Decision for 2010 World Equestrian Games Announced December 6

Kentucky Sending Team to Bahrain in Efforts to Bring World Equestrian Games to America for the First Time Ever

Frankfort, KY - Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher will dispatch a team to Bahrain (in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia) in an attempt to bring the 2010 World Equestrian Games to America for the first time ever in the history of horse sports. The games occur every four years and have never been held outside of Europe.

"I am proud that our state, and this team, is representing the United States of America in pursuing the World Equestrian Games," said Governor Fletcher. "Kentucky is the horse capital of the world. We know that. America knows that. I believe the games organizers will recognize that and award the 2010 World Equestrian Games to America."

The 2010 World Equestrian Games will be the largest single sporting event ever held in Kentucky, including the Kentucky Derby. Attendance is estimated to be more then 300,000 over a two-week period. Economists predict the games will have an economic impact of some $100 million. That is the equivalent of hosting two NCAA men's basketball championship Final Fours. Nearly 1,000 equestrians from approximately 50 countries and 1,000 media members are expected to attend the event.

"There is no place in the world like the Kentucky Horse Park," said Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, John Nicholson. "Never before have the World Equestrian Games been held at a single location. That can happen here at the Horse Park."

A five-member delegation consisting of John Nicholson, executive director of The Kentucky Horse Park, Rob Hinkle, director of operations at the Kentucky Horse Park, Derrick Ramsey, deputy secretary of the Commerce Cabinet, Tandy Patrick, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, and John Long, chief executive officer of the United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. will leave for Bahrain Saturday December 3. They will make the final pitch to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Tuesday December 6. A final decision is expected that day.

"You can imagine the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which is an international caliber event, but multiply the competition by seven," said Nicholson. "Instead of a three-day event, this will be a full 14-day series of competitions that will draw more than 1,000 international journalists and will be televised in 180 countries. Fifty of those countries will receive live TV coverage of the events. The nearly 800 equestrians and 1,000 horses vying for the seven crowns will represent nearly 50 countries. It will be a tremendous opportunity for our state to stake our claim as the true horse capital of the world," noted Nicholson.

Prior World Equestrian Games have been hosted in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The 2006 World Equestrian Games will take place in Aachen, Germany. Should Kentucky get the nod, it will not only be the first time the games will take place outside of Europe, it will also be the first time that all seven competitions will be hosted at a single venue, the Kentucky Horse Park. "No other site has had the facilities necessary to stage all seven competitions," explained Nicholson.

"It is an honor to be a finalist to host The 2010 World Equestrian Games," said chief executive officer of the United States Equestrian Federation, John Long. "America is ready, Kentucky is ready and the Kentucky Horse Park is ready. I know this delegation is ready to deliver that message to the FEI."

Normandy, France and Dubai, UAE are the other finalists competing with the American bid. However, only France and the United States have been asked to make final proposals.

The World Equestrian Games are the seven equestrian world championship events as recognized by the FEI. Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining comprise the seven disciplines.

Those involved with the American bid will gather at the Kentucky Horse Park December 6 to await word on the announcement.