Gypsy Vanners again take top bids at Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale

Tequila, a Gypsy Vanner-cross mare, was the high-seller and reserve champion of the trail horse competition.
Photo by Rose Stinson Photography.

If you’ve ever wondered if getting training for your horse is worth it, spending the day at The Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington is a showcase of just how much “broke” is worth in the market today. A well-trained, useful horse will always be wanted.

The sale, in its 20th year, prides itself in offering well-broke horses. There were about 80 horses and ponies of all breeds to choose from at this year’s sale, which took place April 8-10, 2021. More than a few horses saw prices well over $20,000, but it was a tobiano Gypsy Vanner-cross mare named Tequila and consigned by Buckeye Farms who inspired the highest bids. After plenty of back and forth between a couple of bidders participating by phone, she was sold for $72,000 to Alicia Stearman of California.

Stearman said in a Facebook post that she plans to use Tequila for “vaulting and circus camps for kids, Roman riding with another Buckeye Gypsy I bought back in December. We will be performing with kids with her.”

Watch video of Tequila’s sale.

The second-highest seller of the sale was also a Gypsy Vanner. RGR Shameless Adonis, consigned by Triple R Stables, brought $52,000 when the bidding was done on the stout 6-year-old black gelding.

Watch video of RGR Shameless Adonis’ sale.

RGR Shameless Adonis. Photo by Rose Stinson Photography

For the past couple years, Gypsy Vanners have been popular at the sale. The 2019 top-seller was a Gypsy Vanner named Congress Hill Moves Like Jagger. He sold for $45,000 that year. In 2018, the black Gypsy Vanner gelding GG Jonah was the top-seller at $40,000.

In 2020, the annual sale was canceled due to the pandemic. This year they returned with the traditional bidding by those in attendance, and by phone and added the ability to bid online as well where a live stream of the sale was available. Several horses were purchased through that online option.

While getting a chance to buy a great trail horse is at the center of the weekend, there’s more to the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale then just an auction. Before the bidding ever begins, many of the horses take part in competitions reserved only for sale horses. The ranch horse competition involves performing a ranch horse pattern and cow work. This year’s winner, who took home a trophy saddle, buckle, and a $1,000 check, was Magnum Affair, a 6-year-old AQHA sorrel gelding. He later sold for $32,000.

The ranch reserve horse was RR Instant Feona. The 2015 quarter horse mare would sell for $17,000.

The trail horse competition begins Friday night before the sale with a preliminary run and is followed by a 10-horse finals on Saturday morning before the sale. It offers a unique opportunity to see the sale horses perform over unfamiliar obstacles that include large and small logs, a bridge, ground-tying while the rider uses an outhouse, a campsite complete with campfire, and loading into a horse trailer. This year the $2,000 win went to KM Best One Zipper, ridden by John Roberts. The 2014 sorrel quarter horse gelding would later sell for $27,000.

The trail horse reserve winner was the eventual high-seller, Tequila.

A special session for ponies started the sale, bringing from about $3,000 to up to $7,000. The first pony to ever qualify for the trail horse competition finals, a black and white leopard Appaloosa pony named Pongo, sold for $6,200.

While many of the horses in the first half of the sale were sold for $20,000 and up, don’t allow that to scare you off. There were plenty of horses, especially toward the last third of the sale, that tended to stay in the five figures.

Top sellers

  • $72,000 Lot No. 39: Tequila, 2016 Gypsy-cross mare
  • $52,000 Lot No. 42: RGR Shameless Adonis, 2015 Gypsy Vanner gelding
  • $40,000 Lot No. 22: SDR Comanches Echo, 2011 ApHC gelding, PHOTO
  • $32,000 Lot No. 31: Magnum Affair, 2015 Sorrel AQHA gelding
  • $31,000 Lot No. 28: Ciscos Last Cutter, 2016 AQHA Buckskin gelding
  • $30,000 Lot No. 12: Starlight Mobster, 2016 AQHA Palomino gelding WATCH
  • $30,000 Lot No. 20: Awesome Dry Texas, 2014 AQHA Palomino gelding
  • $30,000 Lot No. 45: Banjo, 2017 grade quarter horse cross
  • $29,000 Lot No. 21: Make Mine A Kiss, 2017 sorrel AQHA gelding
  • $29,000 Lot No. 41: Hez A Smart Tank, 2014 gray AQHA gelding, WATCH
  • $28,000 Lot No. 14: Playin in the Creek, 2011 sorrel AQHA mare
  • $27,000 Lot. No. 18: KM Best One Zippin, 2014 sorrel AQHA gelding WATCH
  • $27,000 Lot No. 49: Woodrow, 2011 sorrel Overo grade gelding, WATCH
  • $26,000 Lot No. 34: Chiefs Dashing Sabre, 2015 AQHA Buckskin gelding
  • $25,000 Lot No. 32: Mr. Illuminator Chex, 2017 grey AQHA gelding
  • $25,000 Lot No. 38: Plenty Blu Chukar Ma, 2015 Blue Roan AQHA gelding

See more photos, videos, and results at the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale’s Facebook page.

