History of the Morgan Gold Cup

In 1959 Mr. Gerald Taft, President of the National Morgan Horse Club and a dedicated Morgan breeder for many years, conceived the Regional Morgan Breed Show idea. Ohio was selected for this experiment because of turnpike accessibility from east and west.

Indiana, Justin Morgan of Michigan, KYOVA of southeastern Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ohio Morgan Horse Association and Penn-Ohio Boosters were the organizations whose representatives brought the first breath of life to the infant gold Cup Morgan Horse Show. It took hundreds of hours of meetings, work and driving to spawn this lusty infant along with an immeasurable quantity of love and devotion to nurture it into the giant it has become.

Thus it was through the efforts of eighteen or so dedicated Morgan missionaries that the first Gold Cup Morgan Horse Show came into being in July 1961 at Bucyrus, Ohio.

1964 was our last year at Bucyrus and after much negotiation with representatives of Lebanon, Ohio, the next two successful shows were held there guided by the able hand of President Ray Leach. For the 1966 Show, President Paul Rumbaugh successfully negotiated a contract with the Ohio State Fair Board and Gold Cup moved lock, stock and barrel to the Ohio State Fairgrounds at Columbus, Ohio for the 1967 Show.

It was at this time that the Gold Cup joined hands with The Aladdin Temple Morgan Horse Patrol as co-sponsors and this fine group of Morgan Mounted Men, all Shriners, added a great deal to the grand panorama which is Gold Cup. As a result of that teamwork and our success, The Gold Cup was able to make several substantial contributions to the Shrine Burns Center at Cincinnati, Ohio.

The 1970 show offered a one hundred class Prize List. Stake classes were changed to "World Champion" Classes and the now famous first $2000.00 World Champion Junior Park Saddle Morgan was crowned. The Three Judge System was first inaugurated in 1971 and nearly five hundred Morgans participated in the show. In 1972 under Bud DeBaun, The Gold Cup became a four-day show. During 1973 Col. Raymond Strasburger became associated with us as our Show Manager and we all felt fortunate indeed to have the services of Col. Strasburger. Bud DeBaun saw 1973 end with a very successful Gold Cup, which had been awarded national status as a Regional Show by the AMHA.

Bob McGee became the eighth President of the Gold Cup for two terms during 1974 and 1975. Bob's administration initiated The Gold Cup Morgan Horse Sale, which continued through the 1978 show. Our Bicentennial and 1977 President was James Stewart of Hinckley, Ohio and 1976 saw the initiation of the First Gold Cup Invitational FFA Morgan Horse Judging Contest. The 1978 and 1979 Gold Cup Shows were successfully led by President Pamela Cannon and saw the number of Morgans shown in each show top 600 for the first time. In 1983, the three-judge system returned and an Amateur Professional Pleasure Class was added to the program.

1984 saw Rosie Grapner as our new President and with her guidance, the '84 show initiated many new innovations, such as prize money in most classes, Stallion presentations and the addition of many new and exciting classes. 1985 was truly a banner year for the Gold Cup as it celebrated its Silver Anniversary.

Rosie continued to strive for new and interesting classes, mainly Amateur Owned, Trained and Shown Classes, along with the expansion of the Carriage and Dressage areas. Each exhibitor was pleasantly surprised to receive a momento to long remind them of their participating in this Silver Anniversary Celebration.

The 1986 and 1987 shows with Harry Grunewald as President were exciting events. New to the Gold Cup in 1986 was the very successful Gelding Sweepstake as well as the Family Driving Class. This was our Year of the Gelding.

1988 and 1989 again saw Pam Cannon as President as she continued to keep the show the number one rated regional by AMHA.

The 1990 Gold Cup saw Norm Mann as President. To accommodate the many diverse interests of Morgan exhibitors, the show was lengthened by two sessions, beginning Tuesday afternoon. Norm Mann led the Gold Cup through another successful year in 1991. The usual high quality of horses were exhibited, which made the judges work extremely difficult, but the results indicated it was worth the effort. New classes, such as Parade Horse, Stick Horse and Pet Class, created interesting contrasts during the show. The 1992 show with Norm Mann at the helm was an exciting five-day event with over 200 classes. Quality competitors, camaraderie, hospitality and impressive raffle prizes reigned high during the show.

1993 and 1994 saw many changes for the Gold Cup: a new president, Don Abbott, a new arena, the Celeste Center and a single judge system. A new class, freestyle reining, was an exciting addition. A constant with past shows was the high caliber of horses and intense competition. 1994 was the introduction of the five-judge system, with judges concentrating on their areas of expertise.

1995, under the direction of Bette Anne Parker, saw the introduction of the Silent Auction, along with additional Classic and Hunter classes. Bette Ann Parker led the expansion of the 1996 show with many new novice, limit and classic classes.

In 1997 when Richard Withers was elected President, the message was clear. Our exhibitors, our customers, were demanding more quality at a lower cost. Under Richard's guidance, the 1997 show was trimmed to a four day, one judge per class format, which was met with overwhelming approval. In 1998, the show retained these changes and moved the dates back on week to further accommodate the demands of our exhibitors.

As is our history, 1999 could not be held without additional changes. The in-hand division was moved to Tuesday evening. This allowed us to run only two sessions per day, morning and evening Wednesday through Saturday, with the afternoons off.

The year 2000 saw Art Hattan being elected as the new president of the show. The changes made over the last several years were kept in place. The Dressage division was moved from Saturday to Tuesday morning, eliminating any possible conflict between Dressage classes and Hunter classes. Also, this was the first time that the show was held in the Voinovich center due to construction work taking place in the Coliseum.


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