Officials encouraged by Horse show numbers
A preview of a major Carson Valley horse show is spurring talk of county sponsorship and celebrity sightings.
Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner said he recently traveled with County Manager Dan Holler to Indio, Calif. to watch Horse Shows In The Sun’s flagship event. HITS holds several events a year and is adding a five-week show that will be staged north of Minden in June and July, to be known as HITS Tahoe.
“I was very, very impressed,” said Miner. “It’s going to be good.”
HITS representatives are anticipating 1,000 horses and 3,000 spectators over the course of the inaugural Carson Valley event, and have said they think the show may eventually rival the Indio show, which draws 2,300 horses and 5,000 visitors.
The shows include hunter and jumper events, in which contestants negotiate obstacle courses and are judged on style and speed, respectively.
After visiting the Indio show, Miner said he thinks Douglas County can complement HITS Tahoe with regional attractions that will boost show attendance – and tourism revenues.
Miner says he envisions promoting golf and local attractions to the participants, while enticing locals to the horse show. HITS competitions will be held four days each of the five weeks the show is in town.
“During the off days, I’m thinking about other things for the participants as well as the spectators to do,” said Miner. “They’re very willing to explore the other kinds of fun stuff that will broaden their appeal.”
His suggestions for “fun stuff” include allowing local 4-H exhibitions, expanding concessions to appeal to the spectators who aren’t affiliated with the show and cross-promoting HITS with events like the celebrity golf tournament, which takes place the first week of July in Stateline.
“(The horse competition) is a specialized sport, and they don’t get the type of coverage that the golf tournament gets. But they would if one of the celebrities was down there with his kids,” said Miner.
Representatives for HITS have said they welcome community involvement and feature special events and days during which money is raised for local groups or charities.
While details on exactly what the county would spend or give to sponsor HITS Tahoe are sketchy, Miner thinks the county could recoup any costs, plus gain additional revenues from tourist day trips.
“We are talking, but they want to have more clarity,” he said. “There’s some brainstorming to be done and see what we can do.”