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2003 Winter Equestrian Festival Moves To Tampa

Tampa, Florida—February 11, 2003—With over $3 million in prize money, the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is the nation’s most significant horse show circuit. Produced by founder Eugene R. Mische and Stadium Jumping, Inc., of Tampa, the Winter Equestrian Festival is the horse show of all horse shows in the U. S.

After competing in Wellington for seven weeks, the nation’s best hunter, jumper and equitation horses are now moving to Tampa for the remaining three weeks of competition. Over 1,000 horses will be in Tampa during this time.

Beginning March 12, WEF action moves to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa for three major events including the Suncoast Internationale, March 12-16; the Tampa Bay Classic, March 19-23; and the Tournament of Champions, March 26-30.

The main events taking place in Tampa are the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune, and the final event determining which U.S. show jumpers will qualify to ride in the 2003 Show Jumping World Cup Final in Las Vegas.

Spectators can enjoy classes for all age groups and discipline interests. And with as many as four rings going at any one time, there will be something for every member of the family. There will be hunter, jumper and equitation classes for children and junior riders, mounted on ponies and horses. Adult amateurs of all ages will be represented in hunter, jumper and equitation classes. The professional and advanced amateur riders will dominate the competition in pre-green, green and regular hunter divisions as well as at many levels of the jumper classes.

When it’s time to take a break from the varied competitions, spectators can browse amongst the many eclectic boutiques or grab a bite from one of the multi-ethnic food tents. And there’s always a place to sit, as ringside seating is plentiful.

A Who’s Who of U. S. Olympic and Equestrian Team riders -- riders such as Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, Nona Garson, Joe Fargis, Todd Minikus, McLain Ward, Molly Ashe and Candace King -- can be expected to be seen on their best mounts in WEF’s many jumper classes, including the Sunday grand prix championships.

Only the best of the top competitors during the WEF will be invited to take part in the 31st annual $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune, on Saturday evening, March 29, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. A total of 30 competitors will be invited, with each rider competing aboard only one horse. Invitations will be issued to the 2002 Budweiser American Invitational winner,

the top four riders in the 2002/2003 American Grandprix Association (AGA) Rider of the Year standings, and the 25 top money-earners in the $230,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series.

The final show of the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, the $200,000 AGA Championship, presented by Budweiser, will be held April 2-6 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club back in Wellington, FL.

For further information, contact Mason Phelps, Jr. or Beverly Lake Wilkes at (561) 753-3389.

Tickets at Tampa are Wednesday through Friday $5. Children under 12 are free. Saturday and Sunday Adults are $10 (seniors and students $5).

Dates for Tampa Winter Equestrian Festival

(Each week of competition runs Wed. - Sun. beginning at 8:00 AM)

Suncoast Internationale March 13-16
Tampa Bay Classic March 19-23 CSI***/W
Tournament of Champions March 25-29 CSI**/W
Budwieser American Invitational March 29 (Raymond James Stadium)


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