Show Jumping Action Returns to Thermal
RELEASE: January 17, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Chris Mayone
The HITS Desert Circuit kicked off its 2008 campaign on Wednesday, January 9, with the all new DC Premiere at HITS' state-of-the-art equestrian facility, in Thermal, CA.
Exhibitors who passed through the main gate were greeted with almost $500,000 in new landscaping, including spectacular green artificial grass surrounding the berms of the grand prix ring.
Amateur rider Katie Cook, who has been a fixture on the HITS Desert Circuit since 1996, was impressed from the second she stepped onto the show grounds. "It looks like there are 1,000 palms trees here," she said. "The trees provide plenty of shade, and that is great because its always sunny here."
"The place looks fantastic," said ringside trainer Jim Dahlquist. "There are trees and flowers everywhere. We are from Oregon, so we love being in Thermal. At home, we have a foot of snow on the ground, and here it's 75 degrees and sunny. It doesn't get much better than that."
The Oasis VIP Club also has a new look, including added landscaping, a majestic fountain, a state-of-the-art sound system and two plush seating areas for added comfort, just to name a few. Moreover, the most significant change is the addition of renowned chef Ric Orlando. Orlando is the chef and owner of New World Home Cooking Co. in Saugerties, NY. According to Orlando, he is dedicated to making the Oasis Club a unique dining experience for all of its members.
"It's an honor to be in this beautiful desert and to serve my food to the HITS customers," said Orlando. "I relish this opportunity to bring my unique style of cooking to a new audience."
Bart Poels, footing specialist for the 2008 Olympics Games, is at HITS Thermal this week to oversee footing in all rings, with a special focus on the grand prix footing.
"It's a great ring," said course designer Jack Robson. "It's a great big space, and the footing looks great to me. HITS has some of the finest footing experts in the world working hard to make it perfect."
"The facility looks great," said HITS' Vice President of West Coast Operations Fred Bauer. "I am confident that the exhibitors that show in Thermal over the next three months will be thoroughly impressed with all of the enhancements." Richard Spooner and Gerry the Grey capture the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix
Richard Spooner returned to a familiar place following Sunday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix. Spooner, the HITS Desert Circuit's all-time leading money winner made a return trip to the winners circle aboard his mount Gerry the Grey to close out the brand new DC Premiere Horse Show at HITS Thermal and collect $7,500 in prize money for C&S Partnership.
The veteran had the fastest double-clear round as he bested four pairs in the jump-off on Robson's route. "This is the best footing in California," said an impressed Spooner after the class. "This year HITS hit a home run."
Spooner and his 10-year-old mount were sitting in the envious last-to-ride position and stopped the clocks in 44.64 seconds to capture the top prize. His lightning-fast round pushed Lane Clark and his mount David into second place. Clark had completed the jump-off round in 45.42.
Clark secured $5,500 in prize money for his second place effort. "It was a great week for me here," said Clark. "I am going to show in Arizona for a few weeks, but I can't wait to get back for week six and the championship week."
Joining Clark and Spooner in the jump-off round was Canadian Olympian John Pearce, who brought two mounts back to shoot it out for the blue ribbon. But in the end, Pearce had four faults aboard both Chianto and Navarre, and finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Pearce, who closed out the 2007 HITS Desert Circuit with wins in the $150,000 HITS Grand Prix of the Desert and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, was impressed with his first week at HITS Thermal.
"Originally, I wasn't planning