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Horse show group will pump $20 million into northern Nevada economy

by Nancy Hamlett

Commuters between the Minden/Gardnerville and north Carson Valley have watched the progression as a world class hunter/jumper show facility arose from the alfalfa fields at Bently Agrowdynamics.

Horse Shows in The Sun (HITS), a producer of six world class hunter jumper/horse show circuits nationwide, is set to deliver HITS Tahoe/Minden from June 28 to July 30. Five horse shows will run for five consecutive days each and will award more than $850,000 in total prize money. HITS Tahoe/Minden is expected to draw more than 1,000 horses and 3,000 horsemen to the Carson Valley.

According to Tom Struzzieri, president and owner of HITS and designer of the HITS Tahoe/Minden show grounds, “This show ground is the first one that HITS has built from scratch. It was an opportunity for me to use my 20 years in the horse show business to design what I feel is the ideal show grounds. The site, climate and location are as near perfect as anyone could want.”

Don Bently, owner of Bently Nevada and chief executive officer has a special affinity for horses and English riding. Although it’s been more than 40 years since his equestrian days as a training assistant, Bently is pleased with the special relationship between HITS and his company.

“Business has been good to me over the years and has allowed me to invest in land throughout the Carson Valley. Much of it is under agricultural production, keeping our area green and our quality of life excellent. I’m pleased that I can contribute to the HITS Tahoe events through the lease of 100 acres of Bently land for the next 10 years.”

The Carson Valley is already feeling the affects of HITS Tahoe/Minden. Dave Bolick, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, said that hotel and motel owners are, “happy as a lark,” with the advance bookings. And several businesses have entered into contracts with HITS management to provide everything from horse feed to tack room decorations.

“It is altogether possible that HITS will bring in over $20 million to the Carson Valley and Northern Nevada and Lake Tahhoe over a five-week period, with that amount increasing yearly over the next 10 years,” said Bolick. “The HITS Indio show circuit contributes over $70 million to the community over 6 weeks, and HITS management expects our event to eventually be their biggest.”

Bolick is convinced that HITS will generate new interests in the Valley.

“I think that we will see a surge of a different type of horse riding. To watch the riders and horses is electrifying, and I have no doubt, before this is all over, we’ll have a new breed of rider here in the Carson Valley. HITS may spark a whole new industry for us,” he said.

County Manager Dan Holler said that he is very excited about HITS being here.

“This type of event plays well to our rural component. It is a high-class event yet it still deals with horses. It has the flavor of agriculture, the flavor of rural, and I think a lot of people in the Carson valley will appreciate that,” said Holler.

Holler also said that HITS is a new tourism venue for the Valley that will enhance and compliment other tourism attractions such as Lake Tahoe, soaring and ballooning.

“HITS will solidify our reputation as a nationally enhanced tourist destination, plus HITS will bring an infusion of people into the valley. Will it attract business, retirees and tourism in the future? We won’t know that until after the event, however there is a strong possibility that it will,” he said.

The development of an alfalfa field into a world-class hunter/jumper site has required underground water and electricity lines to support the daily working of this temporary village. In addition to the 16 gaily-striped tents that can stable up to 96 horses each, the site contains 8 competition and warm up rings, which were constructed at a cost of more than $500,000.

To create the necessary firm base in the ring that is required by hunters and jumpers, 30,000 tons of stone dust was compacted in the rings, which was then overlaid with 60,000 pounds of ground rubber-recycled tennis shoes. This creates an all- weather surface that provides cushioning and traction for the horses.

Other temporary structures were built for the convenience of participants. For the horses, fifty pipe paddocks were erected to allow horses free exercise, and for stable hands, grooms and trainers, HITS built a 50-space RV Park.

HITS Tahoe will feature 300 competition classes each week for five weeks in all three disciplines of show jumping-hunter, jumper and equitation. Every Friday, competitors will vie for the $15,000 open jumper prix, with the grand prix class as the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. The grand prix carries a purse of $50,000 for the first four weeks and $100,000 for the final week.

Coldwell Banker ITIILDO in the Carson Valley is the sponsor of the $50,000 grand prix on Sunday, July 16.

“I wanted to become involved in the horse show because I know it will be of great benefit to our community,” said Marsha Tomerlin, founder of Coldwell Banker ITILDO. “It’s a way of letting a whole new group of people know that Nevada has many green, serene pastures. We are really the diamond of Nevada. The horse show allows us to share what we have-which is awesome geography.”

