Tryon, NC - The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were officially opened with a stylish two-hour ceremony at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
Some of equestrian sport's most famous names took a central role for their countries during the traditional parade of flags that highlighted proceedings at a packed Tryon Stadium before a crowd of athletes, grooms, National Federation staff, and spectators. Rising country musician Joe Lasher opened for Grammy-nominated artist Hunter Hayes, while athlete representatives were welcomed into Tryon Stadium to officially commence the start of competition.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 began with a spectacular Opening Ceremony, as competition is set commence tomorrow and continue through Sunday, September 23 at Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Carrying the American flag was dressage sensation Laura Graves, who said, "Tonight is really special for me. It is September 11, so getting the chance to raise this flag was very emotional."
"I am looking forward to a really great next few days of competition. It is going to be exciting for us in Dressage and it looks like all the horses have a terrific venue and great facilities. We are ready to get going," she continued.
Triple Olympic Team Eventing Gold medalist Andrew Hoy had the honor for Australia and he said, "Last time I rode in a World Eventing Championship in America it was in 1978, so it is absolutely wonderful to be back.
"It is a great honor to be a flag-bearer for my country. I'm looking forward to getting out there and the competition starting."
Renowned country music artist, Hunter Hayes, played for an enthusiastic crowd in Tryon Stadium.
Dressage rider Julio Mendoza, who represents Ecuador, but lives relatively locally to the venue, added, "I'm really excited to be here in Tryon. This is my first FEI World Equestrian Games and I am beyond happy to be here representing my country and to have such a great opportunity. To be in the same ring with such amazing athletes and great horses is so exciting and I can't wait for the competition to get started tomorrow," he concluded.
Eventing icon Ingrid Klimke (GER), a winner of numerous major championship medals, did the honors for Germany and she commented, "I am really happy to be here with my horse. We are ready for the next adventure. We have a wonderful venue and I am very proud to be here and be a part of it all."
China's Alex Hua Tian is also set to be among the field when Eventing gets under way on Thursday.
"I am here in the U.S. for the first time ever, competing in my second FEI World Equestrian Games. It's the largest equestrian festival in the world, so to fly the flag for China for the first time ever in Eventing is a wonderful thing."