With many of the MLSJ teams’ competitors getting warmed up in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring earlier in the week, the eight organized teams were revving to go for the $200,000 Team Competition CSI5*. The new team competition format for the MLSJ entailed all three riders of the eight teams battling it out over the first round course of the class to determine the top four who would advance to the second round, the speed phase. Once one member in each of the top four teams, determined by their teammates to be the quickest, had completed their second round course, the top two teams carrying the least amount of faults would battle it out for the gold medal. The third and fourth place ranked teams following the second round advanced to round three to determine who would claim the bronze medal and third podium position.
First to go, Sydney Shulman of A.I.M. United stepped foot on the course that designer Marina Azevedo fashioned, featuring 12 obstacles and 15 efforts in a time allowed of 66 seconds. Although the A.I.M. United team, consisting of Shulman, Andrew Welles, and Brianne Goutal-Marteau, made a solid effort around the course, the group accumulated 24 faults and a team total time of 180.02 seconds. After their first attempts around the course, the Blazing 7’s, made up of Nicolette Hirt, Chandler Meadows, and Rodrigo Lambre, finished with a combined fault score of 12 and a combined time of 198.04 to settle into fourth place, just earning their ticket into the second round.
Eye Candy, composed of Jacqueline Steffens, Amy Millar, and Paul O’Shea, added their team’s name to the second round order-of-go with a combined fault score of 12 and combined time of 197.14 to sit in third place going into the speed round. The Lucky Charms riders, Shane Sweetnam, Andrew Bourns, and Jordan Coyle, set the standard after their first round performances, with all three riding clear and quick to sit in first place with a combined time of 196.79. Roadrunners, Kyle King, Erin Davis-Heineking, and Kaitlin Campbell, held the second place position with a combined fault score of 8 and a combined time of 196.44 after round one. The Diamond Devils, Otomi Warriors and Crusaders all made a valiant effort as well, but were short of the cutoff for round two.
Moving on to the second round, the Lucky Charms, Eye Candy, Blazing 7s and Road Runners decided amongst themselves which two riders from each of their respective teams was quickest on their feet to tackle the speed round. Blazing 7’s chosen riders took to the speed course first, finishing with a combined time of 99.76 seconds. The Road Runners finished with a combined time of 97.74 seconds to sit just ahead of the Blazing 7’s. Eye Candy competitors had the top podium positions on their minds, finishing round two with a combined time of 87.66, but the Lucky Charms were slightly quicker to finish with a combined 86.63 seconds. For the third and final round operating under a faults-converted format, the Road Runners and Blazing 7’s chose their final rider to take on the jump-off course for the bronze medal, with the Eye Candy and Lucky Charms teams going head to head for the gold medal.
First to return for the third round was Blazing 7’s rider Lambre, completing the course in 44.84 seconds to set the pace for the course. With that time in mind, Road Runners team member King aboard Etalon entered the ring, finishing the speed course in a time of 42.31 seconds to secure the bronze medal for his team. Next in, Eye Candy representative O’Shea rode Squirt Gun around the speed course to trip the timers in just 41.72 seconds, which Lucky Charms’ rider Coyle would have to best in order to claim gold for his teammates. Leaving nothing up to chance, Coyle and Picador blazed around the arena, completing the course 38.27 seconds with no faults to claim the top podium position. Eye Candy settled for the silver team medals.