Las Vegas, Nevada - After a hotly-contested season, many of the world's top show jumping athletes have earned their golden ticket to the "Entertainment Capital of the World" for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Final that will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, concurrently with the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, April 15-19. The list of competitors reads like a who's-who in the show jumping world.
"It's an honor to be hosting the world's top jumping riders and horses in Las Vegas again," said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. "With just over weeks to go, Las Vegas is ready and waiting for this stellar list of competitors to arrive and compete for the prestigious tile of FEI World Cup champion."
Defending champion Daniel Deusser of Germany is automatically qualified and has confirmed that he will be coming to Las Vegas to try to retain his title; he is entered on his 2014 winner Cornet d'Amour. Joining him from the Western European League are countrymen Marco Kutscher, a two-time Olympian and World Cup Final veteran, Hans-Dieter Dreher and three-time World Cup champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Marcus Ehning.
Switzerland's 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat has confirmed his participation at the Final, along with 2013 European Champion Martin Fuchs and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Pius Schwizer. Sweden's Douglas Lindelow and Spain's Sergio Alvarez Moya will be there, as will Belgium's Jos Verlooy who replaced Rolf-Göran Bengtsson of Sweden.
French riders Kevin Staut, a two-time FEI World Equestrian Games silver medalist, and Olympic veterans Penelope Leprevost and Patrice Delaveau, who has previously competed in four World Cup Finals, will be heading to Las Vegas while countryman Simon Delestre has declined. The Netherlands' Maikel van der Vleuten, Jur Vrieling and Gerco Schröder have confirmed their participation, as has Norway's Geir Gulliksen, Italy's Luca Maria Moneta, and Ireland's Bertram Allen who is already an Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ veteran at just 19 years-old and who won two Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers this season.
The list of qualified U.S. riders boasts two former FEI World Cup™ Champions and four Olympians. Todd Minikus, who has competed in seven FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals including the first held in Las Vegas in 2000, tops the list of qualified riders from the East Coast League which also includes Olympians Beezie Madden (2013 Champion), Laura Kraut and McLain Ward who has 15 FEI World Cup™ Finals under his belt. They will be joined by fellow FEI World Cup™ Final veterans Kirsten Coe and Katie Dinan who replaced Leslie Burr-Howard (1986 FEI World Cup™ Champion), along with Jack Hardin Towell who will be making his first Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final appearance. Olympian Rich Fellers (2012 World Cup Champion) and Karl Cook have qualified from the West Coast League, as well as Vinton Karrasch who replaced Susan Artes. Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 Team bronze medalist Lucy Davis competed and earned points in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Western European League and will be competing in her third consecutive FEI World Cup™ Final.
Olympian Katie Laurie had an extremely successful season as the top-ranked New Zealand rider, and has confirmed that she will be coming to Las Vegas. Australian Olympic rider Edwina Tops-Alexander, who competed and earned qualifying points from the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League, will be making her eighth FEI World Cup™ Final appearance and third in Las Vegas.
The three riders competing from the Central European League include two-time FEI World Cup™ Finalist Kristaps Neretnieks of Latvia along with countryman Andis Varna. Russia's Vladimir Beletskiy, an FEI World Equestrian Games™ veteran, will be competing in his second FEI World Cup™ Final.
Two riders from the Arab league have confirmed their participation at the Final, with Qatar's Bassem Hassan Mohammed joining compatriot Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani, both of whom were competitors at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 and previous FEI World Cup™ Finals.
Canada's Chris Sorensen has qualified from the North America East and West Coast Leagues as have Mexico's Manuel Alvarez Ruizgalindo and Everardo Hegewisch Diaz Infante. while Brazil's Joao Eduardo Ferreira de Carvalho will be the only competitor from the South America South League.
The thrilling action will commence at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday, April 15 with the warm-up classes for both jumping and dressage. Actual competition begins on Thursday, April 16 with the Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Grand Prix at noon, followed by the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Final Round I at 7:00 PM.
Competition continues the next day, Friday, April 17, with the Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Freestyle Rehearsal at 7:30 AM, the Las Vegas Dressage Showcase at noon and the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Final Round II at 7:00 PM.