New Life Equestrian Center at Shadow Ridge Stables to hold open house Dec. 22

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Shadow Ridge Stables in Wirtz is now under new management.

Huxley Greer of New Life Equestrian Center at Shadow Ridge Stables says a lot of work has been done to ensuring the facility is ready to provide top quality boarding, training, lesson, clinics, shows, and more! Visitors are invited to check the facility out at an open house on Dec. 22nd from 1-3 p.m.

An overview of amenities include:

  • Laundry services for boarders
  • Outdoor arena with excellent footing, lights, and sound system
  • 12×12 stalls with rubber mats and fans
  • Miles of amazing trails
  • Hot and cold wash stalls with fans and heat lamps
  • Heated tack room with individualized lockers
  • Variety of turnout options
  • Pasture board that offers comfy sheds with fans
  • Staff that lives on-site

All disciplines and levels of riders are welcome.

For those interested, an FEI event and dressage trainer is available on site for lessons, but boarders are also welcome to bring in outside trainers.

Virginia Horse Council to hold annual meeting and seminar in Blacksburg

horse council seminar flyerThe Virginia Horse Council will hold its annual meeting and seminar on March 30 at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Educational sessions will take place throughout the day, beginning at 9 a.m. Cost to attend is $20 for council members and $25 for non-members. Lunch is included.

Sue Fanelli, chairman of the Virginia Horse Council board, will talk about the council’s Cruelty and Abuse Project at 9 a.m. Other topics throughout the day include Equine Cushings Disease, law requirements for horse owners, mud management, veterinarians expectations for standard of care, and a Make a Horseshoe lab. Speakers include Jill Deegan, Dr. Scott Pleasant, Carrie Swanson, and Paul Papadatos.

The day will also include vendors, a silent auction and networking opportunities. For more information, contact info@virginiahorsecouncil.org.

Roanoke Valley Horsemen’s Association to host 12th annual Equine Vet Forum

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The Roanoke Valley Horsemen’s Association will hold its annual Equine Vet Forum on Sunday, March 24, at the Pine Spur Hunt Club in Vinton, Virginia.

This year’s forum will feature Emma Jeffries from Blue Valley Vet, who will talk about hauling, and Tony Hutchins, of Pell Animal Clinic, who will talk about Tick Borne diseases.

Admission is free and membership in RVHA is not required.

Virginia Tech sends 11 riders to Harrisburg for IHSA Nationals

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Photo via Virginia Tech Equestrian Team Facebook page

The Virginia Tech Hunter Team is making Virginia proud in its first trip to the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Nationals, held this year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Nationals, held May 3 to 6, is live streamed on EqSportsNet.

Eleven Hokies are in Harrisburg representing Virginia Tech. Four are riding individually and eight are riding as part of the team competition. One rider is competing in both the individual and team categories.

Virginia Tech had several riders already seeing success on the first day of competition.

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Carolyn Rosazza

Carolyn Rosazza was named Reserve Champion as a team rider in Novice Equitation on the Flat & also receives an honorable mention as an individual in Advanced W/T/C. Rachel Burton placed ninth as an individual in Advanced W/T/C.

 

Tanner Paige Price placed sixth as an individual in Intermediate Equitation Over Fences. Meanwhile, Nichole Jones received an honorable mention as a team rider in Novice Equitation Over Fences. Claire Elise Arnold received an honorable mention as a team rider in Intermediate Equitation on the Flat.

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Tanner Paige Price

IHSA Nationals features 450 men and women from across the U.S. and Canada competing in hunter seat equitation and Western horsemanship in a range of levels from Walk-Trot through Open. The riders have competed throughout the season to qualify and will vie for team, individual, alumni championships and the coveted USEF/Cacchione Cup and the AQHA Western High Point Rider national final.

Randolph College in Lynchburg also sent three riders to Nationals. Makayla Benjamin, of Sweet Briar College, is representing Zone 4 in the Cacchione Cup Finals. After the over-fences portion of the competition on Friday morning she was in third place.

Well-trained horses are wanted: Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale a spring hit

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The Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale takes place each April at the Virginia Horse Center and along with the auction on Saturday, includes two competitions for sale horses.

