The Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) competition reached its peak in Traverse City on Friday, September 17, as the fifth stop of the exciting tour saw its eight teams battle for a part of the more than 6 million dollars in prizes offered throughout its 10 2021 events. In an intense race to the finish line through three fierce heats of sport, it’s the Team Crusaders, made up of Molly Ashe Cawley, Shawn Casady and Peter Leone , who climbed to the top step of the podium at the end of the class.
The team competition format involves the three riders of the eight teams competing on the course of the first round to determine the best four teams which qualify for the second round. The second speed phase of the tour introduces two of the three team members to jump their mounts again. At the end of the second round, the fourth and third place teams will then offer the remaining team member for a play-off to determine who will wear the bronze medal. The teams placed in second and first position then send their third rider to the jump-off for the silver and gold medals.
Irishman Alan Wade designed the 12-effort first-round course for each member of the eight teams. Coming in with confidence after securing victory in the final round of the Toronto leg of the circuit, the AIM United team were the first to try their hand at the first-round course. However, teammates Andrew Welles (United States), Sydney Shulman (ISR) and Catherine Tyree (United States) scored an unfortunate 16 points on the scoreboard with a combined time of 216.42 seconds. The Road Runners were next on the course, finishing their three outings in 218.98 seconds with just 8 faults under their belt. Team Eye Candy followed soon after, posting 12 fouls on the scoreboard in 222.79 seconds. The Otomi Warriors also made 12 fouls, which finished the course in a total of 223.34 seconds. The Blazing 7 proved to be a force, registering just 4 fouls in 224.65 seconds before the Diamond Devils put in a spectacular flawless effort in their team in 223.24 seconds. At the end of the first round competition, the Lucky Charms were forced to retire when one of their runners failed to complete the course, and the Crusaders narrowly made their way into the top four. teams with a 12 foul finish in 221.13 seconds, making them the fastest of the 12 wobbles. At the end of the first round, the Diamond Devils, Blazing 7, Road Runners and Crusaders were determined to move on to the second round.
As each team progressed through the second round, the speed phase converted to fouls resulted in a reshuffle of the top teams. The Crusaders, represented by Leone and Casady, were the first on the course, posting a combined team time of 124.17 seconds with Casady’s four fouls taken into account. Christian Heineking and Erin Davis-Heineking of the Road Runner finished the course in a team time of 127.26 seconds with their 12 fouls taken into account. Lauren Hough and Chandler Meadows were next to compete for a gold or bronze jump-off for the Blazing 7s. Hough and Meadows rolled two rails on the ground, putting them on a team total of 129.69 seconds. An unfortunate separation of horse and rider for the Diamond Devils left the team out of action for the gold medal jump-off.
After the second round, it was determined that the Diamond Devils and Blazing 7s would qualify for bronze, while the Road Runners and Crusaders would qualify for gold and silver. First for the Diamond Devils, Kristen Vanderveen put the pedal to the metal, finishing the course in 62.35 seconds with three more seconds to have the last rail down on the course. Cara Raether Carey entered the arena, hoping to beat Vanderveen’s time to secure the bronze medal for her Blazing 7s. Two less rails on the course, however, would translate to a time of 65.89 seconds, giving the Diamond Devils the bronze medal on the podium. separate who would wear gold and who would wear silver. Adrienne Sternlicht was the first to appear in representation of the Road Runners. Sternlicht turned and made his way across the track, but rolled a rail on the ground to finish in 58.99 seconds, leaving the door wide open for the Crusaders to take the lead. The last athlete to try his hand at the course was Cawley for the Crusaders. In a valiant last effort, Cawley pushed his way through the course, hitting a rail to level the playing field, but narrowly beating Sternlicht’s time to finish in 58.76 seconds with his faults taken into account, ultimately taking victory for the Crusaders and leaving the Road Runners in the silver medal position. The Major League Show Jumping competition concludes on Saturday, September 18 with the $ 36,600 Cabana Coast Large Tour Grand Prix at 1.45m CSI2 * taking place at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Arena. The MLSJ League will continue its tour with its sixth stop taking place in Caledon, Canada, September 23-26, 2021.
Source: Press release