Over a decade ago, Brandmaier had the vision to create the Canadian Hunter Derby Series in honour of Lorna Guthrie, who founded the Knightwood Handy Hunter Challenge in 1998.

The goal of the derby is to create more spectator, sponsor, owner and competitor excitement with the hunter divisions. The Hunter Derby provides an opportunity for hunter riders to take center stage in a grand prix environment and showcase the high-performance capabilities of horse and rider.

The 10th anniversary year of the derby will feature $400,000 in prize money, 60 nation-wide events leading up to the $100,000 Canadian Hunter Derby National Championships at the 100th anniversary of The Royal Winter Fair.

Brandmaier is the coordination point for a nation-wide group of people that crafted the vision, built the Canadian Hunter Derby Series and lead it day to day. He does a lot of everything to keep the series running: from building schedules, ensuring points are counted, recruiting sponsors and partners, cross-country travel incentives and taking feedback. Jeff also designs, builds and delivers derby sponsor jumps, including a custom set of derby jumps for The Canadian Hunter Derby Championships at the Royal Winter Fair.

The 62-year-old has competed for over 50 years, jumping 1.40m or better for 30 of those years. He mucked stalls for riding lessons at age 10 and won his first class when he was 13, being fortunate that owners and trainers provided him opportunities while growing up. Brandmaier attained success in the ring throughout his life with numerous wins and championships on the provincial, national and international stage – including The Royal Winter Fair, American Gold Cup, HITS and WEF.

An MBA graduate, Brandmaier has over 30 years of business experience culminating in several Fortune 500 executive positions.

When asked how he felt about receiving the award, “I am humbled, the derby has given me the opportunity to give back to the sport that has been my lifetime passion. It was fun working with everyone to make this reality and we have a 100 great stories from the journey!”

“This is another recognition for the Canadian Hunter Derby Series and the many people who built this national sport in Canada – we credit the partnership with EC as key to the success of the derby” said Brandmaier.

EC is very grateful to benefit from a volunteer with such expertise, generosity and devotion to equestrian sport, and is pleased to recognize Brandmaier with the EC Volunteer of the Year Award for 2021.

Brandmaier joins a long list of distinguished JC Volunteer of the Year Award recipients, including Beth Underhill (2019), Craig Collins (2018), Mark Samuel (2017) and Marjorie Dennis (2016). For a complete list of award recipients, click here.

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Jeff Brandmaier named 2021 EC Jumping Committee

Jeff Brandmaier and his wife Muffie Guthrie at the Hall of Fame Gala
Photo Credit: Michelle C. Dunn

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