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Kentucky State Fair: Simpsonville couple will judge World’s Championship show

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Kim and Fran Crumpler take fourth turn helping decide what horses are champions

By Todd Martin

Shelby County trainers, riders, breeders and owners have had a hand in dozens of World Champions during the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show, and on Sunday when the 2013 show begins, county representatives will not only be competing for titles but selecting the winners as well.

For the fourth time, Kim and Fran Crumpler will step into the show ring as judges for the World’s Championship show. The Crumplers, Kim said, take the judging as an honor.

“Most of us are professional trainers as well, so they have to catch us in a year that we’re able to give up our right to show,” he said. “Other years we’ve had clients that wanted to take a crack at the big one, so we had to decline. Everybody had to go through this, it just happened to be a year that we were asked and we could judge.”

The Crumplers, who own Crumpler Stables on Todds Point Road near Simpsonville, will be two of the five judges, joining Steve Crabtree of Elizabethtown, George Knight of Lexington and Kent Swalla of Columbia, Mo.

The Crumplers have long been qualified to judge the biggest shows, carrying the highest status that judges can have and are approved to judge Saddleseat Equitation, Saddlebred, Hackney/Harnes ponies and Roadsters. Both have also been judging for the United States Equitation Federation since 1986 and have held various positions within the USEF.

The opportunity to judge, Kim Crumpler said, is one that they enjoy and take very seriously, but it also means no shot at titles this year.

“It’s not bittersweet, but this is the only place to win a World Championship,” he said. “So if you’re judging, you’re not going to win one that year.”

Choosing between the country’s top horses seems like a daunting task, but Crumpler said it has its advantages.

“I don’t know if difficult is the right word,” he said. “With better horses, it’s easier to find the ones that meet the standards. Anytime you’re judging, you try to find the horse that best features the standards. If you’re judging a show with subpar horses, there might not be many that meet the standards of that class.

“It’s nice to have horses that emulate the ideals.”

This show carries more cache than most, but Crumpler said they wouldn’t treat it any differently.

“Anytime you’re judging, it’s important,” he said. “People are counting on you. You have to know the standards for each class, and be able to identify them.”

The five judges will work all day, both morning and evening sessions from Sunday through Aug. 24, and rotate doing three out of every five classes.

“It may look like a long day, but you’re there and your adrenaline is flowing, so it doesn’t seem like a long day at all. You get so excited when you see the horses come out. I can’t imagine being tired while I’m there,” he said.

Although the Crumplers are more than qualified to judge the show, the one thing they won’t do is study up on the contenders.

“That’s the last thing you can do if you’re a judge,” he said. “There are no pre-established thoughts on any horses. Whoever comes in, that’s who you judge. We don’t even know who’s coming.”

World Championship Horse Show

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m., 6:30 p.m. daily through Friday, 7 p.m. Aug. 24.

WHERE: Freedom Hall, Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center, Louisville

TICKETS: $14-$25, weeklong reserve seats, all sessions, $205 (includes gate admission)

PARKING: On-or-off-site parking, $8

MORE INFORMATION:www.kystatefair.org/wchs