LEXINGTON, KY - Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that the Commonwealth of Kentucky, on behalf of the United States, will submit a formal bid to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to host the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG). These games are the most important high-performance equestrian competition in the world, and are held every four years in a country designated by the FEI, the international governing body for equestrian sport headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"I am very pleased to announce, along with representatives of the United States equestrian industry and the Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky's bid to host the 2010 World Equestrian Games," stated Governor Ernie Fletcher. "Our great Commonwealth is known around the world for our state's signature horse industry, and Kentucky would be honored to host this prestigious event right here in the Bluegrass."
The WEG are comprised of the world championships for seven equestrian sports – eventing, show jumping, dressage, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining. They are held every four years, two years prior to the Olympic Games. The 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain attracted close to 300,000 spectators, 800 equestrians from 45 countries, and 1000 media representatives.
“Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World and is the ideal location for this equestrian sport,” Commerce Secretary Jim Host said. “The World Equestrian Games will have an estimated $90 million economic impact on Kentucky,” he added.
The event will bring international competitors and tourists to Kentucky, from ten days to two weeks, in September 2010. The WEG will impact Kentucky in terms of both direct and indirect spending. Airports and the hospitality industry in Greater Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Central Kentucky will benefit from the business brought to them by an estimated WEG attendance of 250,000 people.
“We have received a great deal of support from the international equestrian community because of the Kentucky Horse Park’s positive reputation,” said John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “Having the World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park would, for the first time, allow all seven disciplines to be held at the same venue. Although this will be a monumental undertaking, we are confident that we can host the best games in the history of this event.”
Governor Fletcher also announced that a bid committee was being formed and will be comprised of representatives from throughout the United States and Kentucky. Kentucky would host the World Equestrian Games but is representing the United States in this bid. The committee must be national in scope to compete with the other nation’s submitting bids. Competitive bids are expected to be made by Normandy, France; Melbourne, Australia; and the United Arab Emirates.
John Long, Chief Executive Officer of the United States Equestrian Federation, the National Governing Body for equestrian sport said, “this is extremely exciting for our organization. We fund and send the United States’ equestrian teams to international competitions throughout the world, including the Olympic Games, and we relish the opportunity to host the World Equestrian Games, right here in our own back yard, the Kentucky Horse Park. It’s long overdue that these games be held in the United States and we are energized by the enthusiasm the governor’s office has for this bid.”
Additional information on the World Equestrian Games is available by contacting Sherry Frank, Assistant Executive Director of International Services at the United States Equestrian Federation, Inc., at (859) 225-6913 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The USEF Website is www.usef.org.
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The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet that hosted 913,000 visitors and 80 special events and horse shows in 2003. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just North of Lexington. The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.