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HITS Announces Indio Desert Circuit 2003

Saugerties, NY (January 17, 2003)--For the twelfth consecutive year, Horse Shows In The Sun presents the Indio Desert Circuit in Indio, California. This six-week hunter/jumper circuit will run from January 22 through March 9, 2003. Each week will feature approximately 250 classes including a Grand Prix every Friday and Sunday. Four of the Grand Prix competitions are qualifiers for the 2003 World Cup Finals. More than $1,000,000 in prize money will be awarded. The Grand Finale of the circuit is the $150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert, one of the richest show jumping events in America. With 3,000 stalls available, the HITS Desert Horse Park can comfortably accommodate more than 2,000 horses and 6,000 horsemen each week. Exhibitors from Canada, Mexico, Europe and all regions of the U.S. will travel to Indio for the 2003 Indio Desert Circuit.

The 80-acre HITS Desert Horse Park features competition in 10 all-weather rings Wednesday through Sunday from 8am until approximately 4pm. Spectators are admitted free Wednesday through Friday. Tickets are $5 on Saturday and Sunday with the proceeds benefiting local charities. Children under 12 are always admitted without charge, and parking is always free. There are three food service facilities located on the grounds that offer an international menu of meals, snacks, and beverages. The Desert Marketplace features more than a dozen shops offering equine-themed merchandise from tack to 14K gold jewelry. Bleacher seating is available at all of the rings and there are numerous park benches and special tents on the grounds that overlook the competition action. More than 25,000 spectators are expected to visit HITS Desert Horse Park during the circuit.

Corporate sponsorship of the Indio Desert Circuit has seen further growth this year. EMO Insurance Agency and Rio Vista are each sponsoring a $50,000 Grand Prix. Cosequin is the presenting sponsor of the $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix. Bayer and the United States Equestrian Team are sponsoring a $75,000 Grand Prix. Ariat is again sponsoring a $25,000 Grand Prix every Friday during the six-week circuit. State Line Tack is the official sponsor of the Adult Amateur Hunter Division for all of HITS horse shows during the 2003 season. Ford, the official vehicle for the 2003 Indio Desert Circuit, returns for the fourth consecutive year to sponsor their $150,000 Grand Prix of the Desert. Not only is the $150,000 Ford Grand Prix the largest single purse awarded at the Indio Desert Circuit, but it is also the last World Cup qualifying event for the West Coast. The competition will decide which three riders from the West Coast League will compete in the FEI World Cup Finals to be held April 16-20, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada. With so much at stake, the air runs electric in the Grand Prix Field for this event, and it always lives up to the excitement level everyone has come to expect. The $150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert will take place on Sunday, March 9th, at 2 pm.

Marshall & Sterling returns to sponsor the New Marshall & Sterling League classes. The HBO Junior Medal and the Charles Owen Childrens and Adult Medals are an integral part of the new League, and will be offered on each week of the Indio Desert Circuit. Stillwell-Hansen and Four Winds Farm are showing their support for the Leagues Pre-Green Hunter Division, while The Equestrian Shop supports the Pony Hunter Division. Exhibitors will compete in Marshall & Sterling League classes to earn points towards a qualification for the National Indoor Finals to be held September 17-21 at Worcesters Centrum Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts.

World-class course designers with Olympic and Pan American Games experience will be flown in each week to design the jump courses in the Grand Prix field. This year, the course builders are: Olaf Petersen of Germany who has been appointed as the course designer for the Athens Olympics in 2004, making him the first individual ever to be the course designer at two Olympic Games. Leopoldo Palacios, Caracas, Venezuela, who was the Course Designer at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Anthony D'Amrosio from Mt. Kisco, New York, winner of 32 Grand Prixs, two-time world record holder for the indoor puissance, and trainer of four horses that competed in the Olympic Games. Dave Ballard of Ontario, Canada, the 1999 Pan American Games course designer and the Assistant Course Designer at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Danny Foster, Ontario, Canada, a former show jumper who won an individual Gold Medal and Team Silver Medal at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba. And Conrad Homfeld, Southampton, New York, who was the course designer for the World Cup Finals held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000 and was a member of the Gold Medal Team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where he claimed the Individual Silver Medal.

