USA’s Tryon International Equestrian Center Announces Pursuit of 2018 World Equestrian Games

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Tryon International Equestrian Center. © Ken Braddick/
Tryon International Equestrian Center. © Ken Braddick/

Aug. 2, 2016

Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners, announced Tuesday that Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina is working with the United States Equestrian Federation to keep the 2018 World Equestrian Games in North America.

The USEF and the governors of both North and South Carolina both support the initiative of the group. The management of Tryon also operates the Winter Equestrian and Global Dressage Festivals of winter-long jumper and dressage competitions in Wellington, Florida with three times more horses competing each week than the entire World Games of two weeks.

The interest by the group that owns the Tryon shows at Mill Spring, in North Carolina has been communicated to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that owns the combined world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as para-dressage held once every four years.

The FEI announced last month that Bromont, Canada that had been awarded the Games had withdrawn because of lack of funding, leaving just two years to prepare.

The USEF has sent a letter to the FEI pledging “strong support” for the bid, the Tryon group said in a news release.

William Moroney, USEF Chief Executive Officer, said: “While it is unfortunate the games will not be able to take place at Bromont, the USEF believes it is critical that the WEG remain in North America as intended so that the globalization of the sport can continue.”

USEF President Chrystine Tauber added, “Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners have a brand new venue, deep experience and sufficient resources to make this happen. They have the USEF’s full endorsement.”

Both N.C. and S.C. state and local governments have expressed support of the bid. The only WEG in North America was in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010. The games had an economic impact of $201.5 million over the event’s 14 days according to a financial study.

“North Carolina’s infrastructure and natural beauty make our state a natural fit to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” Gov. Pat McCrory said. “We will support efforts to host the Games in our state which will provide not only a positive experience to all those attending, but a significant boost to North Carolina’s rapidly growing economy.”

South Carolina’s Gov. Nikki Haley echoed support—“We have a long and rich history in equestrian competition, and welcome the opportunity to showcase our state’s world-renowned hospitality and tourism assets to the attendees and participants of this prestigious event.”

Tryon Equestrian Partners has invested more than $125 million (€111.3 million) over the past two years developing 1,500 acres (600Ha) in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to create what they believe to be the premier equestrian lifestyle destination and resort in the world.

The Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is the centerpiece of that effort.

The venue includes 1,200 permanent stalls, 12 competition arenas, a lighted international arena that seats 6,000 (expandable to 12,000) with multiple VIP areas, a large covered/indoor arena that seats 5,000, as well as a Mark Phillips-designed cross country course which will support both eventing and driving marathon.

TIEC is located between Charlotte, North Carolina with an international airport with direct flights to Europe as well as Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, both with airports and within 35 minutes from the show grounds.

Within about 45 minutes of the venue are more than 35,000 hotel/motel rooms, plus, a significant number of college dorm rooms available nearby for officials and the media at relatively low cost.

A photo slide show of the Tryon facility–