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Leo Conroy

Sue Ashe

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Judges Announced for $1 Million 2014 Gulf Coast Winter Classics

Written by: Emily Riden
Client: Gulf Coast Winter Classics
Release Date: 2013-11-25

Gulfport, MS – November 25, 2013 – From February 5 to March 16, 2014 the Gulf Coast Winter Classics provides riders with top competition and prize money, a beautiful venue, southern hospitality and an impressive line-up of judges. Among that judges line-up for 2014 are skilled hunter judges Sue Ashe, Thom Brede, Jim Clapperton, Leo Conroy, Joe Darby, Scott Evans, Rob Bielefeld, Tucker Erickson, Scott Fitton, Scott Hoffstetter, Jimmy Lee, Brian Lenehan, Kevin Lenehan, Alan Lohman, Betsy Perry, Tony Sgarlata, William Sparks, Skip Thornbury, Steve Walls, Kim Williams, Scott Williamson and Chris Wynne.

Over the course of the six weeks of competition at the Harrison County Fairgrounds and Equestrian Center, the Gulf Coast Winter Classics will give away more than $1,000,000 in prize money throughout a wide range of classes including a weekly grand prix and a weekly USHJA National or International Hunter Derby.

Judges presiding over the first week of competition, February 5-9, 2014, include Sue Ashe, Skip Thornbury and Chris Wynne.

Successful as rider, trainer and judge, Ashe has judged at top shows all across the country, and she has been a judge of the Gulf Coast Winter Classics since the circuit’s inception. Ashe looks forward to returning to Gulfport, MS again this year.

“The show staff has done such a good job promoting and improving everything,” Ashe said. “They’ve got great footing; the staff is great. It’s just a nice place to work and nice people to work for.”

Taking to the judges’ stand during week two, running February 12-16, 2014 are Thom Brede, Jimmy Lee, Kevin Lenehan and Tony Sgarlata. Alan Lohman, William Sparks, Steve Walls and Kim Williams will preside as the judges during week three, to be held February 19-23, 2014.

Heading into the second half of the circuit, Joe Darby, Scott Fitton, Scott Hoffstetter and Scott Williamson will judge the fourth week of hunter competition, February 26-March 2, 2014. From March 5-9, 2014, the week five judges will include Rob Bielefeld, Jim Clapperton, Leo Conroy and Brian Lenehan.

Conroy, Lenehan and all of the Gulf Coast Classics judges have judged extensively throughout the nation. For Conroy, that includes having judged such prestigious events as the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show, the Hampton Classic and more, but he looks forward to judging the Gulf Coast Classics this year.

“I go to quite a few horse shows in a year, so to have one stand out is a rarity, but I was so impressed,” Conroy said of his first time judging the Gulf Coast Classics last year. “The facility is great; the grand prix ring is beautiful, and there are plenty of places to ride.”

Brian Lenehan has been a part of judging at the Gulf Coast Classics since the show’s inception, and he has watched it continually grow into the impressive horse show that it is today.

“Over the years, the thing that impressed me the most, was not only the time and the money that they put into it, but with this show, they’ve built up the whole equestrian business in that south central part of the country,” Lenehan said. “Bob Bell has done a really great job with it.”

Rounding out the judges panel during the sixth and final week of the top AA-rated show circuit are judges Scott Evans, Tucker Erickson, Scott Fitton and Betsy Perry.

To learn more about all that the Gulf Coast Winter Classics have to offer and to view the complete prize list visit

The USHJA Member’s Choice award-recipient horse shows will feature weekly grand prix classes, a USHJA International Hunter Derby, Pre-Green Incentive Classes, jumper classics, a jumper derby, USHJA National Hunter Derbies and much, much more.

Outside of the show ring, competitors are invited to enjoy the Gulf Coast Classic Company’s legendary exhibitor parties, an indoor riders’ lounge, pizza Saturdays, happy hour Mondays and all of the fabulous amenities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Gulf Coast Winter Classics Fast Facts:

Gulf Coast Winter Classics USEF AA-Rated/Jumper Levels Four and Five

Harrison County Fairgrounds and Equestrian Center
15321 County Farm Rd.
Gulfport, MS 39503

February 5 - March 16, 2014

Highlights Include: 
Weekly USHJA National Hunter Derby & Classics, Week 5 International Hunter Derby
Week 1  $  5,000 Welcome - $25,000 Grand Prix
Week 2  $25,000 Welcome - $35,000 Grand Prix
Week 3  $25,000 Welcome - $50,000 Grand Prix
Week 4  $25,000 Welcome - $50,000 Grand Prix
Week 5  $25,000 Welcome - $77,000 Grand Prix, $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Week 6  $  5,000 Welcome - $25,000 Grand Prix, Plus Rodeo.

President Bob Bell                                       843.768.5503
Coordinator Janet McCarroll          228.669.2687
Office Manager Jonathan Rabon             843.729.2818
Advertising Drew Coster                             843.754.2266
Stabling Tissy Principe                    843.768.5503
Sponsorship Lisa Enge                                 908.310.6248

Book Your Lodging for Gulf Coast Winter Classics
Equestrian Travel               (800) GOGALLUP (855-464-2556)


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