Saturday, April 18 features the Reem Acra FEI World CupTM Dressage Final (Freestyle) at noon, followed by the $75,000 Canadian Pacific Show Jumping Grand Prix of Las Vegas at 7:00 PM. The competition concludes on Sunday, April 19 with the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Final Round III at noon. All times are local time.
For either the Jumping or Dressage Final, spectators may purchase an all-session balcony level ticket (priority seating) at $200 per person, an all-session plaza level ticket (priority seating) at $350 per person, or the VIP package, which includes one premier all-session seat and access to the Taylor Harris Club Presented by the National Horse Show for $1,500 per person. Combo packages are also available with seats for both Jumping and Dressage with discounted prices as follows: balcony level at $350, plaza level at $650, or the VIP package at $2,950.
Individual session ticket prices are also available and vary depending on the location and session. Tickets for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final range from $30 - $85, while tickets for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final range from $35 - $115.
VIP guests of the FEI World Cup™ Finals will be treated to top amenities that can't be duplicated anywhere else in the world at the Taylor Harris Club presented by The National Horse Show. The Taylor Harris Club includes a private VIP hospitality area complete with deluxe food and beverages as well as VIP preferred parking.
Taylor Harris Club members will enjoy featured plates prepared by an impressive list of celebrity chefs from the Bellagio. With creations from Chef Edmund Wong, Executive Chef for Bellagio, Chef Royden Ellamar of Sensi, and Chef Patrick Lee of Noodles, meals will be as exciting as the competition itself. In addition, VIP guests will be able to sample an artful collection of fine wines, spirits, and champagne, as well as interact with the sommelier from Southern Wines and Spirits of Nevada, and enjoy the music and entertainment of Las Vegas.
Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world's best show jumping horses and riders. In the 36 Finals held through 2014, Germany (10) and the United States (9) have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship nineteen times between them. Previous FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals held in the United States include Baltimore (1980), Tampa (1989), Del Mar, CA (1992) and Las Vegas (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009).
First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final features the world's best dressage horses and riders. The United States has won the championship twice - in 2003 (Debbie McDonald with Brentina) and 2009 (Steffen Peters with Ravel). The Final has been held in the U.S. in Los Angeles (1995) and Las Vegas (2005, 2007, 2009).
Las Vegas Events is a private, not-for-profit organization that serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city. Founded in 1982, LVE is funded by hotel room tax. Through its Signature Event initiative, LVE has created a model to integrate all elements of special events and formally improve communication between event producers and Las Vegas' hotel properties and sponsors. Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 600 events.
For further information on the 2015 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, or to order tickets, please visit www.WorldCupLasVegas.com.
Following is the list of qualified riders for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2014/2015 in Las Vegas:
Defending Champion: Daniel Deusser (GER)
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Western European League:
Steve Guerdat (SUI)
Bertram Allen (IRL)
Kevin Staut (FRA)
Marco Kutscher (GER)
Marcus Ehning (GER)
Maikel van der Vleuten (NED)
Douglas Lindelöw (SWE)
Jur Vrieling (NED)
Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER)
Martin Fuchs (SUI)
Geir Gulliksen (NOR)
Pénélope Leprevost (FRA)
Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP)
Luca Maria Moneta (ITA)
Pius Schwizer (SUI)
Gerco Schröder (NED)
Jos Verlooy (BEL)
Patrice Delaveau (FRA)
Lucy Davis (USA)
Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS)
Central European League:
Kristaps Neretnieks (LAT)
Vladimir Beletskiy (RUS)
Andis Varna (LAT)
North America East Coast League (USA):
Todd Minikus (USA)
Laura Kraut (USA)
Elizabeth Madden (USA)
Jack Towell (USA)
Kirsten Coe (USA)
McLain Ward (USA)
Katherine A. Dinan (USA)
North America West Coast League (USA):
Richard Fellers (USA)
Karl Cook (USA)
Vinton Karrasch (USA)
North America East and West Coast Leagues (Canada):
Chris Sorensen (CAN)
North America East and West Coast Leagues (Mexico):
Manuel Alvarez Ruizgalindo (MEX)
Everardo Hegewisch Diaz Infante (MEX)
South America South League:
Joao Eduardo Ferreira de Carvalho (BRA)
Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT)
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT)
New Zealand League:
Katie Laurie (NZL)