As the weather warms and the sun starts to feel just a bit warmer, daydreams shift to the promise of another great season of trail riding and hours spent on a favorite horse climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains or cantering along a river at James River State Park.

Last weekend (April 13-14, 2018) in Virginia, both fabulous weather and plans for great trail rides converged at the Virginia Horse Center for the Great American Ranch and Trail Horse Sale as 120 horses, hundreds of buyers and even more spectators gathered for another sale.

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Unique to this sale are the competitions open only to consigned horses. The ranch horses go first on Friday afternoon in a class the requires them to perform an AQHA ranch horse pattern and then box and rope a cow.  On Friday evening, another class of horses tackles a trail course that features obstacles such as logs, a bridge, brush, a campsite complete with campfire and a bear, an outhouse in which they must ground tie outside while the rider steps inside and a horse trailer that the horse hops inside. It also often includes a few surprises like a live animal. This year it included a goat along the trail. Horses may only enter one of the competitions.

After the Top 10 performers from Friday night came back for the Trail Horse finals on Saturday morning, Steve Meadows of Virginia and Ima Sweet Machine (Hip No. 10) took home the top prize in an especially strong group of finalists. Meadows’ 2008 black gelding then later sold in the sale for $30,000. The Reserve in the trail class went to John Roberts riding Marion G. Valerio’s AQHA gelding Get Your Shine On. He later sold for $11,700.

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Steve Meadows and Ima Sweet Machine took home the big check in the Trail Horse competition.

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Get Your Shine on and John Roberts (left) were the Reserve Champion in the Trail Horse competition.

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Tanner Keith and Hy Rem Cowboy took home the Ranch Horse title.

The ranch horse competition is in just its second year at the sale. The class showcases the working ranch horses and their ability to work cattle. In his first year consigning horses to the sale, Tanner Keith of Virginia had three of the Top 5 horses. Winning the class was Keith’s Hy Rem Cowboy, Hip No. 68. Later in the sale his price did not reach the reserve. Reserve champion was Keith’s RobPaulPayPeter, Hip No. 111. He later sold for $6,600.

While many years a champion for the competitions is also the high seller, this year it was pure beauty that took the sale by storm. Hip No. 45, GG Jonah, a gorgeous 2008 black Gypsy Vanner gelding consigned by Buckeye Acre Farm of Ohio stirred hearts all across the country before the sale. And it was a series of phone bids that sent his sale price to $40,000, topping this year’s sale. A video of the bidding can be found here.

Horses really are available at all budgets. Some prices came in at less than $2,000, many ranged between $3,000 – $8,000, and then top sellers brought more than $10,000. Some of 2018’s top sellers included:

  • Roan Hancock Gin (Hip No. 15), 2012 AQHA gelding, $33,000
  • A Pleasure Bar Time (Hip No. 116), 2008 APHA sorrel overo gelding, $31,000
  • FQHR Buddy Blue (Hip No. 49) 2011 AQHA blue roan gelding, $24,000
  • Dun Dun It Again (Hip No. 51) 2007 AQHA Buckskin gelding, $20,000
  • BJs Perty Charlie (Hip No. 31), 2008 AQHA grullo gelding, $19,500
  • Buckeye’s Breeze (Hip No. 60), 2013 Gypsy/QH cross gelding, $19,500
  • Buckeye’s Phantom (Hip No. 23), 2010 Andalusion/AQHA cross gelding, $18,500
  • The Principle Chip (Hip No. 87), 2004 ApHC Brown gelding, $16,000
  • Just Driftin Roan, (Hip No. 25), 2014 Bay Roan AQHA gelding, $14,000
  • You Can Call Me Darlin (Hip No. 21), 2011 Molly Mule, $12,500
  • FQHR Cortez (Hip No. 33) 2012 AQHA Dun gelding, $12,000

Live videos and photos from the sale are also available for viewing on the sale’s Facebook page. Watch the slideshow below for more photos from around the sale.

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‘Horse Whisperer’ coming to Virginia Horse Center in October

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Buck Brannaman

One of the things I love the most about living in the Roanoke region of Virginia is having the Virginia Horse Center just a short jaunt up Interstate 81. The first class horse facility brings top competition and horsemen to our region each year, and 2018 will be no exception.

If you are a fan of natural horsemanship, one of the very top clinicians will be visiting the East Complex on Oct. 5-7, 2018. Buck Brannaman was the inspiration for the movie and novel character Tom Booker from “The Horse Whisperer.” He was also the equine consultant on the film. A documentary about Brannaman called “Buck,”Buck directed by Cindy Meehl, won the U.S. Documentary Competition Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Brannaman will hold Foundation Horsemanship and Horsemanship classes at the October clinic. For more information, contact taylorf7@vt.edu. Brannaman’s website lists clinic costs at $700 for three days of class participation as a rider and an auditing fee of $30 a day.

