10.03.13

It’s Official, we are in the hunt for WEG 2018.

Posted in 2018 Games, News Worthy at 9:46 am by Thomas

So it’s official, FEI announced this morning that Kentucky had formally expressed interest in hosting the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.  November 15th is the deadline for the return of the Bid Applicant Questionnaires, and then the FEI will make the announcement on December 2nd as to the host city candidates.  Those candidates will then make their formal presentations at the FEI Bureau Spring meeting and the decision will be announced at the end of that meeting.  I have not seen the date for that meeting yet but would of course suspect it will be prior to the Kentucky Rolex so expecting us to have much to celebrate then.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

09.25.13

3 Years Later, ready to do it all over again!

Posted in 2018 Games, My Thoughts, The Lane Report at 11:21 pm by Thomas

Its been exactly 3 years since the start of the 2010 World Equestrian Games and I am blown away by how quickly that time seems to have gone by.  This December will mark 8 years since the announcement that we had won the right to host the Games.  A lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people occurred between that announcement and this date 3 years ago.  I played a small part during that time as well as volunteering for 12 of the 16 days of the Games and was/am proud of my participation and humbled by the experience all at the same time.  Of course I am ready to do it all over again and as much as I have talked about the possibility of us getting it back, most time I felt a bit alone in that endeavor.  I do know that it took a lot out of a lot of people but I have always believed after some time the true positives of us hosting the Games would be what people remembered and that a spark would ignite the fire again to seek them once more.

This week I believe that happened, Mark Green of The Lane Report wrote a piece on the idea of Kentucky getting the Games back for 2018, which of course is sooner then even I dreamed anybody would suggest.  First let me say, part of my excitement, and my wife can attest that I was actually excited after reading Mark’s article, was just knowing I wasn’t totally alone in believing that I would live to see the Games back in Kentucky again, and I believe that to the point of knowing it in my heart and soul.  What takes the excitement even to a higher level is that this was an article published by The Lane Report which by all standards I have seen over the years is a well read and well considered publication both in and out of the Commonwealth.  Now I have to assume they, meaning the editors who had to approve Mark’s article, had to feel it had some merit and interest to their readership because its a publication that likes and needs to be taken seriously to stay in business because there is a significant segment of the business community in this area that looks to The Lane Report for some level of guidance in how and where business in this area is going.  Obviously more then a few business leaders read this article and stopped to ponder the implications of what if we did get the Games back in 2018.  I highly suspect those editors at The Lane Report are well aware of the implications of such pondering because successful business leaders will tell you that a key to being successfully is having a plan that runs 5 to 1o years out in the future and being prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

I know we may not get the 2018 Games, but my plans go out much farther then that so I won’t be disappointed if they are not here in 2018 because I will know I am still that much closer to seeing them back, One Day!

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

07.07.11

Lets Plant some trees Kentucky!

Posted in Announcement, Kentucky Horse Park, News Worthy at 10:09 pm by Thomas

Last year’s tough winter, two major ice storms and several years of drought have decimated Kentucky’s trees.

The Kentucky Horse Park has been asked to help our Kentucky State Parks acquire funding to plant FREE TREES through the “Odwalla Plant a Tree” program.

Just click on the link below to vote for Kentucky, then forward this to your friends.  It will only take a few seconds and won’t cost a penny.  Your votes can help us reforest our state parks, which will be a benefit to everyone!  You can plant a tree for each of your email addresses.  If you have already planted, you can plant one additional tree using the code ODWSPR.

Thank you!

 

Plant trees in Kentucky!

 

02.25.09

World Games 2010 Foundation 2nd Community Forum

Posted in 2010 Games, BusinessLexington, Jamie Link, LFUCG, Trade Fair, World Games 2010 Foundation at 10:31 pm by Thomas

I attended the second World Games 2010 Foundation Community Forum at the Lexington Public Library today.  Tom Martin, editor of Business Lexington was the moderator for the hour long event.  The forum panel was made up of new Foundation CEO Jamie Link, Vice President of Sales Terry Johnson, and Housing Bureau Director Krista Greathouse.

