WEG 2010


If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year or more (or if you’ve scrolled back through all the many “WEG 2010” posts) … you’ll know that I’ve been watching — and sharing with you — the progress over all that time on the construction of the marathon obstacles.

Other than a couple of references to individual people as they happened to show up in the photos, I’ve concentrated mostly on bits and pieces of the obstacles themselves and not on who’s been building them. So you’ve been left to wonder who built all those beautiful (and beautifully constructed) obstacles, haven’t you?

After the WEG driven dressage last Friday, a few of us photographers — and the course-building crew — gathered for a tour of some of the completed obstacles and a fun photo shoot in their work area.

hamming it up for the photographers and showing off their machinery: the marathon-course-building crew is, left to right, Levi Ryckewart, Aaron Beale, Mick Costello, Aaron Rust, Lenny Courtemanche, Dave Leonard, Isaac Bingham, and Tobiah Bingham

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the builders basically invented the unique shape and construction method for the logs at the Squirrel Grove; left to right: Aaron Rust, Mick Costello, and Aaron Beale

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the Bingham brothers (Tobiah on the left and Isaac on the right, with Lenny Courtemanche between them) created and constructed the decorative “crazy quilt” pattern of smaller branches between the larger logs in Spook Hollow

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Isaac Bingham shows off the widemouth bass he carved (with a chainsaw!) for one of the two water obstacles

This is just a quick Thursday evening update to say that I’ll be starting to back off a bit from the frenzy of once-a-day or even several-times-a-day postings to the blog. With the WEG competitions over and the WEG infrastructure being packed up and carted away, there’s a lot of “regular” work to do here in the CAA office. So I’ll be settling back into my more usual several-times-a-week blog posting.

But I hope you’ll keep checking in.

I have a couple more WEG-related stories planned.

And if you’re a regular reader of the blog (or if you read my recent mention of the tent line for Big Blue Madness tickets) … you’ll know to expect occasional reports on the University of Kentucky basketball team. The first of those reports may appear sooner than you would think it ought to, as basketball season obviously hasn’t started yet. But UK’s Big Blue Madness is TOMORROW night, and we have tickets!!

Otherwise, you can look forward to posts with old photos of carriages; stories on carriage- and driving-related history, destinations; interviews with people in the driving world; and more. Stay tuned!

Sunday’s awards ceremony for the Driving World Championship at the WEG may have started slowly (ribbons awarded to the top ten places in the marathon phase, then to the top ten places in the cones phase … each followed by a genteel victory lap), but it ended with a big, happy, noisy celebration in honor of the medal winners.

the lineup of winners in the marathon phase …

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and, later, the lineup of winners in the cones phase (that’s Chester Weber, in first place, on the left, and Jim Fairclough, in second place, next to him)

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Chester Weber (USA) on his victory lap after the awards ceremony for the cones phase

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After these two ribbon ceremonies was the official medal ceremony for the individual winners …

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… starting with Tucker Johnson (USA) receiving his individual bronze medal from Richard Nicoll, chair of the FEI Driving Committee …

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… and saluting the crowd

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all three individual medal winners gathered on the top step; left to right: Aidan Connolly (representing Alltech), Tucker Johnson (bronze), Boyd Exell (gold), and Ysbrand Chardon (silver)

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Pony Club members were charged with holding on to the team medals before they were presented to the winners

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after being presented with their silver medals, the U.S. team salutes the crowd; left to right: Jim Fairclough, Chester Weber, and Tucker Johnson

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all the team medal winners salute the cheering crowd; on the ground: various officials and representatives of Alltech, and the Dutch chef d’equipe (in the unmistakable orange), and on the podium: the bronze-medal German team on the left, the gold-medal Dutch team in the center, and the silver-medal U.S. team on the right

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after the official medal ceremony was finished, the music was turned up, and it was time for the victory laps … but first: Chardon ran over to the end of the arena where these Dutch fans were gathered and threw his sunflower bouquet into their midst

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for the first time around the arena on their victory laps, each team trotted past the grandstands, three turnouts abreast (here, the Americans) …

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… and here, the Dutch

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… and then came the final spectacle (I watched the first two teams do this and only caught photos of the Dutch): each team turned down the center line and galloped for the exit gate, galloping through it one turnout at a time …

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… with the music blaring over the loudspeakers and the crowd cheering

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and then the individual gold-medal winner, Boyd Exell, took his own victory lap …

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… and his own dramatic gallop out of the arena

Here are the promised photos from Sunday’s cones phase of this year’s Driving World Championship. These are presented in the order in which they were driven.

