The Cudmore family doesn’t only breed amazing show jumping horses, the riding family has three generations of history show jumping at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair.
Karen Cudmore of Omaha, Neb., a 25-year veteran of the Winter Fair, won the MTS Grand Prix on Saturday night with a time of 32.2 seconds on her steed Ceonto in the jump-off, ending a week of mediocre showings with a bang.
Karen also rode her 12-year-old horse Shea — named because she-a winner — into second place with a 32.5-second time in the jump-off.
Her 19-year-old daughter Brooke took home ninth place in the same event with her horse Super Bad.
Their horses have as much Winter Fair pedigree as the riders. Karen’s daughter and her horse Shea are both third generation fair competitors, who make a 12-hour trip from the U.S. Midwest every year.
The competition circuit is a full-time gig for the Cudmores. Their trip to Brandon is squeezed between a show in Ocala, Fla., and one at home in Omaha.
"An evening like this is easier than the average day," Karen said after riding three horses in the fair’s final event. "This is like a vacation."
Karen, originally from Victoria, said crossing the border each year gives her a feeling of coming home — and yes, their first stop is Tim Hortons.
The Cudmore family roots run deep in the fair, and the sense of homecoming keeps them coming back, year after year.
Following Karen and Brooke’s runs in the Grand Prix, not a minute went by that fellow riders, sponsors, fair directors and friends didn’t stop and congratulate them or mention memories of past fairs.
"We make new friends every year," Karen said. "It’s just fun, it’s super friendly."
Compared to the dozens of competitions the Cudmores attend each year, Karen said the prizes are a bit smaller, but Brandon brings some of the best crowds she sees all season.
"There’s no show like this," she said. "I’ll jump for $100,000 at another show and there isn’t as many people as there is here."
"It’s a Canadian thing, it’s a Brandon thing, it’s why we like the fair. It’s all fun."
Eric Martin of Oakbank, the only Manitoban in Saturday’s competition, came in seventh place setting a time of 43 seconds with his horse Camil, after taking both first and second place in the ATCO Cup on Thursday.