The classes offered are described as follows:

Foundation Horsemanship

This new class is for the green rider or a green horse who may feel the need for additional groundwork prior to riding. During each of the three-day sessions half of the class is dedicated to working the horse from the ground in preparation for riding, with the second half of the class horseback.

Horsemanship 1

For the green horse and rider already comfortable in the snaffle bit along with aged horses needing continued work. This is the first stage of progressing into the bridle with all basic movements introduced. All levels of riders – no matter what discipline – will benefit. The class features strictly dry work – no cattle. All maneuvers stress the vaquero style of riding and are appropriate for horses from first level snaffle to experienced bridle horses. Hackamore horses welcome.

Brannaman, of Sheridan, Wyo., spends much of his year on the road holding clinics around the globe. For instance, his 2018 schedule includes stops in Australia, Italy and throughout the U.S., although most stops are in the Western U.S.

“I often tell people in the clinics, the human possesses the one thing that means more to the horse than anything in the world, and that is peace and comfort,” Brannaman told ABC News in 2012. “That’s all they want.”

The trainer grew up a child of abuse, terrified of their widowed father who forced him and his brothers to perform trick roping.

“The horses at that time in my life, they saved my life,” Brannaman told Weir. “The horses did way for me than I did for them. So they were my friends, and they were sort of my refuge. So it’s interesting that I’ve been given the opportunity to spend the rest of my life making things better for the horses.”

Brannaman is known for his quiet approach to gaining respect from horses. He emphasizes that respect and fear are not the same thing. He was for many years a disciple of Ray Hunt, one of the founders of the natural horsemanship movement, and also inspired by Tom and Bill Dorrance.

Cross View Horse Show holds July installment of its 2017 series

CrossViewBLOG-0306The Cross View Horse Show series continued last weekend at Green Hill Park Equestrian Center with a two-day horse show. Saturday featured hunters/jumpers and Sunday featured an all-breed open horse show with a special division of gaited horses.

The Cross View series is a great show for all levels of riders looking for a well-run show with a low-pressure, community atmosphere. Along with the competition, vendors also camped out in the grassy section between the two arenas.

Green Hill Equestrian Center offers three arenas with dirt footing. There is a large field across from the arenas for easy trailer parking, even for the largest of rigs. There also limited stalls available. The Green Hill venue does get hot in the summer with limited shade, so bring your pop up canopies or consider arriving early to secure a spot near the woods.

The show moves along fairly quickly. On Sunday, the gaited horses and model/showmanship started the show in separate arenas. The gaited portion was completed by 11 a.m and featured Rocky Mountain Horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, Saddlebreds and Peruvian Pasos among the horses shown.

See a photo you love? Photos taken at the Cross View Horse Show can be purchased online by clicking here.

Turnout was good considering the heat in July. Youth classes were particularly well attended with 10-15 in the youth pleasure classes. However the adult classes on Sunday weren’t as well attended and the English pleasure division had just one adult showing this time. Classes run $9/class.

Cross View would hold the last show in its 2017 series on Sept. 23-24 at Green Hill Equestrian Center, where it will crown the high point winners for the entire series.

Below are a sample of photos from the weekend. These photos and many others are available for purchase at roanokeequestrian.smugmug.com.

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Roanoke Valley Horse Show continues to evolve at Virginia Horse Center

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Ceil Wheeler and Callaway’s Brioni. Photo courtesy of Shiflet Photography
The Roanoke Shenandoah Valley Horse Show returned to the Virginia Horse Center on June 21-25. And while high-steppin’ horses took to the Coliseum to compete for top honors, there were no high jumps in a chase for a title.

While technically this is a continuation of the show once run by the Roanoke Valley Horseman’s Association at the Salem Civic Center and hosted by the Virginia Horse Center in 2016, the show is now under new management, R.H. Bennett, of Shelbyville, Kentucky. 

The 2017 show was a very different affair than what fans will remember from 1972-2014. The hunter/jumper classes that were at the heart of the multi-breed Salem show are no more. Nor are the barrels or Western classes that were traditionally held on Monday. And fans would not find a Grand Prix of Roanoke to cap the event on Saturday night. This year’s show showcased only American Saddlebreds.

The show, begun in 1972, has been granted United States Equestrian Federation designation as a USEF Heritage Competition. The designation is only given to those competitions that have made substantial contributions toward the development of the sport, promote and practice equestrian ideals of sportsmanship, and have been established for a long period of time.

