Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

2012 IHSA National Championships Promise Southern Hospitality At Its Finest

Fairfield, CT—December 1, 2011—St. Andrews University Equestrian Program director and IHSA coach, Peggy McElveen, is promising quintessential Southern hospitality when the Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex hosts the 39th Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships, May 3-6, 2012, in Raleigh, NC.

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Fairfield, CT—December 1, 2011—St. Andrews University Equestrian Program director and IHSA coach, Peggy McElveen, is promising quintessential Southern hospitality when the Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex hosts the 39th Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships, May 3-6, 2012, in Raleigh, NC.             Think rocking chairs.  Magnolia blossoms.  White picket fences.  “A Taste of Raleigh” from its finest five-star restaurants.  And that’s just the tip of the ice cube in a tall glass of sweet Southern peach tea.            

McElveen confirmed that Billy Yeager, of Partridge Run, LLC, in Warrenton, VA, has been named show manager for the 2012 IHSA National Championships. “Billy managed the IHSA Nationals the last time they were at Harrisburg. I felt it was important to have someone familiar with both the Hunt Complex and the IHSA format, and when I started looking for recommendations, his name kept coming up.”            

Yeager and McElveen met earlier in 2011, at the IHSA National Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park, where Yeager provided jumps for its hunter seat division.  “I came away from our spending a day together saying yes, this is the guy I want.  He knows the Complex inside and out, since he and his wife run a lesson barn and come to its A-shows.” Yeager’s talents for fence design bring an added bonus.  “He is doing some special fences for Raleigh,” she revealed.            

Selected as 2012 IHSA National Championships hunter seat judges are R. Scot Evans (president, Equestrian Aid Foundation) and Chrystine Tauber (vice president, USHJA); western judges are Gretchen Mathes (2007 AQHA Horsewoman of the Year) and Betsy Tuckey (NRHA, AQHA judge).  More than 400 of the best college riders from the US and parts of Canada will qualify, through Regional and Zone championships held during the 2012 spring semester, for the privilege to compete in Raleigh in front of these esteemed members of the professional horse community.            

Laura Norment, of New Bern, NC, will serve as volunteer coordinator.  Her deep roots in the IHSA community include having ridden with McElveen (at Chapel Hill), working for Goucher College and then St. Andrews, and now, through her role with the East Carolina University IHSA hunter seat team.            

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Holly Hayden will oversee the renowned awards and trophies, including the Cacchione Cup, presented to the leading hunter seat individual rider, and AQHA Trophy and Tex Tan saddle to the high point western rider.  McElveen counts herself lucky to have such a seasoned volunteer on board. 

Hayden has experience handling the Kansas hunter/jumper circuit awards and is “very familiar with the process.”  She is also familiar with IHSA:  her daughter, Audrey, is a St. Andrews graduate who rode for its team.  Such ties embody the esprit d’corp that McElveen is finding throughout her local community:  “So many parents of graduates have offered to help.  They are so involved, and so good at what they do.  They are willing to give up a week’s personal vacation to help with the Nationals, and for that, I am grateful.”

Professional support for the IHSA National Championships also comes from Wesley Wyatt, manager for the NC State Fairgrounds, where the Horse Complex is located.  The Governor James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex is the busiest equine facility in North Carolina and Virginia, and sits on 30 fenced acres of the 344-acre fairgrounds, where it hosts breed and discipline shows. Its cafeteria dining seats 200 people and the facility has 485 permanent stalls, 100 temporary stalls, indoor heated arena, outdoor covered area, and several more show rings.

“We’re excited about hosting the Nationals, and the recognition it brings with it,” said Wyatt.  “The Complex has made some new improvements, including paving the stable aisles, so you might say we’re ‘rolling out the paved carpet’ for the college riders.”

Welcoming the IHSA National Championships to Raleigh promises to be a down-home affair, thanks to the support of local organizations like the North Carolina Horse Council. 

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“The NCHC helped present the original Complex tour for the IHSA Board, and they have continued to be a wonderful system of support for helping us present a great event.  Our local horse people want to show everyone real Southern hospitality,” said McElveen.

On Thursday, May 3, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) and US Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) will co-sponsor a Competitors Dinner welcoming riders, coaches and IHSA to Raleigh.  On Friday, the city’s finest five-star restaurants will present “A Taste of Raleigh,” free of charge to the IHSA National Championships, featuring a signature dish from each participating menu.

“Our goal for IHSA,” said McElveen, “is a nice complementary meal each night, great hotel rates, and early breakfasts.  Our host hotel, the Holiday Inn in nearby Cary, NC, has been very understanding about how early riders and coaches start their day, and will offer a free, full breakfast buffet each morning starting at 5:30 a.m.” Judges, sponsors, and IHSA guests will relax Southern-style in a quiet, elegant VIP tent furnished with cozy couches and coffee tables,  “Real furniture,” McElveen joked. 

An eight-room dressing room trailer will be available for the convenience of competitors, and Royal Restrooms to accommodate students and personnel.  “Dressing rooms will be stocked with bobby pins, safety pins, hair spray, etc.,” she said, assuring that no detail will be overlooked. Including a wonderful olfactory experience, courtesy of Campbell Road Nursery, whose greenery will emphasize Southern flowers like hydrangeas, azaleas, and magnolias.

“Our goal is to have the best quality plants, and to remember that every customer is important.  We’re delighted to work with IHSA,” said owner, Margaret “Phil” Campbell.

Raleigh marks the most southern venue for the IHSA National Championships since the Georgia International Horse Park hosted them in 2000 in Atlanta. Celebrate the best in college horsemanship and Southern hospitality at the 39th IHSA National Championships (www.ihsainc.com), where admission to the event is always free.  The North Carolina State Fairgrounds and Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex also offer ample free parking (www.ncstatefair.org).  

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