“Certainly Interest” by Las Vegas to Host 2015 World Cup Finals for Dressage & Jumping

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Anky van Grunsven on Salinero and Meredith Michaels Beerbaum on Shutterfly winners of the 2005 World Cup Finals of Dressage & Jumping in Las Vegas, the first dual World Cup championship. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Las Vegas expressed “certainly interest” to host the 2015 World Cup Finals of Dressage and Jumping but the organizers said Saturday approval is required from the board of trustees to stage the fourth dual championships there.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced Friday it had tapped Las Vegas to replace Guadalajara, Mexico as the venue for the only annual global championships of the two Olympic disciplines. Guadalajara, which hosted the 2011 Pan American Games, was unable to meet the time schedule.

Las Vegas Events organized the 2000 and 2003 World Cups of jumping and the 2005, 2007 and 2009 World Cups of both dressage and jumping at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The 2005 event was the first time the World Cup Finals of both dressage and jumping were staged together, a practice that has now become standard. The Thomas & Mack Center was created as a multiurpose venue with gifts of land from Jerome Mack and Parry Thomas who aptly was the owner of the mare Brentina ridden by Debbie McDonald, the first U.S., combination to win the dressage World Cup.

“There is certainly interest to host the joint Finals in Las Vegas in 2015,” Michael Mack, vice president of Marketing and Communications of Las Vegas Events told dressage-news.com. “However, this will require final approval by the LVE Board of Trustees, which meets next in mid-February.

“If there is a commitment to host the Finals, it would be held at the Thomas & Mack Center.”

Las Vegas had applied for the 2015 Finals but lost out to Guadalajara. The Mexican city was to have been only the second time the World Cup of either disipline had been held outside Europe or the United States, the first being Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2006.

Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson heads the senior management group, most of whom were actively engaged in staging the three previous dual World Cups there.

The Las Vegas Finals have been popular with riders with sold out performances, world class entertainment at casinos on the glittering Las Vegas Strip and some celebrity moments in keeping with the city’s reputation–the winningest World Cup champion Anky van Grunsven married Sjef Janssen there in 2005.

If Las Vegas agrees to step in for 2015, it will be the 29th anniversary of the dressage World Cup that was initially created as the final of the European indoor circuit. The dressage circuit comprises leagues in Western Europe, Central Europe, North America and the Pacific.

Being stripped of the World Cup Final has dealt a blow to Guadalajara’s hopes of hosting the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in summer. Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Medellín and Rotterdam are the other contenders for the event that includes jumping but not dressage.

Mexico’s third largest city was left with a debt of about US$30 million (€24 million) from staging the 2011 Pan American Games, the world’s largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Equestrian competition at the Pan Ams was given high marks for the quality of the facility, level of competition, organization and friendly and welcoming atmosphere.