RHINEBECK, NY (March 27, 2000) - Horse Shows In the Sun, Inc. (HITS), producer of six world class hunter/jumper horse show circuits nationwide, has announced that the HITS Culpeper summer series of six horse shows at Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia, will feature a $50,000 Grand Prix every Sunday for the first five shows. The sixth big purse of the season--the $100,000 Cosequin® Grand Prix--is the grand finale of the Cosequin® U.S. Grand Prix League Invitational Finals, the last show of the series. More than $850,000 in total prize money will be awarded at the six events starting April 18 and finishing September 30, 2001.
HITS Culpeper offers hunter, jumper, and equitation competitions in six all-weather rings. Competitors vie for ribbons, trophies, coolers, and prize money in more than 270 classes at each show. Each event hosts approximately 900 to 1,300 horses accompanied by an estimated 3,000 riders, trainers, and grooms. More than 6,000 spectators are expected to visit Commonwealth Park during this year's series of horse shows.
The season opener is HITS I, the Commonwealth National, April 18-22, featuring the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix. Ten weeks later, Commonwealth Park re-opens for HITS II, the Showday National, July 4-8, highlighted by the $50,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix, and HITS III, the Cavalier Classic, July 11-15, capped by the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. The Park takes a month-long break, then resumes competition with HITS IV, the Winston National, August 15-19, and HITS V, the Constitution Classic, August 22-26. Both shows feature a $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. The finale for the HITS Culpeper 2001 shows is HITS VI, the Cosequin® USGPL Invitational Finals September 26-30, featuring the $25,000 Wild Card Grand Prix on Friday and the $100,000 Cosequin® USGPL Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday. During the Cosequin® USGPL Finals, Commonwealth Park will also host the $5,000 Marshall & Sterling Pony Jumper Final on Saturday, and the Marshall & Sterling League Semi-Finals which take place throughout the weekend.
Course designers for the Grand Prix field at this year's HITS Culpeper are: 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 who is currently chairman of the Canadian Equestrian Federation's Jump Canada; Douglas E. Russell, Wellington, Florida, a former member of the USET who represented the U.S. in 1995 at the Pan Am Games and Monterrey, and is still an active competitor as well as a 10-year veteran of course design; Dave Ballard, Ontario, Canada, a former international competitor, a Senior FEI Course Designer since 1989, Assistant Course Designer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and Head Builder at Spruce Meadows International Ring for 14 years, who was recently the Technical Delegate at this year's World Cup of show jumping in Goteborg, Sweden; and Buddy Brown, Wellington, Florida, a former Grand Prix show jumping competitor, he competed at the Pan Am Games in Mexico City in 1975 and won the Individual Silver Medal and the Team Gold, in 1976 he competed at the Montreal Olympics, he was on the Bronze Medal Team in Aachen, Germany in 1978, and at the 1979 Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico, he was on the Gold Medal Team. He is currently a full-time Senior Course Designer with the AHSA.
The 92-acre Commonwealth Park features competition Wednesday through Sunday from 8am until approximately 4pm at all six events, plus an evening class on Fridays. Seating is available at bleachers around the rings, in the Grand Prix grandstand, and indoors at the Pavilion. There are two food service facilities located on the grounds--the Showday Café and the snack bar--offering an international menu of meals, snacks, and beverages. The Pavilion, with views of the Grand Prix Field and the Main Hunter Ring, offers special buffets for exhibitor parties during evening performances. The Vendor Courtyard includes more than 20 shops offering equine-themed merchandise from tack to 14K gold jewelry. Spectators are admitted free Wednesday through Saturday. Children under 12 are always admitted at no charge, and parking is always free. Tickets are $5 on Sunday with the proceeds benefiting local charities.
Selected charitable organizations in the Culpeper community are able to use the HITS Culpeper horse shows as fundraisers. They pre-sell tickets to the Grand Prix events and are the ticket-takers on Sundays. The charities keep 100% of the proceeds from pre-sold tickets and receive a percentage of the gate. HITS Culpeper not only benefits local charities, but also has an economic impact on the surrounding communities of over $15 million.
HITS has improved the Commonwealth Park every year since purchasing the show grounds in 1997 and continues to enhance the amenities. Last year every door of the 900 permanent stalls on the grounds was replaced with a brand new door and two of the hunter rings were enlarged and reconfigured to add additional riding area. This year, refurbishing plans include new wash racks, new jump equipment, and a new scoreboard for the Grand Prix field--the mobile, Olympics-style Daktronics board that is used at HITS' West Coast mega-show, the Indio Desert Circuit.
HITS Commonwealth Park is located at 13256 Commonwealth Parkway in Culpeper, Virginia, 3.5 miles off Route 522 South. During HITS Culpeper horse shows, telephone 540-825-7469 for more information.
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