Spectators are encouraged to attend the events, with a free gate Wednesday through Saturday, and a minimal $5 gate fee on Sunday with children under twelve admitted for free. There is no charge for parking.

To enhance the show jumping experience, which will be new for most first time attendees, HITS has designed the show grounds for maximum spectator participation. Located near each ring are portable bleachers that offer excellent viewing of the action, and Main Street, the area dividing the show grounds in half will offer a HITS-staffed food service, a vendor row with more than a dozen shops and sponsor exhibits, and the show management offices.

Spectators will also enjoy visiting the participants’ stable areas. Many of the professional barns will bring their award-winning show set-ups, including color coordinated drapes, signage and elaborate decorations for the tack rooms, and many will landscape the barn areas. Bently Family Limited Partnership and Bently Nevada Corporation are providing professional landscaping that will include lush grass, flowers and specimen trees and shrubs.

Holler, who has visited another HITS location in Indio, California, said that HITS Tahoe/Minden is a positive event for the Carson Valley.

“Other than a little congestion as with any major event, I see HITS Tahoe/ Minden as a bonus for the Carson Valley,” said Holler. “Horse shows are a clean industry that provide valuable dollars and entertainment for the community. I haven’t seen a downside to the event.”

– The ins and outs of show jumping

by Nancy Hamlett

Cori Rosa is no stranger to the world of show jumping.

Raised in California, she started lessons when she was just a small child, got her first pony when she was 5, and progressed to a Welsh cross pony when she was 6. She started riding competitively when she was 8, and nothing could hold her back – except high school and maybe boys.

However, once she turned 20 she was back in the saddle again, this time exercising horses for clients.

“I was going to college at San Jose State and people were willing to pay me to hack their horses,” said Rosa. “I found that it was a good way to help pay my way to the shows, and the next thing I knew, I was an accidental trainer. I just fell into the business.”

While Rosa lived in Watsonville, Calif., she attended the HITS shows in Indio as part of the winter circuit.

“HITS is the mainstream of the hunter/jumper world, and the show in Indio was one of the highlights of the year for me personally,” said Rosa. “HITS puts on a nice series, and is highly rated. I’m excited about it coming to the Carson Valley.”

Rosa volunteered to explain some of the basics of hunters and jumpers, as they are two different classes of horses, and are judged differently.

According to Rosa, the hunter is judged on the grace and beauty of the sport and the willingness and style of going over fences. Mistakes are counted against the horse,

“Jumpers, on the other hand are judged by the number of mistakes they make,” said Rosa. “But if you think you are going to see those wild crazy horses that we all remember from years back, you won’t. Many of these horses are warmbloods – descendants from draft horses in Europe. They have been refined to look like a thoroughbred, but they are much gentler.”

The style of riding has changed over the years as well, according to Rosa.

“It used to be that riders hung on by the seat of their pants, and it really was a free for all. But not anymore,” said Rosa.

“Spectators won’t see a lot of falls. The courses have become more technical, requiring riders to focus on technique, strategy and planning as they study the course, and of course mental and physical fitness,” said Rosa. “Show jumping is a sport, and like any sport, the rider and horse must be up to the challenges.”

Rosa and her husband, Mark, moved to Northern Nevada 5-1/2 years ago, and to the Johnson Lane area 5 years ago. She is back training horses and riders, but she refuses to grow to the scale of her California operation.

“Showing horses is something that gets in your blood, and I missed it after we moved to Nevada. But Mark and I decided that we would keep this operation small and run it from our home. That way it won’t overwhelm us.” said Rosa, who is taking seven students and eight horses to the HITS Tahoe/Minden horse circuit.

“My students will be mingling with some of the best horses and riders in the United States, Mexico and Canada. For five weeks they will hang out at the back gate, ride with them in the warm up ring, and be exposed to seasoned riders. They will learn something, even if it’s by osmosis. What a fantastic experience for them,” said Rosa.

Showing at this level will open doors for many of the local entrants, according to Rosa.

“It will change everything, from the way they look at their horse, to inspiration or to realization that they have to learn more. HITS is going to be an eye-opening experience,” she said.

