Major New Additions to Tryon World Equestrian Games Grounds
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
MILL SPRING, North Carolina, April 27, 2017–Plans are being completed for a 20,000-seat temporary main stadium for dressage and jumping and a new indoor arena for vaulting and reining for the 2018 World Equestrian Games at Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.
Officials from at least 15 countries will meet at the Tryon show grounds next week to review progress for the world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage Sept. 11-23, 2018.
The officials from Asia, South America and Europe as well as North America will be briefed on flying in about 840 horses from around the world, construction of competition venues, stabling, accommodations for riders, grooms, officials and media, the massive undertaking of feeding about 50,000 people a day expected to watch the world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage Sept. 11-23, 2018.
Most of the permanent facilities are already built and used almost weekly for international dressage, jumping or eventing.
Construction of a temporary main stadium to seat 20,000 spectators will be alongside the existing centerpiece George Morris arena and fulfill the design criteria of Tryon events are within walking distance–except for eventing cross country, driving marathon and endurance.
The temporary stadium that may include protection against sun and rain will be on a 13-acre field that was initially intended for jumper and hunter derbies and billed as the most advanced technologically in the world with specially developed durable grass. That will be covered over until after the WEG.
Not enough seating could be added to the George Morris stadium to accommodate the crowds for dressage, jumping and the dressage and jumping phases of eventing–the three Olympic disciplines that are also the most popular horse sports.
Seating will be also be added to the George Morris stadium to take spectator capacity to about 10,000 for para dressage.
The partnership of investors led by Mark Bellissimo who also heads up the group that owns and operates Global dressage, the Winter Equestrian Festival of jumpers and hunters and International Polo Club in Wellington has already spent $150/€138 million building Tryon in the past two years.
The only taxpayer money is to improve highway access to the venue and promote tourism and business investment in North and South Carolina where German automakers BMW and Daimler Benz have assembly plants.
The event also has no title sponsor such as the Kentucky-based Alltech for both Lexington and Normandy.
Tickets for the eighth edition of the World Games held once every four years and second time in the United States are expected to go on sale within the next two months to bring as many as a half-million visitors over 13 days.
Tickets will be offered for full day events, unlike the widely criticized policies applied at Lexington, Kentucky in 2010 and Normandy, France in 2014 of separate tickets required for separate sessions of the same event on the same day, such as dressage Nations Cup.
Housing for about 1,000 riders and grooms on the show grounds has moved forward with the installation of robots at a factory owned by the partnership to build pre-fabricate homes. High end cabins and motel-style blocks of rooms to accommodate about 200 people have already been built.