Western Division Talent Squad Final

Ben Asselin of Calgary, AB, currently leads the Western Division standings in the 2011 Jump Canada Talent Squad Series. Photo by Cansport

Original Article by Horse Sport | July 28, 2011

The $25,000 Western Division Jump Canada Talent Squad Final, Presented by Stone Ridge, will be the featured event of the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic II running August 24 to 28 at Anderson Ranch in Calgary, AB.
Stone Ridge, owned by the Chad family of Calgary, AB, is sponsoring the event, which sees the top up-and-coming riders in Western Canada go head-to-head in the Final.  Although aspiring grand prix competitors Bretton Chad, 17, and Kara Chad, 15, will be competing in Europe at that time, the Chad family still felt it was important to support the event.
“As a family, we are all riders, and we believe whole heartedly in the sport,” said Laurel Chad of her family’s decision to sponsor the $25,000 Western Division Jump Canada Talent Squad Final.  “We like to support up and coming talent, especially in our local community.  It is an expensive sport, and youngsters can not always afford to get as far as they would like to in the sport.  Because we believe so much in the sport, we like to help with sponsorship and encourage good prize money, not just for the professionals, but for the juniors and amateurs as well.”
As the $25,000 Western Canadian Talent Squad Final, Presented by Stone Ridge, will be an opportunity to observe the up-and-coming athletes in Western Canada, several representatives from the Canadian Show Jumping Team will be on hand to watch.  Terrance ‘Torchy’ Millar, Chair of Jump Canada’s High Performance Committee and chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team will be in attendance, as will High Performance Assistant, Mark Laskin, and Karen Hendry-Ouellette, Equine Canada’s Manager of Jumping.
“We are thrilled that Terrance Millar and Mark Laskin will be here to see some of the young talent,” continued Chad.  “It really helps to give these kids the exposure that they need, combined with being supported through decent prize money.  We stepped up to support this event because there is a lot of young talent in western Canada, and we wanted to ensure that the riders in Alberta and British Columbia were brought to their attention.”
Competition organizer John Anderson, President of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, echoed Chad’s statements, saying, “The Talent Squad is something that tends to get lumped in with other competitions in the west, but since the riders in the west have really started to shine in recent years, we wanted to build an event that showcased the riders excelling in Jump Canada’s great developmental program.
“Typically, even when the Western Canada Talent Squad Final was a stand alone competition, it offered an insignificant amount of prize money,” continued Anderson, a member of Canada’s fourth placed team at the 1986 World Championships in Aachen, Germany.  “Thanks to our wonderful sponsor, the Chad family of Stone Ridge, we are able to make it a very special event, along with the accolades and benefits that come along with winning the overall Western Division championship.  In a podium presentation, the top three finishers will be presented with gold, silver and bronze medals.  We want to make the riders feel special, and give them a taste of the future.”
The $25,000 Western Canadian Talent Squad Final will be held on Thursday, August 25, followed by a special dinner, presented by Starting Gate Communications, for all Talent Squad riders, trainers, parents and supporters, to celebrate their achievements.  In addition, everyone who qualifies to compete in the Western Canada Talent Squad will be presented with a limited edition jacket and hat, thanks to CWD Saddlery, Starting Gate Communications, and Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.
While Thursday’s $25,000 Western Canadian Talent Squad Final will be the highlight of the CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic II, other featured events during the five-day show jumping tournament include the $31,000 CSI2* Eunice Krausert Memorial Grand Prix on Wednesday, August 24, and the $50,000 CSI2* Friends of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Grand Prix on Saturday, August 27.  On Saturday evening, Rocky Mountain Show Jumping will host a dinner and party in recognition of those who have supported its events, complete with live music and other touches of western hospitality.
“We’ve built the whole year around planning for this event, and the whole week is about spotlighting the Talent Squad Final,” noted Anderson.  “We owe special thanks to our wonderful sponsors, the Chad family of Stone Ridge, who have been with us from the get-go and have supported us in what we are doing.  They have two wonderful daughters showing at the Talent Squad level and, in fact, Bretton did her first major Grand Prix here at Rocky Mountain two years ago in 2009, placing fifth.  We have carved out our niche as a venue that supports and encourages the next generation.”
The $25,000 Western Division Talent Squad Final will also be the subject of an episode of RMSJ TV, an innovative program designed to give an inside view to what it takes to make it to the top of the show jumping world by focusing on the struggles and successes of some of Western Canada’s top up-and-coming riders, both at home and at international competitions.
The CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic II is the second week of three consecutive weeks of top show jumping competition.  The CSI2* Rocky Mountain Classic I, running August 17 to 21, features the $31,000 CSI2* Laramide Oil and Gas Welcome on Thursday, August 18, and the $50,000 CSI2* G2 Financial Grand Prix on Sunday, August 21.  The Rocky Mountain Classic III will feature the Western Canadian Show Jumping Championships, taking place August 31 to September 4.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is quickly developing a reputation as one of Canada’s premiere show jumping destinations.  Its tournaments are held at Anderson Ranch in Calgary’s south end, a world-class facility featuring permanent stabling for 300 horses and a grass grand prix field complete with natural obstacles.  For more information on Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, please visit http://www.rmshowjumping.com/.

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