The primary topic of the day was the economy though by the end of the hour a wide range of subjects had been discussed.  Tom noted that the Foundation and the Local Government were still working out the intricacies between the two bodies.  The Host City Agreement is before the Lexington Urban Council but has yet to come up for a final vote.

Currently spectator interest in the Games continues to be high with Krista  stating that they are averaging a new group a week contacting them for accommodations, with 75% of those groups being International as well as 2000 new room requests per month.  Krista also noted that the area should have plenty of accommodations for all those planning on attending and that currently they had three times as many private residences for rent then the current demand though she expected that to change as the date for the Games got closer.

On the other side of the equation, Terry stated they were 70% of their budgeted goal for sponsorships  and that two or three new major sponsors would be announced in the next 90 days.  He also reported that they have deposits for 60% of the currently designated Trade Fair booth space and that if they filled that up that they would find additional space for anyone else looking for booth space during the Games.

On another interesting note, the City is planning on having a duplicate medal ceremonies downtown at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza during the Games.

CEO Jamie Link closed the forum by addressing the issue of the economy and how the investment in the Games was an investment in the future of Kentucky during these tough times.

Thomas Demond

Found KyWEGO

06.28.08

John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair : Outcome = A+

Posted in Equine Rescue/Adoption, Kentucky Horse Park, News Worthy, Volunteerism at 11:15 pm by Thomas

The Kentucky Horse Park hosted the 1st Annual John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair today.  This was a wonderful event that I got to be a part of as a Kentucky Horse Park volunteer.  Originally it was going to be held in the Breeds Barn where I normally volunteer but because of weather concerns it was moved to the indoor arena.  The event got a wonderful response with probably nearly all the volunteers at the Horse Park showing up as well a good number of the public for the first ever event.  There was also a great turnout from the rescue/adoption agencies themselves and they all provided a lot of information to all of us on the great work they are doing and their needs.  I look forward to being a part of the 2nd Annual John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair next year.

To close I have to quote something John Nicholson said, “We believe the responsibility for the welfare of horses falls squarely on the shoulders of every Kentuckian, because every Kentuckian benefits from the horse industry,” and “It is clearly within our power to fix this. It should be within our hearts as well.”  Those are bold statements but I applaud Mr. Nicholson for those bold words and for his bold actions.

Thomas Demond
Founder KYWEGO

11.30.07

Lexington Makeover

Posted in 2010 Games, Lexington, Mayor Jim Newberry, News Worthy at 9:15 pm by Thomas

In a news conference today Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry discussed plans to improve streets and sidewalks in preparation for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Mayor Newberry said this was something that needed to be done and the World Equestrian Games provided the motivation to see that it was done. 

Plans are to be completed by next summer and the next step is to find the ways to pay for these improvements both from State and Federal Funds as well as public-private partnerships.

04.03.07

Jim Host Resigns, Tandy Patrick takes over.

Posted in 2010 Games, Announcement, Business First, News Worthy, World Games 2010 Foundation at 7:12 pm by Thomas

The announcement was made today that Jim Host was resigning as chairman of the 2010 World Games Foundation, Inc and that Tandy Patrick was named as his interim replacement. Ms. Patrick’s involvement in landing the games for Kentucky was significant and she would seem to be a fine choice in my opinion to go forward as board chairman for the Foundation, though there are many considerations that go into deciding that position. Business First of Louisville had a lengthy article on her and her involvement in the bid process for the Games back in January, 2006.

03.30.07

Governor Fletcher; Moving the ball down the feild…

Posted in 2010 Games, Government, Governor Fletcher, Kentucky, KyHP Funding, News Worthy at 7:56 pm by Thomas

With the failure of the State House to act on the spending deal that would have provided the additional funding for the Horse Park the Governor acted this week to at least keep the ball moving down the field to guarantee the success of the games. He authorized Commerce Secretary George Ward to re-appropriate $900,000 in funds that had been set aside for a statewide campground improvement project.

These funds will allow at least the design work to continue for the proposed new stadium needed for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010. It is hoped that the design phase can be wrapped up by March of 2008 when bids will be sought for the construction of the stadium.