“But the best part of HITS Tahoe/Minden is that it will be in our backyard. Showing is an expensive hobby. A good horse can run between $40,000 to $50,000 with the big rated jumpers bringing $75,000 to $200,000 or more,” said Rosa.

“Add on top of that training, entry fees, transportation, feed, vet bills, farrier expenses, stall expenses, and you can see that traveling to horse shows adds up quickly. My students will have the benefit of a world class show without the expense of hauling them all over the country. For most, it will be an experience that they will never have any other way.”

Additional quote: “Horses is a passion of mine. You don’t make any money at it, but it is a fun way of life.”

– Organizations will benefit from horse show

by Nancy Hamlett

Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) Tahoe/Minden promises to be a boon to the economy for the surrounding area, however this new venue to the Carson Valley will also positively impact many local organizations. Contributing to local charities is an integral element of the HITS organization. Nationwide at all six of the HITS horse show circuits, management provides opportunities for local groups to use the shows as fund-raisers.

Under the HITS plan, organizations pre-sell tickets to Sunday shows, including the grand prix, and keep 100 percent of the proceeds. When the show circuit begins, organization members work the gates as ticket takers, and the majority of each week’s sales benefit one or more organizations.

Eight organizations are pre-selling tickets in the Carson Valley and surrounding area: United States Pony Club, S.P.R., Kiwanis Club of Gardnerville-Carson City, Carson Valley Sertoma, Minden Rotary Club, Soroptimist International of Carson Valley, Carson City Boys and Girls Club, South Lake Tahoe Christmas Cheer Program and Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Al Ness is coordinating the ticket presales and work crew for Carson Valley Sertoma, one of the organizations that will benefit from HITS generosity.

“It’s an unheard of opportunity. Tickets are just $5, same as they will be at the gate, with the only difference that Sertoma gets to keep 100 percent of the money,” said Ness.

In exchange, the organization will direct parking, sell programs and tickets and collect tickets on the day of the event.

“Then we get a share of the total gate receipts for the Sunday grand prix events,” said Ness. “HITS splits with the organizations 50-50. Five clubs are providing manpower, so in effect Sertoma will receive 10 percent of the total gate. That could amount to a sizeable amount of money,” said Ness.

The pre-sale of tickets has been slow, according to Ness, a condition that he attributes to the area’s unfamiliarity with a hunter/jumper show of this quality.

“People don’t know what to expect. They don’t know about the thrills and excitement. But based on what I’ve seen, I think it is going to be fantastic, and the opportunity that HITS has given us will go a long way to aid and benefit people in the Carson Valley.”

Pre-show Ticket Sales in the Carson Valley

Carson Valley Sertoma

Contact: Al Ness

267-9466

U.S. Pony Club

Contact: Cynthia Valentine

775-267-5252

Minden Rotary

Contact: Dave Bolick

782-8144 (w)

Larry Werner

782-6017(w), 267-9439 (h)

Soroptimist International

Contact: Linda Faff

265-1746

Kiwanis Club of Gardnerville

Contact: Nick Barainca

265-6929

Commuters between the Minden/Gardnerville and north Carson Valley have watched the progression as a world class hunter/jumper show facility arose from the alfalfa fields at Bently Agrowdynamics.

Horse Shows is The Sun (HITS), a producer of six world class hunter jumper/horse show circuits nationwide, is set to deliver HITS Tahoe/Minden from June 28 to July 30. Five horse shows will run for five consecutive days each and will award more than $850,000 in total prize money. HITS Tahoe/Minden is expected to draw more than 1,000 horses and 3,000 horsemen to the Carson Valley.

According to Tom Struzzieri, president and owner of HITS and designer of the HITS Tahoe/Minden show grounds, “This show ground is the first one that HITS has built from scratch. It was an opportunity for me to use my 20 years in the horse show business to design what I feel is the ideal show grounds. The site, climate and location are as near perfect as anyone could want.”

Don Bently, owner of Bently Nevada and chief executive officer has a special affinity for horses and English riding. Although it’s been more than 40 years since his equestrian days as a training assistant, Bently is pleased with the special relationship between HITS and his company.

“Business has been good to me over the years and has allowed me to invest in land throughout the Carson Valley. Much of it is under agricultural production, keeping our area green and our quality of life excellent. I’m pleased that I can contribute to the HITS Tahoe events through the lease of 100 acres of Bently land for the next 10 years.”

