Las Vegas will host the World Cups of dressage and jumping in 2015, the fourth time the city will stage the dual events that are the only annual global championships for the two Olympic disciplines.
The International Equestrian Federation on Wednesday confirmed Las Vegas that bills itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World will be the host city for the Reem Accra FEI World Cup Dressage Final and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping April 15-19, 2015.
Confirmation of Las Vegas for the World Cups means that North America will host two major championships in 2015 as the Pan American Games held once every four years will be in Toronto that summer.
“We are delighted that the FEI World Cup Finals in both Jumping and Dressage will be returning to Las Vegas in 2015, giving our sport and our title sponsors Longines and Reem Acra further global exposure on this fabulous American stage,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos. “It will be good to be back in Las Vegas after a six-year gap and we are looking forward to really top class sport in this fabulous venue.”
Pat Christenson, President of Las Vegas Events that produces the events, said: “We are honored to be the host of the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals. Las Vegas last hosted the show jumping and dressage Finals in 2009, so we are extremely excited to once again showcase our destination to equestrian fans from the U.S. and around the world. We look forward to working with the FEI to create a memorable event and a venue for the top riders in the world.”
The FEI initially turned down the bid by Las Vegas for the 2015 World Cup at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Thomas & Mack Arena and awarded them to Guadalajara, Mexico. After Guadalajara was unable to get the facilities ready in time, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based FEI then went back to Las Vegas to host the event.
Las Vegas Events, the producer of a wide range of major special events, staged the first dual World Cups in 2005 then held the events again in 2007 and 2009. It also held the 2000 and 2003 Jumping World Cup Finals.
Steffen Peters of San Diego, California and Ravel claimed the 2009 title, only the second American combination to do so. The first was Debbie McDonald and Brentina who did it in 2003 in Europe.
“The previous World Cup Finals held in Las Vegas proved why the city is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World,” said Steffen, a three-time Olympian of the return of event.
“They showcase our sport like no one else and the riders absolutely love competing there.”
Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, New York, two-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning World Cup jumping champion, said: “The fact that the FEI World Cup Finals are returning to Las Vegas is great news for everyone. I have been fortunate to compete all over the world and nowhere is our sport presented with as much flair and excitement as in Las Vegas.”
In the combined dressage and jumping Finals in 2005, 2007 and 2009, the five-day events drew an average of nearly 90,000 spectators for each of the three years. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the events averaged a non-gaming economic impact of more than $20 million (€15 million) each. Individuals from 25 countries and all 50 of the United States purchased tickets with more than 90 per cent of the events’ attendees coming from outside Nevada.
The dressage World Cup was initially created to feature the Freestyle as the final of the European indoor circuit. The World Cup circuit comprises leagues in Western Europe, Central Europe, North America and the Pacific.
The Thomas & Mack Center is aptly, named for two Las Vegas bankers, one of them Parry Thomas who with his wife, Peggy, owned Brentina.
The World Cup Jumping Finals were first held in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1979. Seven years later, the first World Cup Dressage Finals were held in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in 1986.