The Governor still may call a special session to re-address both the state pension short fall and the funding funding for the Horse Park that he requested in his State of the Commonwealth Address.

03.27.07

Time running out…..

Posted in Government, Kentucky, KyHP Funding, Legislation, News Worthy at 12:05 pm by Thomas

Well it seems our efforts have been in vain so far, the Kentucky Legislature looks unlikely to pass the requested funding for the Horse Park on this final day of this year’s session. There had been talk that the session might go till Friday to get everything worked out but that quickly faded yesterday. We haven’t given up for a five o’clock miracle and we will continue to find a way to get this funding covered so stay tuned.

03.13.07

Horse Park Funding Success: ALMOST

Posted in 2010 Games, Government, KyHP Funding, Legislation, News Worthy at 7:05 am by Thomas

Well yesterday it looked like the efforts of a lot of people were going to pay off and the additional funding for the Kentucky Horse Park was going to be approved with the Senate voting 37-0 to approve it. However the House and Senate deadlocked last night over some details and ran out of time to get a House vote. Now we will have to wait until March 26 when they return for the final 2 days of the session to see if they can get it passed though the last 2 days are generally reserved for things the Governor vetoes but there looks to be enough interest for this to make it back to the floor for a vote.

03.10.07

Governor may call Special Session, may include Horse Park funding.

Posted in 2010 Games, Government, Legislation, News Worthy at 8:10 pm by Thomas

It looks likely now that the Governor will call a Special Session of the Legislature to address the shortfall in the some of the State’s Retirement Plans.  Mentioned as a secondary item would be the additional requested funding for the Kentucky Horse Park needed for the Kentucky World Equestrian Games in 2010.

In my mind it was doubtful that the Governor would of had much luck calling a Special Session for the Horse Park funding alone and probably less luck getting the funding passed if he had called a Special Session for that sole purpose.  With the Senate driving the call for a Special Session to handle the Retirement issue it maybe possible that some back room deals will done that will allow a vote on the Horse Park funding.  Of course some people will call that bad politics, I am afraid though, that is just politics.

If a Special Session is called we will be asking everyone to call their Legislators to support the Horse Park funding request as this is too important to let politics get in the way.

02.24.07

Frankfort Holds the reins

Posted in 2010 Games, BusinessLexington, Funding, Government, Kentucky, Kentucky House, Kentucky Senate, KyHP Funding, News Worthy at 2:31 pm by Thomas

Erik A. Carlson and Susan Baniak of Business Lexington have written an outstanding article on the current situation in regards to the needed funds for the Horse Park. This article goes into great depths on a number of aspects and is appropriately titled, “Frankfort Holds the reins“. By permission of Tom Martin we are re-posting here in its entirety. The original article can be found here on the Business Lexington site.

02.21.07

2011 National Championship of Breeds

Posted in News Worthy, Position Statements at 5:45 pm by Thomas

We had heard rumors but now it has been confirmed in a Lexington Herald Leader article that World Games 2010 Foundation has also started on plans for a National Championship of Breeds to begin in 2011. Now again we can not take credit for this development, and our idea is for the Kentucky World Equestrian Games to occur every 4 years beginning in 2015 but we certainly support there efforts. Jim Host, the Foundation’s Chairmen, expects this event to bring in hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The only thing that struck us as odd was that we have only heard the rumors about this very recently and not sure who in the Foundation initially put forth this idea though it may have been Mr. Host himself. Still the problem remains, more effort needs to be put forth in explaining to the citizens of Kentucky as to why this is important to all of them, not just the perceived notion that it only benefits wealthy horse people. Ultimately, if the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 are not successful it will be hard to get the support to put together such a large event the very next year.

Our reasoning for going all the way until 2015 before having the Kentucky World Equestrian Games was the expectation that it would some time to pull the resources together again to host such a large event. Then we did not want to run up against the Summer Olympics in 2012 or the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014. By going with 2015 we hope it would be a qualifying event for Equestrians wanting to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics which we hope will be in Chicago. After that the 4 year cycle will keep our Kentucky World Equestrian Games occurring in the year before the Summer Olympics going forward and would allow us the time to grow the Kentucky World Equestrian Games each time proving the regions ability to host a Summer Olympics of our own.

