The Andalusian World Cup (AWC) is held each September at the South Point Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. What began as a “crazy idea” between a few good friends has since turned into an extravagant event for the masses. With its main goal of promoting unity within the Iberian horse community, the AWC offers the very best accommodations, top-notch awards, and a fun show environment for those who come from near and far to enjoy!
The AWC began four years ago with the intention of including anyone and everyone in the Iberian horse community. Show co-founder Kevin Kidder laughs as he recalls how it all began. “It wasn’t really planned”, he says, “Amber Lentz and I built and founded the web site (www.andalusianworld.com) together. I was a photographer and she was a trainer, and we’d always talk about dreams of having a show in Vegas.” Two years later, Kidder’s dreams came true when South Point became available for an event of this stature. Kidder and the others involved with the creation of the AWC wanted competitors to have a memorable experience which eliminated any alignment with specific breed organizations. Kidder says, “We got into horses for the love of them, the enjoyment, to share stories and build relationships with people…we wanted an event where not only the large breeders, but the small ones too, could experience something as big as this; we want everyone to come enjoy!” To obtain this goal, the AWC allows Iberian breeds, whether pure or part-bred, to be shown, and they see people from as far away as Egypt in attendance.
The show itself boasts a wide array of classes which coincides with the all-inclusive theme of the event. From lead line classes for the youngest exhibitors, all the way to dressage and ANCCE classes, it’s a full slate, sure to offer something for everyone to compete in. Janice Cline showed her Lusitano stallion, Xerez DeQuintana, at this year’s AWC, and it was her first time at the event. She says she thoroughly enjoyed it overall and really appreciates the class variety and environment at the show. “I had never shown in Dressage Hack, so it was great to do in a highly-charged atmosphere. You learn a lot about your horse in a situation like that, so it was good for me”, she shares. Cline also showed in a handful of other classes including Lusitano Halter and Fantasy Costume. Class sizes varied and overall growth of the show has been steadily increasing by about 25% each year, Kidder says.
Focusing on even the littlest of details and ensuring everyone has an experience like never before, no expense is spared or consideration ignored when it comes to the offering of awards. The show culminates with the crowning of the title of Western Pleasure Supreme Champion, where the champions from each division all come together to compete in front of all the judges, vying for a spectacular AWC trophy saddle made by Dale Chavez. A Portuguese bullfighting saddle is also awarded for the Working Equitation class, but in raffle form, allowing anyone who enters the class a chance to win; and Kidder says there are plans in the works for an english saddle to be given in years to come, in the ever-popular Dressage class. Additionally, there are large trophy cups, beautiful rose blankets, and prize money given.
What may be the most important and impactful part of the AWC is the show’s atmosphere; as the staff and exhibitors work to make it the most hospitable and fun experience possible. Horse-show mom Cheryl Croasmun, who has attended the show the past three years along with daughters Josie and Sydney, says it’s the most enjoyable show of the year for their family. Commenting that it feels like “one big family coming together for a reunion”, Croasmun says the AWC is very well organized and a wonderful place to meet new competitors and experience other cultures and communities. The Croasmun family had a strong showing at the event, with Josie garnering two championships and one reserve championship; Sydney winning almost all of her costume classes; and trainer Nicole Price bringing home a reserve championship on Cheryl’s horse, Don Divo 2012.
Fellow competitor Nancy Latta, and her family brought six horses to this year’s event. The Latta family has attended the show all four years and Nancy says they always look forward to the event. “Even though we all compete, there is a sense of comradery…We at Amandalusian Farm are already planning and looking forward to 2018 Andalusian World Cup!” The Latta family also had great success at this year’s event. Nancy’s granddaughter, Addison, competed in the Lead Line class, where her proud grandmother says “a highlight of the show” for them was watching the young equestrian navigate some obstacles on her own, in Ease of Handling obstacles in Working Equitation on her Welch pony, Prince Charming. Amanda Latta-Portillo, Nancy’s daughter, also showed Prince Charming in Working Equitation Novice A-Amateur where they earned a championship title. Latta-Portillo continued her winning ways in Introductory Level- Amateur Working Equitation on her new mount, Genio Alarcon, and then capped off an already successful weekend when she and her family’s stallion Kripton-Seni won the Supreme Western Championship, taking home the AWC trophy saddle. In the show’s four-year stint, the dynamic duo has managed to capture the title twice.
The people and the horses make the AWC what it truly is, however, the location is also conducive to its overall festive feel. Kidder says he feels the location contributes to the once-in-a-lifetime experience. “The location is fantastic”, he says, “It’s convenient because it’s all under one roof and ready to go.” And convenience is an understatement when talking about South Point, as the hotel bell-hop and stall secretary are merely footsteps away from one another. From friendly competitors and staff, to exciting classes and fierce competition over the weekend, Kidder says one of the biggest goals since day-one has been to ensure a fun time for all. “We even had a groom’s class this year”, he laughs, “…we told all of the grooms that we don’t’ care what they’re riding or what they’re wearing, but ‘come play’. We want to be sure even those behind the scenes get to have fun and some recognition for all they do.” A big production whether in the show ring or the barns, the AWC is truly something to behold, and in a class of its own.
As for the future of the show, Kidder says he has no plans of stopping now! While the foundation and goals of the AWC will stay the same as years before, he says he’s always willing and open to listen to ideas for change to make it an even better experience. Whether you’re watching the show, participating, or just visiting the barns, you’re sure to have a grand time at the AWC. With hopes of better unifying a breed, the event has certainly succeeded in doing so, as well as forming a once-in-a-lifetime horse show experience for all involved.
For more information on the Andalusian World Cup, visit www.andalusianworldcup.com and be sure to make plans to attend in 2018!