Proposed horse show circuit draws rave reviews |

Proposed horse show circuit draws rave reviews

Staff reports

For now, the future site of a major horse show looks like piles of dirt and an open field, but come June, it may be a championship quality arena.

“It’s a great site,” said Mary Hilton, spokeswoman for Horse Shows in the Sun. “We have had no problems with developing it, since there were no obstacles to work around. We think it’s the best possible site, with the mountains in the background.”

Horse Shows in the Sun invited community leaders to its arena site at the end of Stockyard Road this past weekend to show off what show officials hope will be a major draw for horse enthusiasts. The site, which will be marketed under the trade name of HITS Tahoe Horse Show, is currently under construction.

Horse Shows In The Sun, based in Rhinebeck, N.Y., promotes special events throughout the United States and focuses principally on horse show competitions – mainly hunter/jumper horse events. Individually, the horse show competition is a first-rate horse show competition.

This is the first site in Nevada that HITS has developed. The competition will consist of fives weeks, with different groups coming in for each of the five weeks. Hilton said that the competitions – known as HITS among riders – should bring in around 3,000 people during the five-week period.

“That includes horsemen, their families and training staff,” she said.

She said the events are scheduled to begin June 28 and run through July 30.

“We plan to draw about 1,000 horse riders over the five week period,” she said. She added that those figures are conservative and were based on figures from the American Horse Show industry.

She said the nearby communities of Gardnerville and Minden, as well as Lake Tahoe, provide wonderful accommodations for the events.

The site will have portable bleachers, tents, and stabling will also be installed.

“Already, five show rings have been installed, which required surface grading with stone dust and ground rubber brought in to create an all-weather footing surface which is preferred by exhibitors,” said Tom Struzzieri, president of HITS

“This site has been perfect for us. It’s a place with something for everyone,” Hilton said. “The competitors and the families can be involved in something while the training goes on. The trainers have all said that they like the location as well.”

Struzzieri said that the Minden-Tahoe site will rival the company’s largest show, which is a six-week competition in Indio Desert, Calif. That competition is held January through March, and it draws 3,500 horses, 4,500 riders and 25,000 spectators.

“I think it’s great,” said County Manager Dan Holler. “The exciting thing for me from the county standpoint is that this company comes in and brings another quality and unique event to Douglas County. People will come in and support our business with little or no impact on our services.”

Holler said he worked with the organization for approximately 18 months as they made their decision to bring the horse shows to Douglas County.

“It’s another unique tourism draw to Douglas County that makes us unique from Las Vegas and Reno. It’s going to help Douglas County and Carson City. It will enhance other economic activity such as restaurants, gas stations and hotels and motels.”

Holler predicted the business will grow over time.

“The whole operation is in keeping with the rural and agricultural vision for the Valley,” he said.