02.16.07

Fund The Horse Park Stadium Now

Posted in 2010 Games, BusinessLexington, Funding, Government, Governor Fletcher, Kentucky, Kentucky House, Kentucky Senate, KyHP Funding, Legislation, News Worthy at 11:21 pm by Thomas

Tom Martin, Editor in Chief of Business Lexington wrote a compelling article on the need to provide the additional funding now for the Horse Park as proposed by Governor Fletcher in his State of the Commonwealth Address. This article also speaks to the importance of this opportunity to all Kentuckians across the state.

We thank Mr. Martin for allowing us to repost his article and for his efforts in promoting this cause that we also feel so strongly for.

Fund The Horse Park Stadium Now
By Tom Martin, Editor in chief
Business Lexington

Governor Fletcher’s recent call on the General Assembly to fund a $24 million outdoor arena at the Kentucky Horse Park is far more urgent than even recent press reports, including our own, have implied.

The Fayette County legislative delegation must “get this” and must close ranks immediately in a unified demand that House Speaker Jody Richards and Senate President David Williams cease their resistance to revising the current budget to provide these funds.

There is no time to quarrel over who is at fault for allowing this situation to become so serious and at such an 11th hour. We will sort that out later.

Right now, all of us here in Kentucky need to understand that in 3 short years we are going to represent the entire United States on live television broadcast worldwide by NBC and in other media from scores of nations. We need to appreciate the generous $10 million sponsorship of Alltech and to respect the industry that, more than any other, positively defines Kentucky culture.

Here is the situation.

When in 2006 the Fletcher administration requested initial funds for Horse Park improvements, the intent at the time was to demonstrate to the organizing body, the Federation Equestre Internationale, that Kentucky has the wherewithal to become the first-ever site outside of Europe to host the prestigious World Equestrian Games. It wasn’t until Kentucky officials actually traveled to the ’06 Games in Aachen, Germany that they realized the necessity of a permanent outdoor arena.

Time is of the essence. Best estimates project a 9-month planning and design process followed by a 12-month construction phase. And that doesn’t account for the inevitable delays. Even in a best case scenario, with funding provided in the ’07 session, construction could not begin until after the 2008 Rolex Three Day Event.

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are scheduled for late summer of 2010. The Horse Park, however, is required to host a series of test events in preparation for the games. Those test events must get underway no later than the spring of 2009.

According to Malina Gueorguiev, Communications Manager, Fédération Equestre Internationale in Lausanne, Switzerland, “We do organize an event for the specialists to go in and see if, for example, a new ground has been put in place; to run on that new ground to see how good it is because for the horses, it’s key.” Gueorguiev added, “Any event in the world does not match the standards of the World Equestrian Games. It’s a really, really exceptional event.”

Indeed. It is an exceptional event for all of Kentucky, not just the Bluegrass. The anticipated economic impact spreads far and wide, enriching industries ranging from human hospitality to equine support.

Whether you live in Paducah, Ashland, Louisville, Somerset or Dry Ridge, you live in a state that, when perceived positively by the rest of the world, is viewed as “The Horse State.”

Think we have a corner on this? Think again. Maryland, among other states, is breathing down our necks.

The state has completed a feasibility study for a parcel of land in Anne Arundel County and is currently in the process of putting in a bid for long-term control of the property. If their bid is accepted, they estimate it will take roughly three years and an investment of $114 million in capital costs to get the Maryland Horse Park up and running, said Rob Burk, executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, part of Maryland’s Department of Agriculture.

When asked about the long-term economic value of that investment, Burk said they looked to Kentucky, as well as other state horse parks.

“For us it really came to light through the feasibility study when we were looking at the economic impact of not only the Kentucky Park but other parks around the country,” Burk said. “From a state’s perspective, we look at the amount of taxes that are actually generated through the park. For us, we came up with a number of about $11 million that would be generated each year for a similar facility to Kentucky’s. And that’s really how we justify the capital costs of a facility like this.”

That doesn’t count the estimated annual economic impact of more than $100 million for Maryland businesses, and that’s without an event like the World Equestrian Games.

