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HITS Announces Indio Desert Circuit 2004

SAUGERTIES, NY (January 27, 2004)—For the thirteenth 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 28 through March 14, 2004. 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 2004 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 2004 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 is 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. Ford, the official vehicle for the 2004 Indio Desert Circuit, returns for the fifth 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 21-25 in Milan, Italy. 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 14th, at 2 pm.

Marshall & Sterling returns to sponsor the Marshall & Sterling League classes. The HBO Junior Medal and the Charles Owen Children's and Adult Medals are an integral part of the 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 League's 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 qualifying for the National Indoor Finals to be held September 22-26 at Worcester's Centrum Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts. Riders may also qualify for the West Coast Marshall & Sterling League Finals to be held November 17-21 at Los Angeles National Horse Show.

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, 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 Red Hook, 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. A nd former Grand Prix rider Javier Fernandez of Jalisco, Mexico.

Indio Desert Circuit showcases the week's 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.

Indio's annual day' events invite spectators to the horse show for special festivities—Kids Day, Seniors Day, and Fiesta Day. Kids Day, February 15, presented by KDFX Fox 11 features pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, games, prizes, crafts, and entertainment for children and their parents. Seniors Day, March 7, presented by KESQ TV3 and LaQuinta Rotary 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, March 14, presented by Nestel and Avis Rent A Car 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, Indio Senior Center, and Indio Police Cadets. Local charities pre-sell tickets to the Grand Prix events and are the ticket-takers on Sundays—they keep 100% of the proceeds from pre-sold tickets and receive a percentage of the gate. The College of the Desert Foundation and Foundation for the Retarded of the Desert will each hold a fund-raiser in the Oasis VIP tent. Guests of each Foundation will enjoy a luncheon while watching world-class show jumping in the Grand Prix ring.

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.


Desert Circuit I - January 28-February 1
Desert Circuit II - February 4-8
Desert Circuit III - February 11-15
Rest Week-No Show - February 16-22
Desert Circuit IV - February 25-29
Desert Circuit V - March 3-7
Desert Circuit VI - March 10-14

$25,000 Ariat Grand Prix - Every Friday at 1:00pm
$50,000 EMO Grand Prix - Sunday, February 1 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix Presented by Cosequin ® - Sunday, February 8 at 1:00pm
$75,000 Bayer/USET Grand Prix of Indio - Sunday, February 15 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix - Sunday, February 29 at 1:00pm
$50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix Presented by Adequan ® - Sunday, March 7 at 1:00pm
$150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert - Sunday, March 14 at 2:00pm

Kids Day Presented by KDFX Fox 11 - Sunday, February 15 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Seniors Day, Presented by KESQ TV3 and LaQuinta Rotary - Sunday, March 7 from 11:00am-1:00pm
Fiesta Day, Presented by Nextel and Avis Rent A Car - Sunday, March 14 from Noon to 2:00 pm
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 ½ mile on right. Tel: 760-775-7731; Fax: 760-775-7752. Website:


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