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Media Advisory: Maryland Horse Industry Board to Present two Touch of Class Awards this Week

MHIB LogoAwards to be presented to a Howard and a Carroll County Resident

ANNAPOLIS, MD –  Pat Oliva and Julio Mendoza, two remarkable Maryland equestrians who have distinguished themselves in national and international competition, will be honored on consecutive evenings at about 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 and 2 during festivities at the My Maryland Horse Festival in the racetrack infield at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium. The awards are presented by the Maryland Horse Industry Board, a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Pat Oliva, a 78-year-old grandmother from Woodbine (Howard County), is still going strong in regional and national endurance riding competitions, having logged nearly 22,000 miles in 411 competitive races at distances ranging from 50 to 100 miles over a 40-year span. Earlier this year she was installed in the American Endurance Riding Conference “Hall of Fame,” in Reno, Nevada. She recently returned from riding nearly 1,000 miles in competitive as well as pleasure rides in the mountains of Utah and Idaho, on her Arabian gelding, Rushcreek Bobby. Oliva will receive the August “Touch of Class award” on Tuesday evening in ceremonies presided over by Jim Steele, Chair of the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

Julio Mendoza is a Westminster (Carroll County) resident who recently represented his native country of Ecuador in the 2015 Pan Am Games in Ontario on the 10 year-old Oldenburg gelding, Chardonnay. He and his wife, Jessica, have operated Mendoza Dressage, a licensed Maryland boarding and lesson stable specializing in the equestrian sport of dressage, for 10 years. Mendoza qualified for the Pan Am Games by compiling enough points in dressage competitions in Florida and on the East Coast to become one of the two Ecuadorans to represent their country in Ontario. He finished 17th of 44 competitors and first overall for Ecuador. If his horse continues to improve at the higher levels, Mendoza would be eligible to represent Ecuador in the 2016 Olympics. He will receive the September “Touch of Class Award’ on Wednesday evening and will perform a dressage musical free style ride at the Festival.

“Pat is an inspiration to us all and Julio has established himself as a wonderful instructor in Maryland as well as an international competitor,” Steele said. “Although their equestrian disciplines are very different, they have many commonalities in that they are both marvelous riders and human beings.”

Each month the Maryland Horse Industry Board recognizes Maryland horses and people who have distinguished themselves in national and international competition. The award is named in honor of Touch of Class, the Maryland-bred mare who won two gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. For more information on the Maryland Horse Industry Board and the Touch of Class Awards, contact Ross Peddicord at ross.peddicord@maryland.gov, phone 410-841-5798.

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What:                 The Maryland Horse Industry Board Touch of Class Awards

When:                About 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 and 2

Where:              My Maryland Horse Festival in the racetrack infield at the Maryland State Fair, Timonium.

Who:                     Pat Oliva, a 78 year-old grandmother from Woodbine (Howard County), who was recently installed in the American Endurance Riding Conference “Hall of Fame,” in Reno, Nevada will be recognized Sept. 1. Julio Mendoza, a Westminster (Carroll County) resident who recently represented his native country of Ecuador in the 2015 Pan Am Games, will be recognized Sept. 2

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

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