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Two local riders impress at Hunter/Jumper show

Two local horseback riders finished strong in the Novice Hunters Division at last weekend’s 12th annual Hood River Classic Hunter/Jumper Horse Show.

Morgan Bell won the division, taking numerous individual blue ribbons in various classes along the way, while Ariel MacMillan took the reserve champion honor in the Novice Hunter Division.

“This is a pretty big deal,” said information director Devinne McKeown-Ellis. “There were only four local girls competing this year, and for two of them to finish one-two in their division was pretty exciting.”

The top hunter/jumper horseback riders from around the Northwest — including Hood River’s own Noel Mellor and recently crowned state champion Nicoletta Marchesi — made their way to Jensen Mills Meadow in Mt. Hood for five days of competition.

More than 200 classes in 50 different divisions competed in the Classic, which has become a favorite among the region’s riders since it began in 1991.

The Classic was presented by the Best Western Hood River Inn as a benefit for the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“It was the nicest, smoothest, best overall show ever,” said Lynn Everroad, the event’s executive director. “The level of competition was outstanding, and the exhibitors all say it’s their favorite Northwest show.”

The Hood River Classic is given an “A” rating by USA Equestrian, and it is also a sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival.

In all, more than 400 of the top horses from the best hunt clubs and barns in the Northwest made the trip to Jensen Mills.

The show’s Sunday finale, the $10,000 Hood River Inn Grand Prix, was won by “Lady D” of Sequoia Farms in Canby.

Jeff Campf was the winning rider, while Megan Gass of Oregon City took second place aboard “Aspen Extreme.” Third place went to Kristen Postill of Vernon, British Columbia, who was riding “Tomas.”

“Golden Vulture” of Port Townsend, Wash., won the Hood River Classic Mini Prix, with “Double Play” of Maple Valley, Wash., coming in second. “Georgia” of Ketchum, Idaho, was third.

“Synergy” of Milwaukie won the Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Derby, while “Accomplished” of Kirkland, Wash., won the Junior Amateur Owner Derby.

“Levi” of Eugene took home first in the Adult Amateur Hunter Derby, and “Forte” of Sherwood won the Children’s Hunter Derby.

Event organizers also thanked Derby sponsor, Kerrits Actionwear, Mini Prix sponsor, Toklat, patron sponsor, Hood River Distillers, and many more. For more, call McKeown-Ellis at 387-3375.

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