Burk compares a horse park to both a centralized farmers market for the equine industry and a convention center.

“The way we look at it is it really is a place for the public to interact, to put money into our industry” said Burk, who added that a sales facility has also been folded into the Maryland Horse Park design. “Since we can’t have a farmer’s market stand for a horse necessarily, the states have created these (parks) as large markets where they can advertise, in your case what Kentucky has to offer, in our case what Maryland has to offer.”

“From an industry standpoint, and I think most heads of the industry will agree, the future of our sport really does lie in these facilities,” Burk added. “They are one of the most promising things for our sport.”

Kentucky must remain preeminent in the horse industry. The ultimate purpose of the proposed outdoor arena extends well beyond its use in the 2010 Games. A new outdoor stadium, along with the new indoor arena, makes possible the National Equestrian Festival, an annual weeklong mega-event expected to attract 75,000 spectators producing a regional economic impact of $75 million. In addition, events such as this will enable the Horse Park to reach its goal of becoming self-sufficient –as in free of dependence on taxpayer dollars– by 2012.

We understand the reluctance of legislative leaders to re-open the budget in what is supposed to be a brief, non-budgetary session. Indeed, when voters added the odd-year short session it wasn’t meant to decide the entire biennial budget, but certainly the intent wasn’t to have the 138 members of the legislature trot to Frankfort only to pass bills that didn’t cost the state a dime. The intent was to keep the governor from calling special session after special session to alleviate issues that came up in the 20 months between the end of one session and the start of another.

Few will recall that the 2007 Kentucky General Assembly appropriated $24 million for a stadium. But who would forget that the politicians in Frankfort cost our state…and nation…such an important economic driver as the World Equestrian Games?

Is the level of urgency actually that high? Consider this: France, Holland and Ireland all lost the Games to other countries or failed to execute the event well, all related to failure to live up to promises made during the bidding process.

When asked if the WEG coming for the first time to the United States had generated any excitement in Maryland, Burk said there was still quite a bit of indifference among the general public. He feels certain that will change once people understand the scope of it better.

“I’m sure once the Equestrian Games get here, and we are able to show and demonstrate the statistics as far as the economic impact of this type of event, it will garner interest, especially from the legislators,” Burk said. “But until that time I think there is kind of a detachment here in Maryland.”

We know the feeling. Hopefully, we can generate that kind of interest among our own legislators before the world is arriving on our doorstep.

Let this not be lost on any of us. It is time to act. Call your legislator and let him or her know that you are in favor of spending dimes to generate dollars.

02.09.07

2007 State of the Commonwealth Address – WEG

Posted in Government, Governor Fletcher, Kentucky, News Worthy at 5:41 am by Thomas

Governor Fletcher’s State of the Commonwealth Address was some 29 pages long. In the portion dealing with the World Equestrian Games the Governor made some key points but still seems to be not driving home just what these Games will mean for the Commonwealth. He made the point of saying again that after they went to Aachen they realized they had more work to do. Now one thing to keep in mind, the Germans do a suburb job of planning and hosting such events and may be near the best in the world at it. So with Kentucky being next in line, the bar has been set high, but the Germans have clearly shown us the mark we have to beat.

Of course the real point of his remarks was to ask for an additional $38 million to be allocated this year because the concern is that if they wait until the 2008 Legislative Session there will not be enough time to complete everything. That is a legitimate concern, but I think the Governor would of been better served talking about the importance of the Games to the Commonwealth of Kentucky because that is the bigger problem. Which of course explains why a number of Law Makers came out and said there was no way his request would even be heard this year, as they said, this isn’t a budgetary session. More importantly its an election year and the Governor is not likely to get that money because he asked for it in a public forum.

The full speech can be had here.

02.02.07

William Shatner joins comission.

Posted in 2010 Games, News Worthy at 10:44 pm by Thomas

William Shatner made the first meeting of the Governor’s advisory commission to discuss the planning of the Games in 2010. Shatner is expected to be a regular on the committee from here on out. Shatner is a long time equestrian and American Saddlebred breeder and showman. Of course most people know him from Boston Legal as Denny Crane or more notably as James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise of Star Trek fame.

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