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News Maryland Howard County Clarksville

Crowds gather despite stormy skies at annual HCC Grand Prix

The rain held off just long enough at Howard Community College's 26th Annual Columbia Classic Grand Prix on Sept. 21 at Marama Farm in Clarksville, as world-class equestrians gathered to compete on a challenging course of obstacles, jumps, twists and turns under at-times threatening gray skies.

"We tried to push each event up a little bit, and literally, the day ended and the rain began," said HCC spokeswoman Jane Sharp. "We beat the rain."

The rain started in Clarksville around 3:30 p.m., but by then, several equestrians had taken the top spots in their competitions. Tracy Fenney, of Flower Mound, Texas, won her third-straight HCC Columbia Classic Grand Prix, taking home a $10,500 purse.

Frances Land, of Alpharetta, Ga., took second place and the $7,700 purse. Haley Schaufeld, of Leesburg, Va., took third and a $4,550 purse.

In the Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Felicia Russell, also of Leesburg, placed first and won a $3,000 purse.

In the Child/Adult Jumper Classic, Ericka Caslin, of Parkville, took first place and a $750 purse.

This is the fifth year the Grand Prix has been held at Marama Farm, and this year's events included exhibitions, pony rides, live music, a pumpkin patch and plenty of vendors, Sharp said. For the first time, the Grand Prix also included a classic car show.

Sharp said it was too early for a full attendance count or a final tally on how much money was raised at the college's biggest fundraiser, but the Grand Prix was "well-attended," and "the grandstands were full." In the past, the event has raised in the range of $75,000 for the HCC Educational Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships for nearly 250 HCC students.

"The Grand Prix is such a part of our culture," Sharp said. "It's our biggest fundraiser and the more money it raises, the more scholarships we can give. It's really become associated with that — with raising scholarship funds and drawing attention to our students. It's a wonderful event."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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