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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UK’s Stoops, Mitchell among celebrities ready to ‘Battle’ to benefit Horse Park Foundation

Hold your horses … for the return of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation’s Battle in the Saddle Celebrity Team Penning Event.

Celebrities already lined up for the July 14 event include: University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops; UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell; three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel; legendary female jockey Patti Cooksey; and Kevin Huber, punter for the Cincinnati Bengals. They and a host of other celebrities will pair up with sponsored teams of two amateur riders to see who has the skills to pen a herd of cattle in the quickest time.

battleExecutive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Laura Klumb, says celebrity cattle-penning events were held at the KHP years ago and were very popular.

“We decided to bring the event back and make it a fundraiser for the KHP through our foundation,” said Klumb, but with a twist.

For this year’s event the celebrity pull has been broadened, allowing for more than just former Thoroughbred jockeys to participate.

UK football coach Mark Stoops (KyForward file photo)

UK football coach Mark Stoops (KyForward file photo)

“Several of them are award-winning jockeys, obviously they’re very experienced,” said Klumb. “We have several equestrians from different disciplines. For instance, Derek Braun is an internationally known hunter-jumper rider, Buck Davidson is an internationally known eventer, we’ve got Mal McGuire, who is a reiner, so they’re all obviously horse savvy. And then we’ve got others who’ve been on horses but don’t necessarily do this professionally.”

Klumb says that despite the varying levels of talent, “we’re going to make sure that they’re all comfortable on the horses. A practice session will be given for the celebrities beforehand.

Invitations for amateur riding sponsors are have been sent out to the local community and anyone in the general public can participate.

UK women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell (KyForward file photo)

UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell (KyForward file photo)

“If someone wants to ride, as long as we have space, it’s $500 to ride (per person) or if they’re part of a sponsor team that would be covered by the team sponsor,” said Klumb.

Each rider will also get two tickets to the cocktail party and dinner, which would otherwise be $75 per person.

However, Battle of the Saddle is also meant to be family friendly and affordable. Kids 12 and under get in free with the purchase of a $10 General Admission ticket.

“It’s really a fun event and all the folks participating have to be able to laugh at themselves and enjoy it,” said Klumb about gathering participants. “We just kind of reached out to people we knew who fit all those criteria and had a tremendous response and had really been pleased with how many people have come on board.”

The competition will be held at the KHP covered arena at 7 p.m.

Money raised from Battle in the Saddle will go toward the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, which takes care of its horses as well as improves park competition facilities and visitor attractions.

For more information, click here.

Molly Crain is a recent graduate of Transylvania University.



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