American competitors reign supreme on day one 

The first day of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ tournament had a U.S. flavour to it.

While individual competitors from many countries were able to make their mark on day one, the competitors representing “The Star-Spangled Banner” made by far the biggest impact winning 13 out of the 18 total events.

The biggest winner for the U.S. was two-time Olympic champion McLain Ward. Ward won the Back on Track Cup and the Bantrel Cup, picking up an $8500 prize for both wins. He was not able to go three-for-three by winning the most lucrative event of the day the ATB Financial Cup. Canadian Eric Lamaze was the winner of the trophy and the $28,500 first place prize that comes with winning the ATB Financial Cup.

Ward actually maneuvered his way through the ATB Financial Cup course quicker than Lamaze, but finished in second place due to committing a jumping fault while Lamaze and his horse had a clean run.McLain Ward (right) of the United States was the big winner on day one of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’ tournament winning two major events. Here he is hoisting his Bantrel Cup with some assistance from Bantrel Constructors president Mark Timler.

Photo by Quinton Amundson

Ward’s victories on day one add to the 38-year-old’s long legacy of success at Spruce Meadows.

“It is always great coming to Spruce Meadows,” Ward said to the crowd at the conclusion of his Back on Track Cup victory. “The facilities look fantastic and the competition gets better and better every year.”

Calgarians achieve early success at Spruce Meadows

While Jillian Halina, of Edmonton, was the only Canadian other than Lamaze to win a championship— by virtue of winning the Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.00m event—there were strong performances put forth by Canadians, particularly Calgarians.

There were multiple people from Calgary that were able to earn a top-five finish in the events they competed in. These competitors are:

3rd- Darren Dlin: Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.30m event;
3rd- Breanne McCallister: Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.25m event
3rd- Sarah Moss: Friends of the Meadows Junior/Amateur Welcome 1.10m event
3rd- Jenna Thompson: Friends of the Meadow Welcome 1.20m event 

4th- Carolyn Anderson: Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.25m event                                          4th- Vanessa Mannix: Friends of the Meadows Junior/Amateur Welcome event.             

5th- Joelle Krol: Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.00m event
5th- Victoria Johnstone (Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.10m event
5th- Kara Chad: Akita Drilling Welcome 1.40m event
5th- Alexis Tumbach: Friends of the Meadows Welcome 1.25m event

Editor’s Note: To find out about how Spruce Meadows is helping local non-profit organizations recover from the June 2013 flood read Calgary Journal reporter Paulina Liwski’s story. 

qamundson@cjournal.ca