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HITS-on-the-Hudson To Benefit Family Of Woodstock

Grand Opening Kick-Off Set For May 30

SAUGERTIES, NY – May 5, 2004 – HITS-on-the-Hudson, the newest horse show grounds for the Saugerties, New York-based Horse Shows In The Sun, is set to open for the premiere week, May 26-30, 2004, launching seven weeks of hunter/jumper competition. A Grand Opening Celebration is planned for Sunday, May 30. Not only is the innovative venue a boon to riders, trainers, owners, and horses, but also to the upstate New York community – most notably, Family of Woodstock, a local charitable organization. Family of Woodstock owns approximately 125 acres of the 200-acre show grounds, which it has leased to HITS and in addition, the charity will receive 100% of the admissions gate on Saturdays and Sundays when tickets for adults are $5 each. It’s a win-win situation, according to Michael Berg, Executive Director of Family of Woodstock.

Tom Struzzieri, owner and president of HITS, has been a supporter of Family of Woodstock for many years. Struzzieri has hosted an annual fundraising party at his home in Saugerties for the agency since 2000. Berg offered the land to HITS for use as a horse show grounds four years ago, but it was not until November of 2002 that Struzzieri walked the land and took him up on the offer. Struzzieri acquired additional acreage and began plans for HITS-on-the-Hudson. The Family of Woodstock land, which had been given to the agency years ago and had at one time been used as a nine-hole golf course, had not been in use for nearly 15 years. As the agency’s only asset, the land was reviewed for several possible uses, but according to Berg, none were as feasible or advantageous to Family of Woodstock as the partnership with HITS. “The income from the lease and from the gate is a huge benefit to the agency,” stated Berg. HITS has leased the land for 15 years with an option to buy.

Family of Woodstock, Inc., a multi-program human service agency providing services throughout Ulster County, was launched in 1970 when young people who attended the Woodstock Rock Festival remained in town and needed help rather than intervention from the police. What started as a rudimentary helping hand has developed into the second oldest continuously operating 24-hour-a-day emergency switchboard in the United States. Family of Woodstock’s principle focus is crisis intervention, including emergency shelter and food, services to teens, childcare and comprehensive services for people with substance abuse problems, domestic violence issues, HIV/AIDS, and people who are involved with the criminal justice system. The charity has more than 100,000 contacts each year through its hotline, social services programs, and three walk-in centers. Approximately 180 people are on staff along with 200 volunteers to meet the community needs. “We’re funded by federal money, grants, and the generosity of people,” explained Berg, who has been with Family of Woodstock for 33 years.

The partnership between HITS and Family of Woodstock also includes jointly sponsoring upcoming events at HITS-on-the-Hudson. “There are 2,000 to 3,000 people who come to participate in the horse show from Wednesday through Sunday and we wanted to provide events for them to experience some of the local businesses as well as to allow vendors to come to the show grounds. It benefits both,” explained Berg. Some of the two-day events planned are an antiques show, equine art show, Taste of the Hudson Valley restaurant sampling, Chili Cook-Off (which will also qualify the winner to move on to a national event), Kids Day, and Seniors Day. “There’s no charge to the vendors we invite to participate, but we do ask for a $50 contribution to Family of Woodstock if they have a successful two days,” noted Berg, who is working with HITS staff to organize the events.

Berg pointed out that the newly built HITS-on-the-Hudson will benefit the Family of Woodstock, the local businesses, and the entire Ulster County community not only economically but as a wholesome family recreation activity also. He is especially pleased with how the facility has been constructed on the Family of Woodstock land. “It’s beautiful,” Berg said.

The Grand Opening celebration for HITS-on-the-Hudson is Sunday, May 30th. Festivities will include a salute and on-field presentation to equestrian Olympians, equestrian exhibitions, a sampling of Hudson River Valley delicacies prepared by the area’s gourmet restaurants, and entertainment by a chamber music group. Highlighting the day’s competition is the $75,000 HITS-on-the-Hudson Grand Prix.

HITS-on-the-Hudson Features

HITS-on-the-Hudson includes a Hunter Arena, Jumper Arena, eight all-weather performance rings, and four practice rings. There are six permanent barns with more than 500 stalls. A VIP pavilion overlooks both the Hunter and Jumper feature rings, and a restaurant and dining courtyard offers patio seating as well as an enclosed dining area. The 10 vendor boutiques offer equine-themed merchandise, and Mercedes Benz has a featured showroom.

Spectators are admitted free to HITS-on-the-Hudson, Wednesday through Friday. Tickets are $5 on Saturday and Sunday, which is donated to Family of Woodstock. Children under 12 are admitted without charge, and parking is free.



Show jumping takes place daily, starting at 8:00 AM

HITS-on-the-Hudson I – May 26-30
HITS-on-the-Hudson II – June 2-6

HITS-on-the-Hudson III – June 9-13
HITS-on-the-Hudson IV – July 21-25
HITS-on-the-Hudson V – July 28-August 1
New York Horse & Pony Show VI – August 4-8
HITS-on-the-Hudson VII – September 1-5

$25,000 Grand Prix Every Thursday

$75,000 Grand Prix Every Sunday

Week I, Grand Opening - Sunday, May 30th

Week II, Antique Show – Saturday, June 5th and Sunday, June 6th

Week III, Equine Art Exhibit – Saturday, June 12th and Sunday, June 13th

Week IV, Taste of the Hudson Valley – Saturday, July 24th

Week V, Chili Cook-off – Saturday, July 31st

Week VI, Kids Day – Saturday, August 7th

Week VII, Seniors Day – Saturday, September 4th

HITS produced its first series of horse shows – a three-week circuit in Gainesville, Florida – in 1982. Today HITS produces five circuits – Ocala Winter Circuit in Florida; Indio Desert Circuit in California; Arizona Winter Circuit in Tucson; HITS Culpeper in Virginia; and HITS-on-the Hudson in New York. Individually, each is a first rate horse show series; collectively, they represent the largest group of equestrian events under a single management group in the United States.



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