The American Shetland Pony Club, Inc.’s, National Congress celebrated its 65th anniversary at its newest location with an extremely successful competition.
The 2012 American Shetland and American Show Pony National Congress was held August 7-11 at the Pavilion on the grounds of Expo Square in Tulsa, OK. More than 500 ponies representing at least 30 states and two Canadian provinces competed for more than 400 national championship titles.
“It was a wonderful show, and one of the best Congresses I’ve had the pleasure to manage. Overall entries were up, competition was hot and the facility in Tulsa seemed to work well,” said Lenard Davenport, manager of the ASPC Congress.
Despite a tough economy and a new location, the number of ponies competing at the Congress was nearly identical to last year’s while the total number of entries made for those competing equine were up. Competitors won premium paybacks, incentives, jackpots and breeders’ Futurity winnings of approximately $50,000.
Competitive opportunities ranged from beautiful halter to thrilling roadster driving to animated fine harness to fun classes such as costume, hunter in hand, fancy turnout and more. New this year, classes were expanded for the ASPC’s most recently upgraded sub-registry – the National Sports Performance Registry - and a few NSPPR national champions were crowned in addition to the multitude of American Shetland and American Show Pony champions named at Congress.
The 2012 ASPC/ASPR Congress offered a bevy of special awards and recognition for the people who participated. Youth competed for more than two dozen special award categories from high point winners to junior judging and quiz bowl champions to sportsmanship honors. Top amateur exhibitors in three divisions received special recognition, and there were awards for other efforts such as stall decorations. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) also presented its own youth and amateur awards at the event as well.
Many other notable activities helped make this year’s Congress a rousing success. One lucky youth exhibitor was presented with a pony she won during an annual essay contest sponsored earlier this year, and she showed her new pony to a top-five placing within an hour of receiving the animal. There were treats for the exhibitors on a couple of nights - an appetizer buffet coordinated by show management and a desserts reception sponsored by the association’s 2012 royal court.
The royalty committee also sponsored a very popular and well received resale shop giving those on hand a place to consign gently used show clothes or shop for a last minute clothing needs at the show. This popular fundraiser raised more than $500 to support the travel and promotion efforts of the registry’s overall queen and Congress princesses.
A silent auction for one of the ASPC’s weanling sweepstakes programs gave attendees the opportunity to purchase breedings to some popular and sought-after Modern Shetland breeding stallions. Many of these sires are not offered to the public so bidding was intense, and the 2012 Modern Stallion Sweepstakes auction was one of the most successful in years.
The final financial picture for the show is yet to be completed. However, with the success of this year’s Congress, it is possible the ASPC could return its Congress to Tulsa.
"I talked to many folks from all areas, and everyone seemed to think Tulsa could be our permanent home. Tulsa is somewhere I truly believe Congress can grow,” said ASPC national director Belinda Bagby, also a member of the ASPC Congress show committee.
With 65 years of history to build on, strong entries for the show and growing interest in American Shetland Ponies and American Show Ponies, the future for this historic event may, indeed, be limitless.
For more information about the ASPC/ASPR National Congress, the American Shetland Pony Club or other programs involving American Shetland Ponies, American Show Ponies or National Sports Performance Ponies visit www.shetlandminiature.com.
The American Shetland Pony Club, the American Show Pony Registry and The American Miniature Horse Registry are non-profit organizations established to preserve and refine the bloodlines of these small equines and promote the enjoyment of small equines.
Recognized as the oldest and most versatile registry in the United States, the American Shetland Pony Club offer a variety of programs for Shetland Pony and Miniature Horse enthusiasts of all ages. Visit their website at http://www.shetlandminiature.com
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