Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship Set to Return to Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Traverse City, Mich. – Mar. 13, 2020 – Thanks to the success and warm reception of the inaugural Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship during the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), the Traverse City Horse Shows management team is thrilled to announce the return of the exciting championship to the 2020 schedule. Created in an effort to honor Dudley B. Smith after his unexpected passing in August 2018, the class will highlight some of equitation’s brightest stars when it is held Saturday, July 25, during Week IV of the series in the Grand Prix Ring.

Dudley B. Smith with his wife, Barbara, and granddaughter, Paige Matthies. Photo courtesy of Melissa Hirt

“We are all so proud to be able to offer this class during GLEF for the second year. The inaugural contest was particularly special last year as we launched the championship in honor of an incredible supporter and friend, Dudley B. Smith. The class was so well-received both for honoring him as well as for the unique addition to the summer show schedule, and we are pleased to be able to continue offering this legacy class hopefully for many more years,” commented Matt Morrissey, Event Director of Traverse City Horse Shows.

The Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship is open to riders aged 21 years old and under who earn first, second or third place in any 3’6″ equitation class, phase or overall, during the Traverse City Spring Horse Show (TCS), which takes place from June 3-21, or the GLEF series between July 1-25. Held in the Grand Prix Ring, riders will be tested across two rounds of competition over derby-style fences, where the 12 best-scoring riders will be asked to return to compete in the second round to determine the champion, Additionally, the trainers of the talented top four riders will be awarded with Dudley B. Smith Trainer Awards, an added bonus of $4,000, $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 with respects to student’s placings. In 2019, Ava Stearns rode Acer K to victory in the class and her trainers, John Brennan and Missy Clark of North Run, were awarded the lion’s share of the prize money.

Ava Stearns and Acer K, winners of the inaugural Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship at GLEF. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

As a kindhearted individual, Smith was a proud philanthropist of multiple local charities by donating personal efforts in addition to monetary value. He was an avid supporter of the Cherryland Humane Society because of his admiration for animals and Northwestern Michigan College’s Dennos Museum Center due to his infatuation with art. Alongside his wife Barbara, the Smiths generously donated to the Munson Medical Center and helped fund the Smith Family Breast Health Center. Smith was a devout patron of the equestrian sport and an avid spectator at equestrian competitions as a support system for his granddaughter, Paige Matthies.

For more information, please visit traversecityhorseshows.com.