Parry Thomas, Major Creator of Las Vegas & Deeply Involved in Dressage, Dies at Age of 95

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Jane Thomas with her Peggy and Parry Thomas. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Jane Thomas with her Peggy and Parry Thomas. © 2009 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

HAILY, Idaho, Aug. 27, 2016–Parry Thomas, a banker who helped finance development of the casino industry of Las Vegas, and deeply involved in dressage as the owner of Brentina ridden by Debbie McDonald to Olympic, world and continental championship medals as well as the World Cup, has died at the age of 95.

Parry died Friday at his Hailey, Idaho River Grove Farm and had been following the U.S. Developing Horse Championships where Adrienne Lyle, who rode the Thomas family’s Wizard in the 2012 Olympics and 2014 World Games, was competing.

Parry, along with his business partner, Jerome D. Mack, is credited with building Las Vegas including some of the city’s biggest hotel-casinos.

One of their major contributions was to donate the land for construction of the Thomas & Mack Arena that hosted the first dual World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping in 2005 and again in 2007, 2009 and 2015.

Debbie McDonald and her hunter-jumper trainer husband, Bob, had a close relationship with the family. The Thomases bought Brentina, a Hanoverian born in 1991, as a mount for Peggy Thomas, Parry’s wife, but after being thrown the family decided to keep he horse but turn it over for Debbie to compete.

The partnership won team and individual gold at the 1999 Pan American Games, team silver at the 2002 World Games, team bronze at the 2004 Olympics, team bronze at the 2006 World Games, competed on the U.S. team at the 2008 Olympics. The pair won the World Cup in 2003, the first American combination to do so.

A tearful Debbie McDonald retiring Brentina at the 2009 World Cup Final at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A tearful Debbie McDonald retiring Brentina at the 2009 World Cup Final at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Despite is extensive interests, Parry, a courtly gentleman, was deeply involved in the family’s equestrian activities and was present for many of the achievements of Debbie and Brentina.