Following the highly successful FEI World Cup Finals in April, the Omaha Equestrian Foundation (OEF) has announced the inaugural InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series, a nationally televised series of five 1.40-meter speed jumping events sanctioned by the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF). The series culminates in the $100,000 Championship at 1.45 meters held at the International Omaha in Omaha, Neb., on April 13, 2018.
The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series kicks off its first qualifying event on September 22, at the HITS Balmoral show in Chicago with a $25,000 Open Speed Class qualifier. The American Royal in Kansas City, Mo., will feature a $25,000 InIt2WinIt qualifying class on Oct. 13, and Queenie Productions will host a $20,000 InIt2WinIt Open Speed class as a qualifier on Nov. 11 at the St Louis Hunter/Jumper Show in the National Equestrian Center in Missouri. The final qualifying competition on the road to Omaha will be the $10,000 Monarch Casino jumper stake at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Co., on Jan. 12, 2018.
Thirty-five of the top riders qualifying in these events will be eligible for the $100,000 Championship at the International Omaha 2018 on Fri., April 13. Riders can qualify at any of the qualifying events, and do not have to compete in all four to be eligible for the Championship. Those finishing in the top three at any of the qualifying events will earn the right to compete in Omaha. If the top three are already qualified, then the next riders in order will earn the right to compete in the Championship.
In addition, each qualifying event organizer can issue a Wild Card to one rider of its choosing, and OEF will be able to issue Wild Cards to enter the Championship to any rider who presents a signed judge's card with a clear round at 1.40 meters in order.
To reward consistency of performance, the rider who has earned the most money but has not placed in the top three at any of the events will also be invited to compete in the Omaha final.
The Championship will be a USEF sanctioned Table III 1.45 meter faults converted speed competition. All four of the qualifying events, plus the Championship will be featured in a nationally televised program.
"The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series is part of OEF's mission to produce international caliber equestrian events that change the way the sport is presented in this country, and to develop Omaha into a hub of the sport horse industry," said Lisa Roskens, OEF founder and chair. "We want to attract international championships as both educational and economic development opportunities for the community." To fulfill its strategic plan, OEF seeks to create opportunities for high performance athletes from the Midwest and develop young riders with a clear path to higher levels in the sport.
The International Omaha 2018 will also feature its signature jumping competition, the $130,000 International Omaha Grand Prix. In addition, it will host high level team dressage competition and a Dressage Showcase in conjunction with the United States Dressage Foundation.
All events will be held at the World Cup venue, the CenturyLink Center Omaha, which won rave reviews from World Cup competitors, vendors and fans. The four-day event, held on April 12-15, 2018, is designed to be the Great Equestrian Gathering in the Midwest, according to Mike West, CEO of the foundation.
"The International Omaha 2018 allows fans from throughout the Midwest to get into their cars and drive to see some of the best high performance jumping and dressage as well as enjoy a total equestrian experience," West said. He added that those coming to International Omaha in April will see many of the same amenities they found at the World Cup, including an extraordinary equestrian shopping experience, demonstrations and educational exhibits, outstanding entertainment and a chance to dine and relax around the warm-up ring as riders prepare for competition.