10.02.13

2018 WEG is knocking, lets answer the opportunity.

Posted in 2018 Games, Alltech, Dr. Pearse Lyons, FEI, Governor Beshear, John Nicholson at 11:31 pm by Thomas

The second article in a little over the week has come out touting the possibility of the 2018 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games being back in Kentucky.  This article was written by Nancy Jaffer for EquiSearch who had discussions with both John Nicholson and Dr. Pearse Lyons and all indications from those discussions were that the idea of us hosting the 2018 Games was under active consideration, though Mr. Nicholson did temper that by saying “that should not imply a decision has been made”.

Now, based on my research and discussions with others there is certainly an opportunity for us to host the 2018 Games if we so desire.  I will go as far as to say that currently the decision has been made and indicated to FEI that we are interested in hosting them.   I should and will clarify, that is NOT information that I have gotten directly from the horse’s mouth, excuse the pun, by which I mean anyone in close contact with the 3 needed principals, Dr. Lyons, John Nicholson or the Governor  Steve Beshear.  Dr. Lyons pretty much hinted though that, that is where the decision lies at the moment, that is to say the Governor is doing the political calculation on whether there would be support for it within our Legislative body to pursue a fast track formal bid.  Now the Governor is not facing re-election but I am sure he doesn’t want to start the process of us formally submitting a bid only to then have the Legislature not provide support for it when the come back into Session after the first of the year, being as this upcoming Session will be a Budget Session for Fiscal Years 2015-2016.

My best guess/gut is a formal announcement will be made this month, possibly as early as the 10th or as late as the end of the Alltech National Horse Show which would take us into early November.  If a formal announcement one way or the other isn’t made by then I would have to say that highly suggests we are not going to pursue a bid to host.  Stay tuned as you know I will be staying on top of this story.

Here is the link to Nancy Jaffer’s article.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

09.01.13

Bringing WEG back to Kentucky.

Posted in 2026, Governor Beshear, Kentucky Horse Park, My Thoughts, Position Statements at 8:44 pm by Thomas

By now I would assume anyone who has read my blog from over the last almost 8 years, can guess I have a high degree of interest in seeing the World Equestrian Games back in Kentucky again.  Now after what I heard last Saturday at the Kentucky State Fair I think I need to re-emphasize that.

It was the Saturday Night of the World’s Championship Horse Show, which is the big night and its not unusual for a sitting Governor to be there to present an award, this year was a little different.  The Governor seemed to be doing a stump speech, though not really sure why, but he was going on about how Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World and how much money this particular week long show brought in.  Now let me stop before anyone thinks my intention is to bash the Governor, absolutely not, I like Steve Beshear and the First Lady Jane Beshear who is quite an accomplished horse person in her own right.   I will go as far as to say I voted for Governor Beshear, not saying I agree with all his policy positions but certainly think he provides a balance and direction to the Commonwealth that has helped it to weather the economic storm of the last 7 years.  I just wish that as the Governor he would openly say that he would like to see the World Equestrian Games back in Kentucky again and at least set the ball in motion considering he realizes how important it for Kentucky that we are the Horse Capital of the World.

So the point I want to drive home is, we are the Horse Capital of the World and we should make it known that we desire to hold the World Equestrian Games every so many cycles, in my opinion, no more then every 16 years  with an average of 12, meaning sometimes 8 years and sometimes 16 years.  To me it seems a no brainer, there were significant capital improvements made to the Kentucky Horse Park and the infrastructure surrounding it.  Those type of capital improvements have a life span just like anything does, I would argue they have a half-life of 16 years meaning if we hosted the Games again by 2026 most of that infrastructure should still be usable having been maintained as part of the standard ops of the Horse Park.  Now, I would certainly love to have comments from Architects and Engineers as well as City Planners on where I am right and wrong in that generalization but I am more right that wrong for the sake of my argument, and that argument isn’t whether I am crazy or not, that was settled a long time ago in regards to this.  In some ways its no longer an argument on whether the Games are coming back to Kentucky, I will find a way to get them back here because I do believe with all my soul that it is very important to Kentucky and maybe even our responsibility as the Horse Capital of the World to be part of the global rotation that holds the Games, and that is another topic for another post, the idea that there should be set of established host locations, but again, topic for another post.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO

08.15.12

Governor recognizes KHP as world-class; 115 of this year’s Olympic riders competed there

Posted in Government, Governor Beshear, Kentucky, Kentucky Horse Park at 7:08 am by EPR

As the 2012 Olympic Games in London close, Gov. Steve Beshear today recognized the Kentucky Horse Park as an elite international equestrian facility for consistently hosting world-class and Olympic-caliber athletes.

The Horse Park is also a significant economic contributor to the Commonwealth, with an estimated economic impact of approximately $180 million each year.

Rolex Kentucky (photo by www.PixBySteve.com.)

“The Kentucky Horse Park is the only place in our state—and one of the few places in the world—where visitors can see world-class equestrian competitions on a regular basis,” said Beshear. “We are not only the Horse Capital of the World, but Kentucky is also one of the premier homes for high-level equestrian sports. I encourage Kentuckians and visitors to attend one of the many top-rated shows held at the Kentucky Horse Park and witness elite competition firsthand.”

