MHIB Touch of Class Award Presented to Tiffany McClure

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) presented its December 'Touch of Class' Award to Tiffany McClure, the International Professional Rodeo Association's 2010 World Champion Barrel Racer, during a private screening of the new Steven Spielberg movie War Horse in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 15.

McClure, who grew up in Prince George's County and graduated from Anne Arundel Community College, received the award from Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, MHIB Chair Jim Steele, Governor Martin O'Malley's representative Ashley Valis, and California Congressman Dennis Cardoza.

"We are very pleased that Tiffany was able to fly in from Oklahoma to be here with us tonight and to accept this award not only for her own achievements but as a representative of the best in Maryland's equine industry," said Hance. "We thank the Maryland Jockey Club and American Horse Council for hosting this screening and bringing together so many of Maryland's equine professionals to celebrate Maryland's horse industry--an important agricultural sector in our state and region."

Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider complete a clover-leaf pattern around barrels. It combines the horse's athletic ability and the rider's horsemanship skills to safely maneuver around barrels placed in a triangle in the center of an arena. Last year, McClure, then a 24-year-old rookie, left her job as a large animal veterinary assistant, moved to Oklahoma with her horse Dinks Rockin Again, a 10-year-old red roan Quarter Horse, and joined the rodeo. She jumped to the lead in the rookie category and kept winning her way to the world title her first year on the circuit.

McClure was also the 2002 American Professional Rodeo Association's Rookie Barrel Racer of the Year and Rookie Cowgirl of the Year.

The MHIB established the Touch of Class Award in September 2011 to honor a Maryland horse, individual, team, organization, or event that demonstrates the highest standard of excellence in the Maryland horse industry. The award is named after Touch of Class, a Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic show jumping gold medals and currently holds the Olympic record for number of clean jumping rounds in an Olympic competition. Touch of Class is enshrined in the U.S. Show Jumping Hall of Fame.

Past Touch of Class winners include:

  • September 2011 - Graham Motion, the Maryland-based trainer who won this year's Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom and currently ranks as the nation's fourth leading trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses;
  • October 2011 - Colleen Rutledge and her horse Shiraz, who were the third highest-placed U.S. horse and rider combination at the prestigious Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England and are under consideration for a berth on the 2012 U.S. Olympic three-day eventing team; and
  • November 2011 - John Crandell III and his horse Heraldic, who won two silver medals in Endurance Riding at the 2011 Pan American Games held in Chile. Heraldic is the only horse in history to win the triple crown of endurance racing.

For more information about the Maryland Horse Industry Board, visit mda.state.md.us/horseboard.

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