A US venue is bidding to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
Tryon International Equestrian Centre (TIEC) in North Carolina revealed yesterday (2 August) that it is bidding to hold the Games after the event was pulled from Bromont, Canada.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has written to the FEI, expressing its “strong support” for the idea.
Mark Bellissimo, managing partner at Tryon Equestrian Partners, said the venue is “uniquely and immediately positioned” to host all eight of the WEG disciplines in one place.
“With the exception of Aachen, Germany, most venues are forced to spend many years and tens of millions of dollars investing and developing the venue infrastructure, developing the personnel, attracting sponsors, and managing logistics for the WEG,” he said.
“We have a fully functional equestrian venue, the management team and operational staff, and the sponsor pipeline in place.
“So the bulk of our energy will be on operational execution and showcasing the event and the sport to the world.”
The 2018 Games was removed from Bromont in a “mutual” agreement between the Bromont organising committee and the FEI due to a lack of funds.
Chrystine Tauber, USEF president, said Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners have the federation’s “full endorsement”.
William Moroney, USEF chief executive officer, added: “While it is unfortunate the games will not be able to take place at Bromont, the USEF believes it is critical that the WEG remain in North America as intended so that the globalisation of the sport can continue.”
North Carolina governor, Pat McCrory, and South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, also both support initiative.
“North Carolina’s infrastructure and natural beauty make our state a natural fit to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” said Mr McCrory.
“We will support efforts to host the Games in our state which will provide not only a positive experience to all those attending, but a significant boost to North Carolina’s rapidly growing economy.”
What has happened so far?
Bromont was awarded the games in 2014, but during the past year money trouble and mass resignations from the organising committee board raised doubts as to whether it would go ahead.
On 22 July, the FEI announced that it had come to a joint decision with the Bromont organising committee to pull the event due to “ongoing financial issues”.
Speculation followed that Kentucky — the sole remaining bidder in the process when WEG 2018 was awarded to Bromont — or Aachen would take on the event.
However Aachen has since stated it “has not planned” to host the event. Meanwhile Kentucky did consider stepping in, but has since decided to focus its efforts on winning the 2022 WEG bid.
An FEI spokesman told H&H yesterday (2 August) that the organisation is “looking at all options” and will be making an announcement “shortly”.
The bidding venue
Tryon Equestrian Partners has invested more than $125 million (£93.58 million) into TIEC during the past two years.
The 1,500 acre site is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features 1,200 permanent stables, 12 competition arenas and a floodlit international arena that seats up to 12,000 spectators.
It also has a cross-country course, which it claims will support both eventing and driving, and has access to hundreds of miles of equestrian trails that could be used for endurance.
There are three airports within approximately an hour of the venue.