More than 115 athletes who participated in equestrian events in the 2012 Olympics have competed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Seventeen of those athletes earned a medal in the London Olympics.

 

Athletes frequently travel from Australia, France, Great Britain and many other countries to the Lexington facility to contend for top honors in equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping and eventing.

The Horse Park also hosted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which marked the first time the elite competition was held outside of Europe. That event placed Kentucky in the international spotlight and generated more than $200 million in economic impact, and also built on the park’s international reputation as a signature event site. The new facilities added to the Horse Park for WEG continue to attract competitors and tourists to Kentucky from across the country and around the world.

“We appreciate the continued support from the governor and first lady. We are exceedingly proud of our facility and the competitions that bring in visitors and athletes from around the globe,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “The Kentucky Horse Park is clearly one of the leading equestrian competition facilities not just in North America, but anywhere in the world. We expect the tremendous growth of the sport horse industry in Kentucky will accelerate in the years ahead.”

The Kentucky Horse Park is a 1,200 acre competition facility and tourist attraction recognized as the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business. Most notably, the park annually hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The event is ranked at four stars, which is the highest level in international competition.

The Horse Park hosts a number of other award-winning shows as well. The Alltech National Horse Show won the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Show of the year. They were also named the top U.S. show by the North American Riders Group. North American Junior and Young Rider Championships and the two weeks of Kentucky Spring Hunter Jumper were named among the top 25 events in North America.

This year, the facility will host 21 grand prix jumper classes as well as seven national or international hunter derbies, with more than $1 million offered in prize money.

The Park will host three upper-level dressage events in 2013, including the U.S. Dressage Finals.

For more information on the Kentucky Horse Park and its world-class events, please visit kyhorsepark.com.

From Ky. Horse Park

Gov. Beshear Pledges Support for Recreational Trails Program

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Government, Governor Beshear, Kentucky at 6:28 am by EPR

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Letter to Sec. LaHood Affirms Kentucky’s Commitment to Program

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2012) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced his support for the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) by signing a letter to U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood reaffirming Kentucky’s commitment to utilize RTP funds.

“I am extremely pleased that the Recreational Trails Program has been reauthorized for funding,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Kentucky is dedicated to effectively and efficiently using this program’s resources in an effort to enhance tourism, increase economic development and promote healthy, active lifestyles in our rural and urban communities.”

The RTP provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

Last month, Congress and President Obama reauthorized RTP funding with the passage and signing of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012.  As part of the legislation, $85 million in annual funding is dedicated to states for the RTP.  However, the legislation also contains a provision that allows state governors to opt out of the program funding.

With this letter of support, Gov. Beshear officially states that Kentucky recognizes the importance of the RTP and opposes any efforts to opt out of the program.

“Recreational trails not only provide an alternative form of transportation, they also spur economic development, increase property values and aid in land conservation,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Trail funding has been a valuable resource to enhancing the quality of Kentucky communities and I encourage other states to take advantage of this funding tool.”

The RTP is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.  Kentucky’s RTP grants are administered by DLG and require that applicants match the amount of funds requested. The grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.

In 2011, Kentucky awarded $1.8 million in RTP grants to 38 applicants in communities across the Commonwealth to help fund hiking, cycling, horseback riding and other trails.

For more info on Kentucky recreational trails and other adventure tourism efforts in the state, please visit http://www.kentuckytourism.com/outdoor_adventure/great_outdoors.aspx.

Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor’s personal notes on his blog at http://governor.ky.gov/blog, and view his video commentaries at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear.

Contact

Commonwealth of Kentucky 

Office of the Governor
Kerri Richardson at:
502.564.2611 or 502.330.6633
Terry Sebastian at:
502.564.2611 or 502.229.6130

Kentucky Horse Council

1500 Bull Lea Rd, Suite 214C
Lexington, KY 40511
www.kentuckyhorse.org
info@kentuckyhorse.org
Phone: (859) 367-0509
Fax: (866) 618-3837

06.27.11

Gov. Beshear announces Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games had economic impact of more than $201 million

Posted in 2010 Games, Announcement, Business Impacts, Government, Governor Beshear, World Equestrian Games at 10:35 pm by Thomas

Report: Visitors to event came from 63 countries, all 50 states

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 27, 2011) – The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in 2010 at the Kentucky Horse Park had an economic impact of $201.5 million, Governor Steve Beshear announced today.

“The World Equestrian Games were indeed a success and this report illustrates the positive result that our local and state governments, our sponsors, the many volunteers, the business community and the citizens of the Commonwealth working together can have.” Gov. Beshear said. “It also underscores the important role of the Kentucky Horse Park and the legacy the games will have for future years.”

