The “Power” of Family and Friends

The Tom Powers Triple Challenge Show is Truly a Family Affair
By Robyn Duplisea

Awards-1Every summer, hundreds of riders, trainers and horses converge on the small town of Berrien Springs, Michigan.  The fairgrounds provide a picturesque background to show a horse, but it is not simply for the aesthetics that these trailers arrive. The masses come to Michigan for one reason – the vision and plan of Mr. Tom Powers.

The Tom Powers Triple Challenge Futurity is seen by many as the place to spot up and coming talent, show futurity and maturity horses, and shop for the “best of the best” of prospects.  Tom’s vision for a show that would attract the best young horses in the country has been realized and continues strong as it approaches its 38th year.

Crowds line the pen to watch the great pleasure horses showThe first chance to see the two-year-olds show, many view the Powers as the place to check out the future of the industry.  But the true beauty of the Powers comes not only from the horses, but the people behind the show. PleasureHorse.com and Show Horse Today have long been partnered with The Tom Powers to bring instant results, photos and content to the public live from the show. This long-standing history has allowed us a “behind the curtains” look at what it takes for this futurity to continue to grow.

The Tom Power’s Triple Challenge Futurity may represent big checks for great horses to many, but to us it is all about family, and the friends who have become family. Tom, his incredible wife Dominique, and their respective families and friends are the ones who make this show happen each year and always do so with big smiles on their faces! From the office staff to ring stewards, ribbon girls and general “go-fers,” everyone in the Powers crew comes out to Michigan to work to pull everything together.  The true magic of this show is in all the hours of love, sweat and tears that this family dedicates to make this a great event.

If Tom takes a rare break from the microphone, you just may hear his daughter calling out a class and if Dominique is exhausted during a long hot day, you may see her Mother passing her a bottle of water. Tom’s grandson Jesse is well known for his friendly smile, and this year Dom’s daughter and new granddaughter will even be making the trip from Quebec.

DSC_0804The focus of the Powers has always been on he exhibitor and giving the horses their best opportunity to show well.  Having a team in place in the office, and on the grounds, all working toward this same goal delivers an outstanding experience for all. I have never seen a cranky office worker at this show. Every guest is treated like valued family and the warm smiles and tight hugs simply exemplify what Tom and Dominique have built.

Yes, there are other futurities and other places to show.  Yes, you can go see horses show indoors where thunderstorms and a muddy pen may not be hazards to be dealt with. But no other show will have you feeling more at home and valued than the Powers.

When the sun shines (as it always seems to) on that big, beautiful pen, there is no better place to show, or watch, a young futurity horse. The pen allows the horses to move with flow and cadence, and for the judges to observe them all down its massive long wall.  

Tom and Dominique, as well as their family and friends, have worked hard to make and keep this one of the elite shows in the country. The hours spent finding sponsors and stallions to be donated to the trust, promoting the sale, and constantly growing with the needs of the exhibitor keep this show at the top of many trainers’ summer schedules. 

Tom and Dom are the heart behind this great showEntries for the show are up based on the pre-entries, with a nearly 31% increase in entries in the month of April alone. “We were really excited to see those entries so far up in April,” shared Tom, “I think it is going to be a great show in 2018.”

New for 2018 is an expanded slate of pre-futurity classes and an added judge which will allow all-around riders the chance to show in trail, western riding, horsemanship and equitation, as well as the rail classes.

The Saturday afternoon maiden 2-year-old stakes sale class is a sight to behold as the stands are packed and the arena is lined with golf carts, all anticipating a glimpse of the future of the industry.  These horses come to show, and the rider who takes home the winning check of $25,000 has earned their payday. You can be sure that many of the horses in this class will continue to the World and Congress shows after debuting at the Powers.

In response to industry trends, and the growing popularity of the three-year old classes, Tom and Dom introduced a class for those “Stakes Sale” graduates that were chosenn to be held back from competing in the maiden two-year-old class.  This class offers further value to those horses purchased as yearlings in the sale and an option for those who prefer to show a three-year old.

The sale on Saturday evening is an event that brings excitement to all, kicked off with an amazing BBQ sponsored by GAME TIME Sports Medicine Dr. Brad Cumper. The BBQ is a fundraiser for the NSBA Crisis Fund and always provides a great chance to catch up with friends as the yearlings are previewed in the arena.  According to Tom, “This year’s sale is shaping up to be a great one, with many outstanding yearlings already consigned.”

The yearlings that pass through the ring of the Tom Powers sale carry the best bloodlines in the industry and show a level of talent that many only dream of ever seeing. With a good eye, every shopper can find a future World Champion in this ring.   One of my favorite parts of the event is to mark in the catalog which horse I would have purchased, and then wait all year to see how my pick turned out as a two-year-old. I guess it’s the horse show version of “fantasy football.”

2017 Powers Co Champion Why Don’t U Kiss This with Jay StarnesThe entire Powers clan is there for every moment of this great show. You will spot them in their characteristic bright matching shirts, and wearing one of those enviable ball caps that Dom designs each year.  They will be the ones smiling through the dust, sweat and mud, who are asking at the end of a long day what they can do to make your show better!

Every aspect of the Tom Powers Triple Challenge is maintained to the highest standards, and it is for this reason that the Powers remains top of list for many each futurity season.  Be sure to keep an eye on PleasureHorse.com where we will have all of the news, results, candids and videos, live from this year’s Powers.

See you soon, Berrien Springs! We can’t wait to feel like family.

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