Severson Named Equestrian of the Year; Kappler Awarded Whitney Stone Memorial Cup
United States Equestrian Team Foundation
Louisville, KY — Friday proved to be a day of widespread celebration at the 2005 USEF Annual Meeting as two special events brought audiences to their feet with thunderous applause and accolades for athletes and honorees. During the Friday Recognition Luncheon in honor of Athletes and Owners, the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation presented the coveted Whitney Stone Memorial Cup to one of the world’s most successful international show jumpers, Chris Kappler, for the year 2005. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Kappler, aboard Royal Kaliber, was the only show jumping rider to win two medals – an Individual Bronze and a Team Silver.
“I am deeply honored to receive the Whitney Stone Memorial Cup, and I wish to sincerely thank the United States Equestrian Team Foundation,” said Kappler. “To be included among the people previously singled out for their contributions to equestrian sport, people I greatly admire for their own achievements, is humbling.” Kappler was obviously moved during his heartfelt and humble acceptance speech. In September of last year, his longtime competitive mount, Royal Kaliber, was humanely euthanized in the Netherlands after undergoing colic surgery.
Kappler was not the only international star in attendance. Many of the United States’ elite athletes made the trip to Louisville, to take part in an afternoon of honors and awards. Eventers Kim Severson (Bronze Team medalist and Individual Silver medalist), Darren Chiacchia (Bronze Team medalist), and John Williams (Bronze Team medalist), were saluted. From the Athens Dressage Team, six-time Olympian Robert Dover (Bronze Team medalist) was in attendance. Kappler (Individual Bronze medalist and Team Silver medalist) represented the show jumpers.
Later in the evening, during the Pegasus Awards Dinner, Equestrians from every discipline and across the country joined in a night of salutes. “The prestigious awards presented tonight have a long and valued tradition,” said USEF President David O’Connor. “It is the time we come together lift our voices in praise of what this sport is truly about – sportsmanship, honor and our unending love of our horses and our sport.”
O’Connor wasted no time in bringing award recipients to the stage. Among the night’s many honorees were Richard Jeffery (Grand Prix Show Jumping Course Designer of the Year Award), Diana Dodge, of Virginia, and Herb Kohler, of Wisconsin, (Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeder’s Award), Howard Simpson, of Illinois, (Walter B. Devereux Trophy and Sportsmanship Award), Bill Moroney, of Virginia, (Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy for distinguished service to equestrian sport), Kathy Kusner, of California; Edna Griswald Lytle of Maryland; Margaret Price of Pennsylvania; and Alvin Topping of Virginia (Pegasus Medals of Honor), and posthumous honors for horsemen Stephen Hawkins and Dr. Eugene LaCroix.
The pinnacle award for young equestrians – the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award –was bestowed upon Morgan enthusiast and multi-discipline equestrian Meagan Drew of Colorado. Meagan earned her first Gold medal over fences at an Oklahoma City horse show, and three years later, she repeated her Gold medal performance, this time in the dressage ring. Her next disciplines to tackle were saddle seat and western, and she admittedly surprised herself when she took home the Western Seat World Championship in 2004.
Seven equestrians were in the running for the most coveted award presented by the Federation – the Equestrian of the Year Award. These seven nominees are already winners of one of seven different trophies presented during the evening. They are 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Kim Severson, of Virginia (William C. Steinkraus Trophy), Paralympic Silver Medalist Lynn Seidemann, of Texas (Becky Grand Hart Trophy), Gerry Rushton, of California (Bill Robinson Trophy), Stephanie Desiderio (Emerson Burr Trophy), Rob Byers, of Kentucky, (C.J. “June” Cronan, Jr. Trophy) Gordon Potts, of Texas, (Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy), and Gareth Selwood, of Wisconsin, (Norman K. Dunn Trophy).
With the suspense having been built, the Equestrian of the Year Award was presented to Kim Severson. Severson was humble in accepting the honors, and said she hoped she was worthy to follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before her. Severson also paid tribute to those who have helped her in her amazing career thus far, specifically, owner of her competition partner Winsome Adante, Linda Wachtmeister.
The Lifetime Achievement Award winner was 93 year old Lowell Boomer, of Lincoln, Nebraska. One of the founding fathers of the United States Dressage Federation, Boomer spent an entire career sharing his love of horses with people across the country. “The Lifetime Achievement Award is certainly an honor,” said Boomer, in a video message to the crowd. USEF President and Olympic Gold medalist David O’Connor and three-time Olympic Silver medalist Jim Wofford presented the sterling silver hat to Mr. Boomer in Lincoln earlier this month. The video presentation was shown at the Pegasus Dinner for all to enjoy. “It feels very natural,” said Mr. Boomer striking a grin as he donned the heavy hat. “I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I’ll sure accept it!” After years of teaching, promoting and devoting time to a love of dressage, there’s no question Mr. Boomer deserved recognition. Boomer’s son, John, accepted the award on his behalf, and said that his father very much wanted to join the festivities in person.
To see in-depth highlights on award winners and comprehensive reports from the day’s committee meetings, log onto www.usef.org.
For more information, please contact Sarah Lane, Public Relations Manager via phone at (859) 225-6974 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. USEF press releases can be found on our website, www.usef.org.