Gov. Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear, Alltech founder Dr. Pearse Lyons, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow and Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson participated in the announcement today at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“The World Equestrian Games was a unique opportunity to reaffirm our standing as Horse Capital of the World, as well as promote tourism and business in Kentucky,” said Mrs. Beshear. “To witness the event first-hand, from its inception to the closing ceremony of the final day, I am thrilled with its success and want to thank everyone who took part in creating and executing such a tremendous, historic event for our state.”

The Alltech World Equestrian Games were held Sept. 25 through Oct. 10, 2010, the first time the international event had been held outside of Europe. The games are composed of eight events – dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, para dressage, reining and vaulting.

According to the report commissioned by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Alltech World Equestrian Games Foundation reported that it sold or provided complimentary tickets to 419,853 visitors. They came from 63 countries and all 50 states.

The economic impact took into account “direct” spending that accounted for $128.2 million. This includes guest spending at the Horse Park, lodging, restaurants, shopping centers and retail outlets.

It also considered “indirect” spending – $73.3 million – such as money spent for food and lodging suppliers, construction and other services that were needed to support the influx of guests.

The report found that $55.4 million was spent on tickets, food, souvenirs and other items at the event while $39.6 million was spent on lodging. The games also generated nearly $18.4 million in state taxes and nearly $4.6 million in local taxes, the report said.

“While these financial impact numbers are quite impressive and stronger than even anticipated, the impact extends far beyond the monetary evaluation,” said Dr. Lyons. “For years to come, our community will reap the benefits of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, from a new sense of community pride to statewide improvements and infrastructures that continue to drive tourism today.”

The study was conducted for the cabinet by Certec Inc. of Versailles. Information for the study was supplied by the World Games 2010 Foundation Inc., the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. An online version of the report is available at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/industry/research.aspx.

“The investment Gov. Beshear and the legislature made here at the Horse Park has already made this facility the best in the nation for equine-related events and organizations,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said. “The visibility the Games brought to our city and the investments the state made in Lexington to help our city host the Games – road improvements, a much improved gateway into our city and a new runway at the airport – have elevated Lexington’s brand as the Horse Capital of the World. The legacy and the economic impact of the Games have been remarkable.”

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games had a direct impact on passenger travel at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport. In October 2010, passenger enplanements increased by 39 percent from the previous year, according to the airport’s 2010 annual report.

The airport and its partners hosted more than 700 private and corporate airplanes, provided security for international dignitaries, welcomed more than 460 international athletes and facilitated 18 special event charter flights, said Eric Frankl, executive director at Blue Grass Airport

“It was a privilege for the airport to serve as the gateway to central Kentucky for World Equestrian Games visitors,” he said. “The airport experienced one of its busiest months in airport history as a result of the collaborative effort put forth by our airlines, airport partners and staff to successfully handle an event of this magnitude.”

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Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor’s personal notes on his blog at http://blog.governor.ky.gov/ , and view the Governor’s weekly YouTube commentary at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear.

03.29.08

2008 Senate Bill 196 (Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority)

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Governor Beshear, Kentucky, Legislation at 10:53 pm by Thomas

Kentucky Senate Bill 196 (Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority) passed both houses of the Kentucky Legislature and is headed to Governor Beshear’s desk where he has said he would sign it.  This bill was referred to as the “Adventure Tourism Bill” was sponsored by Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard).   In simple terms this bill is going to allow the State to enter into agreements with public land owners to provide trails and access points to connect public lands while protecting private land owners from undo liability risk.  First Lady Jane Beshear’s idea is to connect all 12o Kentucky counties with horse trails so that you could ride from one end of the state to the other.  We of course think this is a great idea and are in total support.  

The press release from the Governor’s office on this bill.  

On a side-note, I had the honor of meeting Emily Dennis at my CTA class and getting to ride out at her family’s Big Red Stables today.  Emily testified in both the House and Senate on behalf of this bill and had significant input in the crafting of the liability portion of this bill.  So I give thanks to Emily for her involvement in this bill and for the wonderful ride I had at her place today which I know I will feel in the morning, but that’s a good thing.

Thomas

12.11.07

Governor Steve Beshear’s Inaugural Parade: “Kentucky First”

Posted in Governor Beshear at 11:51 pm by Thomas

I had the great honor today in being part of the Inaugural Parade for Governor Steve Beshear. Even a greater honor was that I got to carry the banner for the Parade’s Grand Marshall, Calvin Borel. Even before I knew what I was going to get to do in the parade I knew it was important, so when Gina Beard put out the request for Kentucky Horse Park volunteers to participate I jumped at the chance. For me this was important both as a Kentucky Horse Park volunteer as well as being a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels to show my support for Governor Beshear because of the emphasis he had given to the horse in this parade.

I wasn’t able to do an exact count myself but the news media was reporting that there would be around 150 horses in the parade and I would say there was every bit of that number. The Horse Park alone had some 30 horses in the parade, from every aspect of the Park. The weather turned out to be wonderful and it was a great time with all the horses there. Gina got a good turn out of volunteers so we had plenty of people so the day went smoothly and everyone had a great time.

So all and all it was just another fun day being a volunteer at the Kentucky Horse Park.