John Quirk, Renaissance Man & Key to Dressage & Jumping World Cups in La Vegas Dies at 92

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John Quirk, who was instrumental in bringing the Jumping and Dressage World Cup Finals to Las Vegas and made it a premier global sports event, has died at the age of 92.

John suffered a heart attack and died at home April 12 with his wife, Tish, at his side.

John was a United States Navy fighter pilot, business entrepreneur, novelist and equestrian extraordinaire as a breeder, magazine publisher, horse owner and creator of what could promote high performance horse sports. He was also a part-owner of the San Diego Chargers NFL team.

“He was the one who conceived the idea of bringing the FEI World Cup Finals to Las Vegas and he is also the one whose efforts made it happen,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, Inc. that organized the events. “He played a vital role in each and every World Cup Final we’ve held in Las Vegas and he is someone whom we will never be able to replace. Our hearts go out to Tish at this moment of great loss for her and for all of us.”

The World Cup of jumoing was held in Las Vegas in 2000 and 2003 and then joined with the World Cup dressage in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

John Quirk’s vision proved to be right as the events were sellouts in a city saturated with the greatest entertainment performances, and the dressage World Cups turned out to be the best seller.

The combination made the annual global championships one of the world’s premier sports championships and a model that European organizers have been quick to copy.

“The success of the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas is a true tribute to the vision and hard work of John Quirk,” Pat Christenson said. “Everyone involved in show jumping and dressage owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Tish, who was with him for 47 years, said:“John died in my arms at home on April 12. He was bigger than life and mine is empty without him. We were together for 47 years and every day was a grand adventure and every day was filled with total love.

“He came into the horse world as his gift to me and he made it better for everyone. He embraced it and helped it grow and brought joy to everyone he knew.

“He was a brilliant man who succeeded in everything he did. I was so lucky to get to spend most of my life with him. I will spend the rest of my life remembering and thanking him.”

John Quirk will receive a United States Navy sea burial.