For 2017, there were 103 classes. Horses come from far and wide with  23 states represented. Spectators were admitted at no charge. The Salem show sold tickets to its evening classes.

During this year’s competition, Ceil Wheeler and her own Callaway’s Brioni took home the championship in the ASB Ladies Five Gaited Championship. The reserve champion was presented to Phyllis Brookshire aboard Man on the Move.

Suzanne Wright and Fort Chiswell’s Wild Kiss earned the ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure Adult championship, with the reserve championship going to Jennie Garlington riding Kalarama’s New Moon.

In the Hackney Pony Pleasure Adult Championship, it was Toni Nastali aboard Sandra Surber’s Heartland Resplendent that received the tricolor. The reserve champion in the Hackney division went Patty Hylton riding her own, Crystal Creek’s Legacy.

The win in the ASB Fine Harness Jackpot went to Larry Hodge aboard Trust My Imagination, owned by Hillcroft Farm. Hodge also took home the win in the ASB Five Gaited Jackpot, this time aboard Two Sweet to Kiss.

The ASB Five Gaited Jackpot was dedicated to Matt Shiflet’s grandfather, Claude Shiflet, a trainer whose family has been coming to the Roanoke Valley Horse Show from the beginning. The Shiflet family was honored before the class.

Related:

Former Roanoke Valley Horse Show has new name, format

Alexa Lowe-Wiseman wins Rockbridge Grand Prix on Synapse De Blondel

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Alexa Lowe-Wiseman rode Synapse De Blondel to a win in the Rockbridge Grand Prix on April 29, 2017.

In the end, careful was more important than fast as show jumping took center stage at the Virginia Horse Center on Saturday, April 29. Alexa Lowe-Wiseman and Windsor Farm’s Synapse De Blondel were the only combination to produce a double clear effort, winning the $30,000 Rockbridge Grand Prix and Dubliner Trophy. Out of 14 entries, five returned for the jump-off, with Wiseman qualifying with two mounts.
Synapse De Blondel, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare, had previously shown with
Wiseman in her first grand prix as a sale horse a year earlier. “My mother negotiated a trade deal with Nicholas Pio to get Blondie (Synapse De Blondel) to stay in the family after the great year we had, so it was my first grand prix with her as ours. It was very special and very exciting for Synapse De Blondel to win.”

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Alexa Lowe-Wiseman and Udstrum Du Lys also qualified for the jump-off round.

Wiseman had the first and last attempt at the jump-off. Her first was aboard Udstrum Du Lys, a green horse who was competing in his first grand prix. Each competitor had a rail down throughout the jump-off when Wiseman entered the arena for her second round on Synapse De Blondel.

 

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Christofoloni H
Christofoloni H and Manuel Torres

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FVF Sailor Man and Maryann Charles

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FVF Sailor Man ridden by Maryann Charles

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Brooke Kemper on Classified

“Normally the strategy, if everyone has had a rail, you still have to go fast because if you also have a rail you don’t want to be the slowest 4-faulter. Knowing that I was the last one on course on my chestnut mare that is so careful I actually played it safe and executed a slower, but safe, clear round. It’s nice when you know that you can count on your horse to leave the jump when you are sitting in that position.”
Although completing the fastest round in the jump-off, Colombian rider Andrea Torres Guerreiro took second place aboard her own Fifty Shades, an 8-year-old Westphalian gelding. Torres Guerreiro also owned the third place finisher for Colombia, Christofolini H, a 9-year-old Rheinlander gelding ridden by Manuel Torres.
As a native Virginian, Lowe-Wiseman looks forward to continually supporting the shows at the Virginia Horse Center. “Everyone is friendly, the horse show staff, the ladies in the office, and the stable manager. They do everything they can, including having people to run you up and down the hill in golf carts so you don’t have to walk. The grand prix is special because the crowd shows up at night and cheer you on and it’s all because of the management of the show.”
On Friday, April 28, Maria Shannon won the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, claiming victory aboard Buble’, a Danish Warmblood owned by Mohammad Attar. The pair rose to the challenge with a score of 169 to claim the Laura Pickett Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres Show Stable.
Twenty entries competed over the Paul Jewell designed course in the Wiley Arena. Buble’ — in addition to the reserve champion, Cavallino — were trained by Shannon’s mother, Claiborne Bishop of The Barracks Farm in Charlottesville, VA. Shannon has worked for the farm since 2000 where she competes in the professional divisions.
The Lexington Spring Festival continues at the horse center and will be capped by the $30,000 George L. Olhstrom Grand Prix on Saturday, May 6.