HITS Culpeper Celebrates its Biggest Horse Show Ever
RELEASE: July 17, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Chris Mayone
HITS Culpeper just keeps on growing. In fact, the Showday National was the biggest horse show ever held at HITS Culpeper and it came as no shock to trainer Pam Baker.
“I'm not surprised at all by the numbers here," said Baker. "I have always loved Culpeper. It’s a great facility with excellent footing and there are so many divisions here enabling me to bring all of my customers. They really like the spacious facility and the permanent stalls."
The Showday National was so big that Commonwealth Park reached its stabling capacity early in the week, prompting HITS to erect a tent containing additional portable stalls to accommodate the supplementary exhibitors.
"We love it at Culpeper," said Texas native Tracy Fenney, who won last Sunday's featured class. "It's a good time of year and everyone we talk to down here seems like they are having a great time."
Even with the additional tent, this week's Cavalier Classic was sold out until HITS made an arrangement for a second tent to house all of the exhibitors who want to show this week. "We're ready for them," said Technical Coordinator Jerry Dougherty. "The second tent is almost filled to capacity and there is a lot of activity down here."
The growth of Culpeper can be attributed to improvements to the facility. Some of those enhancements include a new jumper ring with new footing, new footing in Hunter 2, new jumps, and vast improvements to the back end of the property. “The footing in Hunter 2 is the best footing that I have ever ridden on, with the exception of the footing in the Grand Prix ring at HITS Ocala,” said Mike McCormick of MTM Farm.
Additional lodging in Culpeper also has played a part in the growth of HITS Culpeper. Microtel Inn & Suites recently opened in the heart of Culpeper giving exhibitors an additional hotel just minutes from the show grounds.
“Our strategy for Culpeper has always been to gauge the availability for lodging and, as many people who've shown here in the past know, it's been a real challenge,” said Tom Struzzieri HITS President and CEO. “With the additional properties added to Culpeper in 2008, we felt it would be the best year to expand the shows by adding rings and new classes.”
"The July horse shows are a perfect example of a business strategy fulfilling expectations," continued Struzzieri. "We anticipate this trend to continue for the August shows and, clearly, we are expecting a sellout for the USGPL Finals in September."
“One of my customers is staying at the new hotel," said Fenney. “Like many exhibitors who come to Culpeper, they are glad to have another option. I think there are at least four hotels within about a ten minute drive of the horse show grounds."
Show jumping at HITS Culpeper returns on Wednesday, July 16 for the Cavalier Classic, and like most HITS shows, will offer nearly 250 different classes during the week for all levels of riders from beginner to high-performance. Highlighting the week are Friday's $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix and the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday.
Sunday's featured class will be another qualifier for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix that will be held this year on September 28. The top 30 riders in the Marshall & Sterling League National Standings (based on money won by the qualified horse/rider combination) are invited to participate in the Invitational. In addition, one Wild Card slot is allotted. Riders may elect to ride any horse of their choice, but may only ride one horse in the Invitational.
After a short break, equestrian competition returns to HITS Culpeper with the Winston National (August 20-24) and Constitution Classic (August 27-31). Both shows feature two full weeks of classes, including the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix and the Adequan Hunter each Friday, the Central Equine Junior Medal each Saturday and a $40,000 Grand Prix each Sunday. Highlight