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Devon show bigger and better than ever with record crowds, record revenue

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which ran May 25 to June 4, was bigger and better than ever, according to Chairman and CEO Wayne W. Grafton.

The Budweiser Clydesales performed in exhibitionThe Budweiser Clydesales performed in exhibition

"On Junior Weekend, the first Saturday evening was probably the largest crowd ever for that night," said Grafton. "It looked like Grand Prix night but just a little smaller. Sunday night, when usually there's no one there, it was a huge crowd for Eventing, and it wasn't even a nice night, it was drizzling all evening."

"There were big crowds for all the FEI-rated jumper classes, and Thursday, Grand Prix night, was packed as usual," said Grafton. "It was an excellent Devon, with record numbers of spectators and a record amount of revenue."

"It was above anything we've done before," Grafton said. "Ticket sales were up overall, and at the Country Fair food sales were up overall. The vendors all said they did well."

"We'll be way above the total number of spectators that we usually have, which is 125,000," said Grafton.

All of the exhibitors interviewed said Devon was a very special place and that they were pleased with this year's show, and McLain Ward was effusive in his praise of the show, pointing out all the   improvements the show had made and saying it was in a class with shows like Aachen and Hickstead,

"We're working diligently," said Grafton. "We're constantly trying to improve everything, but there's still so much to be done."

Grafton said the new second floor dining facility had overall gone well.

That new facility is located over the new office area and provides a good view of both the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring.

Grafton said that most people were happy with the dining area, and the few complaints were about things Devon planned to fix,

"This was the first time out, and it's been a learning curve," said Grafton. "There are modifications we need to make, one of them being having the announcer heard there."

"Now we're gearing up for the Fall Classic," said Grafton.

 

 

CATHY NELSON was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award on the final day of the show.

Nelson, who has been Chairman of the Hot Dog Booth for the past five years, has been volunteering at Devon for 19 years and has worked at the Garden Cafe, the Tea Cart and the Hamburger Booth.

A third generation volunteer, Nelson grew up across the street from Bryn Mawr Hospital and began volunteering at Devon as a way to give back to the community.

"It's a passion because you know you are making a difference," said Nelson.

Paul Martin of New Holland, Pa., won the Coaching Championship with his Brewster Park Drag and four German Sport Ponies.

Paul Martin wins Coaching ChampionshipPaul Martin wins Coaching Championship

For the first time in history, Martin had two coaches entered in the competition, with both coaches pulled by ponies and the second with Anna Nordin as whip.

"We had this coach restored, and we started coaching in 2005," said Martin. "I've been coming here since I was a kid with my father and my family. My Dad used to drive roadster ponies here."

For the third year in a row, Richard Taylor of Montpelier Station, Va., was the handler of the Best Young Horse at Devon.

The Breeding division was held on the final Sunday of the show.

Renoir, a 2-year-old owned by SusanTice-Grossmann, was named Best Young Horse.

Taylor didn't show Renoir as a yearling at Devon because he was handling the Wheeler family's Arbor Hill, with whom he had won Best Young Horse in 2015  and 2016.

"The great ones step up on a day like today," said Taylor. "It's almost like they say, `I want to win,' He was a show horse today. It was tough out there, but he's horse enough and showed well enough to win. He was perfect,"

 

Devon Horse Show (2)

The Horse of Delaware Valley

Editor: Sara Cavanagh
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