Indio Desert Circuit showcases the weeks winning riders in special Parade of Champions presentations held every Sunday in the Grand Prix field prior to the Grand Prix show jumping event. Bayer Corporation and Legend, will present the Bayer Legend Leading Hunter Rider Award and the Bayer Legend Leading Jumper Rider Award during these presentations. The leading hunter and jumper riders will receive a Bayer Legend jacket, similar to the jacket supplied by Bayer to the United States Equestrian Team members who competed at the 2002 World Equestrian Games.

HITS has improved the Indio show grounds every year for the past decade and continues to enhance the amenities. This year, HITS has increased its stabling with two new permanent barns each with 70 stalls. Constructed by Barnmaster, these new barns are an attractive addition to the HITS Desert Horse Park. The 2003 season will also see the unveiling of the Lowes Platinum Cluba brand new premier VIP lounge and dining facility that has been created in the Pavilion located adjacent to the Grand Prix Field. Platinum Club membership amenities include: comfortable seating in the newly glass-enclosed Pavilion; full-service breakfast and lunch daily; special sit-down brunch Sundays; premium beverage service; concierge service, telephone, and cable TV; convenient reserved golf-cart parking; and unlimited access to all Hunter & Jumper VIP seating areas.

Indios annual day events invite spectators to the horse show for special festivitiesKids Day, Seniors Day, and Fiesta Day. Kids Day presented by Fox Kids Club and KDFX features pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, games, prizes, crafts, and entertainment for children and their parents. Seniors Day sponsored by LaQuinta Rotary and presented by KESQ TV3 features displays and activities geared to the health and well being of senior citizens. Golf carts will be provided so that they may tour the show grounds. Fiesta Day celebrates the Hispanic heritage of the Coachella Valley and the horsemen on the show grounds with food, entertainment, and educational and career opportunities.

Charities and charity events are also an integral part of the Indio Desert Circuit. This year at Indio, HITS is working with Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley, Boy Scouts of America, Indio Chamber of Commerce, Indio Sunrise Rotary, LaQuinta Rotary, and The Village of ChildHelp West. Local charities pre-sell tickets to the Grand Prix events and are the ticket-takers on Sundaysthey keep 100% of the proceeds from pre-sold tickets and receive a percentage of the gate. The Pegasus Riding Academy for the Handicapped of the Coachella Valley will hold a fund-raiser in the Oasis VIP tent, an annual event that drew more than 200 people to last years luncheon.

The Indio Desert Circuit not only benefits local charities, but also economically impacts the entire Coachella Valley. Based on an independent study commissioned by HITS from Sport Management Research Institute of Weston, Florida, the total economic impact produced by the Indio Desert Circuit to the surrounding community equates to $121,734,061 per year.


Circuit I - January 22-26
Circuit II - January 29-February 2
Circuit III - February 5-9
Rest Week-No Show - February 12-16
Circuit IV - February 19-23
Circuit V - February 26-March 2
Circuit VI - March 5-9

$25,000 Ariat Grand Prix - Every Friday at 1:00pm
$50,000 EMO Grand Prix - Sunday, January 26 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix Presented by Cosequin - Sunday, February 2 at 1:00pm
$75,000 Bayer/USET Grand Prix of Indio - Sunday, February 9 at 1:00pm
$50,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix - Sunday, February 23 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix Presented by Adequan - Sunday, March 2 at 1:00pm
$150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert - Sunday, March 9 at 2:00pm

Kids Day Presented by Fox Kids Club and KDFX - Sunday, February 9 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Seniors Day, Sponsored by LaQuinta Rotary Presented by KESQ TV3 - Sunday, March 2 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Fiesta Day - Sunday, March 9 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Circuit Awards - Sundays Prior to 1:00pm Grand Prix

Directions to HITS Desert Horse Park: Take I-10 to the Monroe Street exit in Indio. Go south approximately five miles to Avenue 52, and then turn right onto Avenue 52. Horse Show entrance is mile on right. Tel: 760-775-7731; Fax: 760-775-7752. Website:


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