The FEI announced today that the 2018 World Equestrian Games will be held at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina on Sept. 10-23, 2018, about one month later that the original dates when the Games were to be held at Bromont in Quebec.
“The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organizing committee,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”
The Tryon International Equestrian Center sits on 1,600 acres at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The venue features 1,200 permanent stables, 12 arenas including an international arena with seating for up to 12,000 and VIP seating for up to 1,500, a covered arena with 5,000 seats, and a world-class cross country course that will be used for both eventing and driving.
While Derek di Grazia was originally appointed as the course designer for the 2018 WEG at Bromont, the FEI confirmed to EN today that there has been no decision as to who will design the WEG cross country course at Tryon following the change of venue.
Capt. Mark Phillips designed the course for this year’s USEA American Eventing Championships. The venue will also host The Fork International Horse Trials for the first time on April 5-9, 2017, which will be a final preparation event on the East Coast ahead of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Tremaine Cooper confirmed to EN that both he and Capt. Phillips will design the courses for The Fork.
“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honor of hosting this prestigious event,” facility owner Mark Bellissimo said. “It’s a really great fit for North Carolina’s equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the USEF to produce fabulous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”
The original dates for WEG, Aug. 12-26, were changed following two scientific studies commissioned by the FEI that found weather conditions would be significantly improved in North Carolina during September, particularly from a horse welfare perspective. The FEI also looked at date conflicts with other events on the FEI Calendar when choosing the date.
Tryon, which announced its bid on Aug. 2, beat out Samorin Equestrian Centre in Slovakia as the only other venue in consideration for WEG. The FEI did not officially open the bid process due to the short timeframe following Bromont’s contract termination as the original host site.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 were previously awarded to Bromont (CAN), but a lack of secure funding led to mutual agreement between the FEI and the Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the host contract in July of this year.
“The FEI is 100% committed to the FEI World Equestrian Games concept and we are extremely grateful to all those that showed interest in hosting the 2018 Games,” Ingmar de Vos said. “Their enthusiasm demonstrates the importance of the event across the equestrian community.”
What do you think, EN? Are you excited that WEG is staying in North America and returning to the U.S.? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
This post has been updated to include a comment from the FEI about the 2018 WEG course designer.