Geoffrey Hesslink and Drumroll Capture $100,000 USHJA WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular

Williamsburg, Mich.—June 26, 2023—Geoffrey Hesslink, of Wellington, Florida, earned his first win in the $100,000 USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Central Hunter Spectacular at the Traverse City Spring Series on Saturday, June 24. The young professional piloted a brand-new ride, Drumroll, owned by Meridian Farm LLC, to a two-round total score of 178.5. Fellow professionals Kate Conover with Queen Celeste, owned by Glade Run Farm, LLC, and Greg Crolick aboard Chappy, owned by Carole Chase, took second and third places, respectively.

The class was scored by two panels of two judges, featuring Sissy Wickes and Bobbi Reber on panel one and Tammy Provost and Geoff Case on panel two. After the Classic Hunter Round, the 12 top-scoring horse-and-rider combinations returned for a second Playoff Handy Round. 

“We quite literally just got this horse,” Hesslink said of Drumroll, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Diamant De Semilly. “He’s a really special horse I’ve watched and known for a number of years and always thought was really talented.”

Conover and Queen Celeste, first to go in round one of 46 entries, took the high score right off the bat, posting a 90.5. Hesslink and Drumroll sat in third on their 87 score as the first round came to a close, with Crolick and Chappy sitting between them on a score of 87.75.

Returning for the second round, Hesslink knew he had to be bold to move up the leaderboard, sitting three and a half points off the lead. He also had all the faith in his new partner, so he put it all on the line. 

“I didn’t know the horse that well but I figured I had nothing to lose so I should take all the shots,” Hesslink said. “He answered the questions I asked better than I thought he would. The Handy was really nice. I thought there were a few questions where you could leave out a stride or go inside but the fences came up really nicely for us today and I couldn’t be happier.”

Previous rider of Drumroll Kelly Mullin was part of the support system advising Hesslink as he prepared to take on the prestigious class on a horse he still barely knew. After Mullin’s success with the horse, Hesslink had all the confidence that the horse would take it in stride.

“One of the reasons I did this class today is because a class like this is his specialty,” Hesslink continued. “He rises to the occasion every time I’ve watched him. I really wanted to give it a shot, so I hope to continue to be successful in derbies and these types of classes. He’ll continue to do Second-Year Greens this year and be a Junior Hunter for his owner, Caroline Signorino.”

Having won the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in 2022, Hesslink now has two victories in two regions, a feat that once seemed out of reach. Hesslink is now one of the top Hunter riders in the nation, developing top young horses and riders for the highest levels of the sport.

“The WCHR program is something my entire barn and I take very seriously and it’s a big goal every year for all divisions,” Hesslink continued.” I grew up watching the WCHR programs and classes. Capital Challenge has always been one of my favorite shows, so it holds a special place in my heart. I never thought I would win this class once so to win it twice, I can’t put it into words. I’m so thankful.”

For his win, Hesslink took home $30,000 in prize money, a ribbon and neck sash, a flower wreath, a custom WCHR jacket, a picture frame, gift certificates for Essex Classics, and a cooler. Conover was awarded a gift certificate from CWD for the reserve championship.

The USHJA sends special thanks to the entire Traverse City Horse Shows team and Morrissey Management Group for hosting the Spectacular; to Official Sponsors CWD, Nutrena and Parlanti for their support; and to awards sponsor Essex Classics.

For more information about the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Program, visit

Release: Bilas Media
Photos: Andrew Ryback Photography

$100,000 USHJA WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular Results

Horse | Rider | Owner

Round 1 Avg. | Round 2 Avg. | Final Score

1. Drumroll | Geoffrey Hesslink | Meridian Farms LLC
87 | 91.5 | 178.5

2. Queen Celeste | Kate Conover | Glade Run Farm, LLC
90.5 | 86 | 176.5

3. Chappy | Greg Crolick | Carole Chase
87.75 | 85.87 | 176.6

4. Small Story | Augusta Iwasaki | Iwasaki & Reilly
86.37 | 86.25 | 172.62

5. Glorieus | Courtney Lenkart | La Primera Hacienda, L P 
84.75 | 87 | 171.75

6. Princeton | Paige Walkenbach | Walkenbach Equestrian LLC
84.25 | 87.5

7. Goyard | Sydney Raidy | Ask For The Moon LLC
86 | 85 | 171

8. Ever So Often | Paige Walkenbach | Walkenbach Equestrian LLC
84.5 | 86.5 | 171

9. Ashton | Clara Propp | Aquitaine Equine
85.75 | 85 | 170.75

10. MTM Campedu | Kelly Lorek | Emersales LLC
86.5 | 83.75 | 170.25

11. HH Eagle Scout | Quentin Judge | Free Solo LLC
84.62 | 78 | 162.62

12. True Enough | Madison Keese | Madison Keese
85 | 74.5 | 159.5