Wellington, FL will announce it's candidacy for the 2018 WEGs on Saturday. From the Palm Beach Post
Equestrian Sports Productions, the organization that produces the annual Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington is "announcing its intentions two years early to drum up interest throughout South Florida. 'It's something we would look to have multiple-county support in,' [ESP spokeswoman] Jennifer Wood said. That includes the tourism industry to address needs such as hotel space and transportation. The most recent games, held in 2006 in Aachen, Germany, drew about 576,000 spectators and had an estimated economic impact of $311 million, Wood said..."We think we now have the facility to be able to do it and to do it really well.'"
My first reaction is that Wellington's bid has a lot of obstacles to overcome:
(2) South Florida is a very long drive from anywhere other than South Florida
. Wellington is 3 hours from Orlando, which is 2 hours from Ocala, which is 6 hours from Atlanta, and tha's all pretty much as the crow flies. The closest non-Florida city to Wellington is a five hour drive, and that would be Kingsland, GA
, population 23, and everyone there is either family by birth, family be marriage, or both.
(3) Lexington is the first World Equestrian Games to be held in the US, and all of the 5 previous WEGs (Stockholm, The Habue, Rome, Jerez, Aachen) were held in Europe. Europe regains the games in 2014 with Normandy, France, and the statistics suggest that they will get it again.
(4) Many more World Equestrian Games competitors come from Europe than the US
, and there have been a lot of issues with the Lexington WEGs with European equestrian federations struggling to cover the travel costs, including the British driving team missing the WEG
s. Undoubtedly, these concerns will play a role in future location selections.
(5) The WEGs have never been held in a country twice, and, just like the Olympics, the organizers are likely reluctant to give the games to one country twice in 8 years.
I don't mean to rain on the parade before it starts, and I do think there are some advantages to Wellington:
(1) The Winter Equestrian Festival and the local Wellington area is obviously familiar with providing a great competition experience for horses and riders. Wellington is one of the major sport horse destinations in the US, and local support for the WEGs will probably be very high.
(3) This is America, we never have a problem using vast sums of money to overcome even the most daunting of obstacles standing in our way. But seriously, obstacles are just that, and if local support and sponsorship is strong enough, then the only thing standing in Wellington's way will be the FEI's selection proceedure. No problem, right?
Other news notes:
Brian Sabo has been nominated to become the USEA's next president
. The nomination will need to be ratified by the Board of Governors at this year's convention. We might do a larger post on Brian sometime soon, but he is a West-Coaster who has been deeply involved in the ICP program. I have never met Brian, but I spoke with a couple of people yesterday, and he received great reviews. Personally, I will be sorry to see President Baumgardner go when his term expires.
The FEI defends the use of Greenwich park for the 2012 Olympics
Katie commented that she really enjoyed our Jimmy Wofford photostream link in yesterday's Bracket Battle.
I added the link later in the day when a reader sent it to us with a photo of The Optimist, so here is another link
to the photos. Jimmy, as always, provides great commentary.
So why do we call them horses?
Who needs reins when you can steer your horse with a whip?