10.30.18

State of the Games 2018 – Short Version – No 2022 Games

Posted in 2018 Games, 2022 Games, 2026, Tryon at 9:28 pm by Thomas

It’s been 8 years since Kentucky hosted the Games and the question I keep getting is will we get the Games again.  I am of course optimistic that we will though the clock is running because the longer we wait, we loose the benefits of previously hosting them.  When I say them most people figure I am talking the capital investments in that people feel for these kind of events you have to have brand new facilities. I disagree a bit with that assessment but the bigger loss is in personal capital, the people involved in planning the event and all those involved in the actual event, including an army of volunteers that was trained.  Certainly the loss of Dr. Lyons early this year was a blow in many ways but there are certainly other Kentuckians who can pick up that torch and carry it so I certainly don’t see his loss as something that should prevent us from ever hosting the Games again, and I am sure he would be disappointed in a number of us if that was ever to be the case.  I said this was going to be the short version, so let me get to where I see the Games since the Games at Tryon have completed.

I will say right off the bat that the Games at Tryon did not go as I had hoped.  It has always been important to me that the Games be successful no matter where they were held.  This has never been a competition between Lexington and any other host city, this has always been a hope that the next Games would build on the prior.  That Lexington learned from Aachen and then Normandy learned from Lexington and Tryon learned from Normandy and so on and so on.  In my mind that is a key component to how I judge the success of any particular set of Games.  In general I believe Aachen, Lexington and Normandy were a success in that the overall sentiment was positive and you had that sense of building something.  Now before everyone assumes I am going to say Tryon was not a success and that I am going to pile on to the negative press that did arise from these Games, I am not.  It serves no purpose in what I want to accomplish which is the continuation of the Games and the desire to bring the Games back to Kentucky.  With that said, let me layout where we are and where we need to go from here.

The first thing everyone needs to remember is that Tryon was not the original host and certainly to get into that would not make this the short version of what I wanted to provide.  The reason I bring that up is because if Tryon hadn’t stepped in there may of not been a Games at all but in doing so Tryon was taking on hosting a highly complex event in what was really too short of a time frame.  The leadership at Tryon had to be optimistic about what they were promising because to be realistic would of cost them the support to have probably pulled off what they did, which at some level was a bit of a miracle.  Now with that said, I will say there were some areas where I think the leadership may have believed their own optimistic PR and didn’t really plan with reality in mind.  In those cases I will say they over promised and under delivered and I will not excuse them of that.   I am actually going to stop there because my real interest is in where this leaves us going forward.

First I think the FEI needs to have a real hard look at itself and determine if they as an organization have the passion to provide the leadership that is needed for the WEG to continue.  Now I am sure a few of you that know me are saying, WTF, that I would suggest that the WEG is not viable because of the FEI, actually, I can’t and I am not saying that, only the FEI can make that determination and it has to on the basis of what is best for the individual sports and those involved.  The situation with Endurance is a clear example and there is no way to spin that, that doesn’t leave the sport of Endurance in a tough spot because of some real harm that was done to the sport and I think that will take some time and effort to repair.

As of now no host for the 2022 Games has been selected and this presents a significant challenge for a pair of reasons.  The obvious of course is the same problem Tryon found themselves in, lack of time.  When Kentucky won the Games early in December of 2005 that gave us a little less then 5 years to get everything done, but what a lot of people never realize is how much planning had already been done at the one of a kind facility that the Kentucky Horse Park already was.  The second reason is that who ever would host the 2022 Games has lost the chance to really get a behind the scenes look at the running of the actual event while its going on and you are actually able to take your initial plan and do some simulations against a real event in real time.

So where does that leave us, my recommendation would be that we take a break and not have the Games in 2022 with the intent to make the 2026 Games a true showcase of what Equestrian Sport is, a sport like no other, because no other sport involves the relationship of two life forces like that of a human and a horse.

I appreciate all of you who took the time to read my short version.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

05.31.17

Rolex has left the building!

Posted in 2026, My Thoughts, Rolex, Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event, World Equestrian Games at 9:33 pm by Thomas

The news came out today and I can’t say I didn’t know it was the likely outcome but the reality that Rolex is no longer the title sponsor of, “The Kentucky Three Day Event”, which just doesn’t have the ring of “The Rolex” is bitter sweat.  My first Rolex was 1994 and I always dreamed of getting to compete there but life had other plans, I would still like be an outrider there one of these years.

The upside to this news is it does clear the way for the Kentucky Horse Park to win back the FEI World Equestrian Games because the agreements Longines had with the FEI would not allow the Horse Park to host the Games while Rolex had the agreements it did with the Horse Park.  The reason for this was a clause in the Longines/FEI agreement that required “clean/clear” venues, meaning no Rolex signage or mention anywhere is the simple non-legal explanation.

My sincere hope is that letting Rolex go was with the specific intent of winning the 2026 Games, for me I guess its more then hope, its an expectation that I am going to do all I can to see fulfilled.

 

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

09.25.11

World Equestrian Games Anniversary – Wonderful Memories

Posted in 2010 Games, 2026, Alltech, My Thoughts, Opening Ceremonies, Reining, World Equestrian Games at 7:45 pm by Thomas

It was one year ago today that the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010, or as you know I always refer to them as, The Kentucky World Equestrian Games started.  I went back and read the posts I made from those initial days and remembered the excitement and nervousness of that first day.

The weather today was fairly similar to what it was last year, cool in the morning but warmed up nicely later in the day.  It is all still amazingly fresh in my memory now when I think back, which I hope remains the case for the rest if my life because it was certainly one of those Great Experiences in my life.

The big news of that first day was that the turnout for the Opening Ceremonies was better then had been expected, though the expectations had been tempered by the economy.  The other big news of that day was Italy taking the lead in the Reining World Championships in the first part of that competition.

It is bitter sweet in some ways to think back to the 4 1/2 years preparing for the Games, and then they were here and gone and now another year has passed.  Though some or maybe even many people will think I am off my rocker to say definitively that the Games will again return to Kentucky, maybe not in 2018 or even 2022, but by 2026 I think we have a good shot of getting them back and you know I will be there again.

In closing on thinking back on this first day, I must as I have in the past give great thanks to many people starting with Dr. Pierce Lyons of Alltech, without whom I don’t think these Games would have taken place, and then all the staff and certainly the Volunteers without whom I do not think the Games could have been the success they were.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO®