FEI World Cup Finals to Return to Las Vegas in 2009
RELEASE: April 24, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Brian Sosby
Las Vegas Events (LVE) will once again host the FEI World Cup Finals in both show jumping and dressage at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, April 15-19, 2009.
This will mark the fifth time that Las Vegas hosts the FEI World Cup Finals and only the third time ever, following two previous times in Las Vegas in 2005 and 2007, that the world’s premiere annual championships in the two Olympic equestrian disciplines are held concurrently.
In April 2007, more than 85,000 spectators attended the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Dressage Finals. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the event had a non-gaming economic impact of $23.4 million. Individuals representing 25 countries and all 50 of the United States purchased tickets for the Finals, bringing a true international feel to the weekend’s competition.
The success of that event, combined with the success of the Finals held in Las Vegas in 2000, 2003 and 2005, precipitated the return of the Finals to Las Vegas in 2009.
“Each time we’ve hosted the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, they proved to be an incredible success for the destination,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. “The combination of show jumping and dressage proved to be captivating for American fans, as well as for those from around the globe. We eagerly anticipate the return of the Finals to Las Vegas in 2009, and our goal will be to surpass our previous success.”
Las Vegas’ groundbreaking presentation of show jumping and dressage together engendered unprecedented interest in the Finals by spectators and also proved a huge hit with the riders.
“I don’t think our sport has ever been so well received as it was at the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas,” said 2003 FEI World Cup Dressage champion Debbie McDonald of Hailey, ID. “I believe that the Finals in Las Vegas provided an incredible boost for our sport.”
“The FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas have changed the perception of equestrian sport in the United States,” said John Long, Chief Executive Officer of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). “LVE has showcased the entertainment potential of our sport by producing incredible events that combine all the excitement and glamour Las Vegas has to offer as the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ with competition from the top riders in the world. The events were spectacular and drew standing room only crowds. The USEF is thrilled to have the dual FEI World Cups back in Las Vegas in 2009.”
“Las Vegas has consistently put on incredible World Cup Finals, and it is a real plus for our sport to have the Finals back there,” said 2004 Olympic Team Gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, who has competed in three of the four Finals held in Las Vegas. “They do a fantastic job showing the best our sport has to offer. The riders all love it and I find it very exciting that the Finals are going back there.”
Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders. Approximately 45 riders qualify from 13 leagues around the world. In the 29 finals held through 2007, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times. The 2008 FEI World Cup Jumping Final is being held in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The 2009 event will mark the eighth FEI World Cup Jumping Final to be held in the United States, following Finals in Baltimore in 1980, Tampa, FL, in 1989; Del Mar, CA, in 1992; and the four in Las Vegas in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. three times, in 1995 in Los Angeles and 2005 and 2007 in Las Vegas. The Netherlands has dominated the competition, winning nine titles, followed by Germany with seven. The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald rode Brentina to the championship.