The Carson Valley is already feeling the affects of HITS Tahoe/Minden. Dave Bolick, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, said that hotel and motel owners are, “happy as a lark,” with the advance bookings. And several businesses have entered into contracts with HITS management to provide everything from horse feed to tack room decorations.

“It is altogether possible that HITS will bring in over $20 million to the Carson Valley and Northern Nevada and Lake Tahhoe over a five-week period, with that amount increasing yearly over the next 10 years,” said Bolick. “The HITS Indio show circuit contributes over $70 million to the community over 6 weeks, and HITS management expects our event to eventually be their biggest.”

Bolick is convinced that HITS will generate new interests in the Valley.

“I think that we will see a surge of a different type of horse riding. To watch the riders and horses is electrifying, and I have no doubt, before this is all over, we’ll have a new breed of rider here in the Carson Valley. HITS may spark a whole new industry for us,” he said.

County Manager Dan Holler said that he is very excited about HITS being here.

“This type of event plays well to our rural component. It is a high-class event yet it still deals with horses. It has the flavor of agriculture, the flavor of rural, and I think a lot of people in the Carson valley will appreciate that,” said Holler.

Holler also said that HITS is a new tourism venue for the Valley that will enhance and compliment other tourism attractions such as Lake Tahoe, soaring and ballooning.

“HITS will solidify our reputation as a nationally enhanced tourist destination, plus HITS will bring an infusion of people into the valley. Will it attract business, retirees and tourism in the future? We won’t know that until after the event, however there is a strong possibility that it will,” he said.

The development of an alfalfa field into a world-class hunter/jumper site has required underground water and electricity lines to support the daily working of this temporary village. In addition to the 16 gaily-striped tents that can stable up to 96 horses each, the site contains 8 competition and warm up rings, which were constructed at a cost of more than $500,000.

To create the necessary firm base in the ring that is required by hunters and jumpers, 30,000 tons of stone dust was compacted in the rings, which was then overlaid with 60,000 pounds of ground rubber-recycled tennis shoes. This creates an all- weather surface that provides cushioning and traction for the horses.

Other temporary structures were built for the convenience of participants. For the horses, fifty pipe paddocks were erected to allow horses free exercise, and for stable hands, grooms and trainers, HITS built a 50-space RV Park.

HITS Tahoe will feature 300 competition classes each week for five weeks in all three disciplines of show jumping-hunter, jumper and equitation. Every Friday, competitors will vie for the $15,000 open jumper prix, with the grand prix class as the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. The grand prix carries a purse of $50,000 for the first four weeks and $100,000 for the final week.

Coldwell Banker ITIILDO in the Carson Valley is the sponsor of the $50,000 grand prix on Sunday, July 16.

“I wanted to become involved in the horse show because I know it will be of great benefit to our community,” said Marsha Tomerlin, founder of Coldwell Banker ITILDO. “It’s a way of letting a whole new group of people know that Nevada has many green, serene pastures. We are really the diamond of Nevada. The horse show allows us to share what we have-which is awesome geography.”

Spectators are encouraged to attend the events, with a free gate Wednesday through Saturday, and a minimal $5 gate fee on Sunday with children under twelve admitted for free. There is no charge for parking.

To enhance the show jumping experience, which will be new for most first time attendees, HITS has designed the show grounds for maximum spectator participation. Located near each ring are portable bleachers that offer excellent viewing of the action, and Main Street, the area dividing the show grounds in half will offer a HITS-staffed food service, a vendor row with more than a dozen shops and sponsor exhibits, and the show management offices.

Spectators will also enjoy visiting the participants’ stable areas. Many of the professional barns will bring their award-winning show set-ups, including color coordinated drapes, signage and elaborate decorations for the tack rooms, and many will landscape the barn areas. Bently Family Limited Partnership and Bently Nevada Corporation are providing professional landscaping that will include lush grass, flowers and specimen trees and shrubs.

Holler, who has visited another HITS location in Indio, California, said that HITS Tahoe/Minden is a positive event for the Carson Valley.

“Other than a little congestion as with any major event, I see HITS Tahoe/ Minden as a bonus for the Carson Valley,” said Holler. “Horse shows are a clean industry that provide valuable dollars and entertainment for the community. I haven’t seen a downside to the event.”