Muhammad Ali For WEG Opening Ceremony

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Sept. 16–Muhammad Ali, a Kentucky native, will join the cast of nearly 1,500 people and almost 200 horses in the opening ceremony for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games a week from Saturday.

Ali lit the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta Games and participated in the opening ceremony for the 2009 European Championships in Windsor, England of which Alltech was a sponsor.

The opening ceremony will play tribute to the Games’ American debut with scenes of the prairie, Broadway, the Wild West and the Deep South.

The show will journey through the history of horses and man as well as iconic moments in U.S. history and culture, beginning with America’s Native American heritage and a prayer for all nations by Lakota chiefs, and concluding with a Mardi Gras extravaganza that will see all cast members join together in a jubilant parade.

The 2 1/2-hour show will include 40 different acts, including Kentuckian Wynonna Judd; opera stars Denyce Graves, Cynthia Lawrence and Ronan Tynan; Sara Lee Guthrie; Cherryholmes, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

“While the majority of our cast is ‘homegrown’ to showcase the talent bred in our Bluegrass region, this show will represent the global nature of the eight equestrian world championships,” said Dr. Everett McCorvey, executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies. “We have an international collaboration of talent coming together and communicating through their artistry.”

Following in the tradition of World Equestrian Games’ opening ceremonies, a special musical score has been composed for 2010 WEG by Jamie Burton of London, England. His “World Equestrian Games Fanfare” will debut at the opening ceremony with a 100-piece orchestra from the University of Kentucky.

Opening ceremony tickets are still available at orl 1-888-934-2010.