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Midsouth “Tootsie Pops” Win Prince Philip Cup Second Consecutive Year
The Prince Philip Cup is an invitational mounted games competition that takes place at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event each spring. The top placing teams from the Junior Division at the USPC Championships are invited to compete for the coveted trophy. On Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, 2014 the top four junior Pony Club teams from the 2013 USPC Championships played mounted games against each other for the honor of winning the Prince Philip Cup. This year is the 30th Anniversary of the Prince Philip Cup and the 60th Anniversary of United States Pony Club. This is the 14th year that the Cup has been played at the Rolex KY 3-Day CCI****, and it was just as exciting and fun as always!
Mounted games were first introduced at the 1957 Horse of the Year show in the UK as an enduring challenge trophy, and the trophy has been an integral part of this world-famous equestrian event ever since. Young riders from across the country give their all, racing against rival teams to win the historic Prince Philip Cup – the cup donated by Prince Philip himself. At Prince Philip’s own request, the competition was designed for “ordinary children on ordinary ponies” and that objective has remained to the present day.
Just three years ago, the Tootsie Pop girls were introduced to mounted games at the 2011 USPC Championships and were inspired to form their own team. The team has practiced regularly, keeping their goal of qualifying for Prince Philip Cup in mind. They encourage other young riders to give games a try by testing their ponies on the standard equipment and learning to work with their ponies and friends as a team. Many ponies are suitable for mounted games, as long as they are responsive to their rider and not easily distracted by noise or motion.
On Friday afternoon before the first round of official competition, some of this year’s Rolex competitors rode with the young Pony Club members in the traditional Celebrity Round. Doug Payne, Jessica Hampf, Kelly Sult and Colleen Rutledge rode borrowed ponies and tried to keep up with their younger counterparts. Four games were played so that each team was able to ride with all the celebrities. The Rolex riders got to try their hand at bending, two flag, ball and bucket and ball and cone. Amazingly, this round resulted in a tie, so all four celebrity ponies galloped away with blue ribbons! After the fun rounds, the real competition began!
The Real Competition
The Mid-South Region sent their team, the “Tootsie Pops,” to the competition. Eastern Pennsylvania Region sent the “Avengers,” Sunshine Region sent the “Lemonheads,” and Midwest Region sent “Mustang Sallies.” A total of 20 games were played over the course of two days. The event concluded with the presentation of the Prince Philip Cup, ribbons and awards in the Rolex Arena prior to the start of the Show Jumping phase of the 4-star event. Prince Philip Cup competitors enjoyed a victory gallop around the arena in front of a packed Sunday afternoon crowd.
The order of finish was: first: Tootsie Pops; second: Lemonheads; third: Avengers; fourth: Mustang Sallies. The Prince Philip Cup will bear the name of Tootsie Pops for the second year in a row, and will be on display in the U.S. Pony Club boardroom trophy case in the USPC office.
Children and adults interested in mounted games can find information on the United States Pony Club website (www.ponyclub.org) or the United States Mounted Games Association website (www.usmga.us).
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