

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Equestrian Stars Line-Up for 2013 American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm

Written by: Kenneth Kraus
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2013-04-01

Tampa, FL – April 2, 2013 -  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 coming together 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 American 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 courses of massive jumps, designed by Olympic Course Designer, Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida.

This year’s line-up is headlined by United States Olympians McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Reed Kessler, Laura Kraut, Lauren Hough, Leslie Howard, and Margie Engle.

Both Ward and Madden were teammates on two consecutive United States Gold Medal Olympic teams in Athens and in Hong Kong. Laura Kraut, a member of the team that struck gold in Hong Kong, also competed for the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Sidney, Australia. Leslie Howard, meanwhile, won Gold and Silver when she competed for the United States at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and Atlanta in 1984 and 1996, respectively.

Madden and Ward will both try and add their names to the American Invitational trophy for a third time. Madden led the victory gallop in 2005 and 2007 on Authentic, while Ward was a winner in 1998 on Twist du Valon and again in 2008 on his great mare, Sapphire. Howard scored a Tampa win back in 1984 on Albany.

On the other hand, Laura Kraut, with an amazing record of nearly one hundred career grand prix wins all over the world, is still searching for her first win at Raymond James Stadium.

America’s all-time winningest rider, with over 200 grand prix victories, Margie Engle, was a member of the Sydney Olympic team along with Lauren Hough. Reed Kessler, America’s youngest equestrian Olympian ever, was a member of last year’s London Olympic squad along with Madden and Ward. Charlie Jayne, also competing at this year’s American Invitational, was the alternate rider for the London Olympics.

Joining the Olympians is Pan Am Games Individual Gold Medalist Christine McCrea.

Top American riders Todd Minikus, Aaron Vale, Candice King, Schuyler Riley, Lauren Tisbo, Charlie Jacobs, Hillary Simpson, Saer Coulter and Jessica Springsteen are also scheduled to compete.

Minikus, the 1997 American Invitational champion, with over a hundred grand prix wins to his credit, most recently rode to victory in the $50,000 Live Oak Grand Prix near Ocala just a week ago. Charlie Jacobs was a grand prix winner at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington and Aaron Vale, with over one hundred and fifty career victories, comes in after posting a win recently at HITS Ocala.  Schuyler Riley won the American Invitational in 2000 aboard Ilian. 

This year’s American Invitational will have an exciting international flair to it as well, with competitors from New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and Brazil dotting the roster.

Irish rider Shane Sweetnam leads the Irish contingent to Tampa, a group that also includes Darragh Kerins and Richard Maloney. Sweetnam, Maloney and Kerins have all competed for Ireland in the Super League series in Europe and Sweetnam was a winner of the $101,000 Pennfield Grand Prix in Wellington just two weeks ago.

Sharn Wordley represents New Zealand, Scott Kreach rides for Australia and Brazil will be represented by Carlos Ribas.

The Mane Event Kick-Off Party will start at 4:00pm in Lot 5 of Raymond James Stadium with great fun for kids of all ages. There will be face painting and a Horseless Horse Show presented by JustWorld International, as well as autograph and photo opportunities. The gates open at 6:00 pm. with a traditional course walk for the public. The Opening Ceremonies get underway at 7:00 p.m. with the Parade of Tampa Equestrian Festival Series Champions and a special tribute to "Our Heroes." The first horse will show over the course beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets for the Saturday night spectacular are on sale now, online at: Ticket prices $30, $25, $15, Group Discounts for 10 or more persons.

Tickets on sale now at

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

American Invitational Champions over the Years

1973 $15,000 American Invitational

Rodney Jenkins & Idle Dice

1974 $15,000 American Invitational

Michelle McEvoy & Sundance

1975 $15,000 American Invitational

Michelle McEvoy & Sundance

1976 $15,000 American Invitational

Robert Ridland & Southside

1977 $15,000 American Invitational

Terry Rudd & Mr. Demeanor

1978 $25,000 American Invitational

Norman Dello Joio &Allegro

1979 $30,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Rodney Jenkins & Third Man

1980 $35,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Bernie Traurig & Eaden Vale

1981 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Buddy Brown & Felton

1982 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Melanie Smith & Calypso

1983 $50,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Katie Monahan & Noren

1984 $100,000 Anheuser-Busch American Invitational

Leslie Burr & Albany

1985 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Katie Monahan & The Governor

1986 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Tim Grubb & Linky

1987 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Lisa Jacquin & For The Moment

1988 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Katie Monahan-Prudent & Special Envoy

1989 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

Greg Best & Gem Twist

1990 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

David Raposa & Seven Wonder

1991 $100,000 Michelob American Invitational

George Lindemann & Three’s & Seven’s

1992 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Ian Millar & Big Ben

1993 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Debbie Stephens & Volan

1994 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Michael Matz & Rhum IV

1995 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Chris Kappler & Seven Wonder

1996 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Harold Chopping & Brandy

1997 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Todd Minikus & Ravel

1998 $100,000 Budweiser American Invitational

McLain Ward & Twist Du Valon

1999 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Marley Goodman & Canyon *

2000 $150,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Schuyler Riley & Ilian

2001 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin

2002 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Molly Ashe & Kroon Gravin

2003 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Chris Kappler & Royal Kaliber

2004 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Norman Dello Joio & Glasgow

2005 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Beezie Madden & Authentic

2006 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Rodrigo Pessoa & Baloubet De Rouet

2007 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Beezie Madden & Authentic

2008 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

McLain Ward & Sapphire

2009 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational

Chris Kappler & VDL Oranta

2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational

Armani & Jeffery Welles

2011 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational

Uceko & Kent Farrington

2012 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational

Cella and Mario Deslauriers


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