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Mike McLennan (driving as an individual for the USA) was the fifth driver to attempt Richard Nicoll’s cones course; he had five balls down but was the first to complete the course within the time allowed; he finished the WEG in nineteenth place overall

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Josh Rector (USA), competing in his first World Championship, finished in sixteenth place overall

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Gavin Robson (AUS) finished in seventeenth place

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representing Poland and having driven this team for only two weeks, Piotr Mazurek was the tenth driver to tackle the cones course; he was the first one with a clear round (although he did have quite a few time penalties); he finished in fourteenth place

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Chester Weber (USA) had to wait for quite a while before driving the cones course, when the electronic timing stopped working; once he was finally able to go, he posted the first double-clear round (no course or time penalties) and won the cones competition

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immediately following his teammate (above), Jim Fairclough posted the second double-clear round of the day; he finished the WEG in ninth place overall

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Sweden’s Fredrick Persson finished the event in eighth place overall

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representing Switzerland, Daniel Wuergler finished in seventh place overall

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Germany’s Christoph Sandmann finished in fourth place individually and was a member of the German team that, in a surprise finish, won the team bronze medal when …

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… Sweden’s Tomas Eriksson went off course and was eliminated, thereby taking his team out of medal contention

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Theo Timmerman (NED) finished in sixth place overall

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even with one ball down, Tucker Johnson secured the silver medal for Team USA and won the individual bronze medal; on his way out of the arena, he stood and saluted the cheering crowd

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Chardon’s three course penalties (one ball down) gave Boyd Exell a bit of a cushion but nonetheless secured the gold medal for the Dutch team

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the last to go, Boyd Exell drove safely through the cones course, recording 3.52 penalties (no balls down, but time faults) … and winning the individual gold medal

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Keep checking the blog each day, as I still have awards-ceremony photos yet to post … and a few other WEG photos and stories to share.

On the final Saturday evening of the WEG, the CAA, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown, and the Hermitage International Training Center hosted an “End of the Marathon!” party for nearly three hundred people — everyone on the CAA’s trip to the WEG, and all the drivers, grooms, etc. I even saw Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear and Alston Kerr, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission.

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During the party, Jill, Colonel Davis (CAA president), and Kate & Katie Whaley presented the awards for the WEG’s Presentation competition, which was sponsored by the CAA. There were ribbons and cash prizes for the first- through tenth-place winners, plus other special awards: a holly whip for first place (donated by Fleck Whips of Germany and presented by Driving Essentials) and commemorative plates for the first-, second-, and third-place winners, each hand painted by artist Graciela Giacosa of Argentina.

Josh Rector (USA) won the tenth-place ribbon in Presentation

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Bill Long (USA) accepts his ninth-place ribbon from Katie Whaley

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Kate Whaley congratulates Werner Ulrich (SUI) on his eighth-place finish

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Gary Stover (USA) receives his seventh-place ribbon

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Cindy O’Reilly, one of only two women competing in the Driving World Championship, was pleased with her sixth-place ribbon

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Daniel Wuergler (SUI) was pleased to finish in fourth place

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U.S. team member Jim Fairclough (center) won the second-place award; with him are Katie Whaley (left) and Colonel Davis (right)

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one of Chester Weber’s grooms accepted the first-place awards on his behalf …

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… including a beautiful four-in-hand holly whip, donated by Fleck Whips of Germany and presented by Driving Essentials (the whip is being presented here by Steve Wilson)

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