Attracting hundreds of world-class competitors to the largest equestrian triathlon west of the Mississippi, the 21st running of The Event at Rebecca Farm is July 20 – 24 in Kalispell. Riders compete in three disciplines — dressage, cross country and show jumping — that combine to form the sport of eventing.
More than 600 horse and rider teams will be arriving by plane, long-haul trucks and horse trailers from the East Coast to the West Coast, and no matter how they arrive, all are looking forward to the reunions, competition and legendary western hospitality of the Rebecca Farm organizers and volunteers.
“I competed at Rebecca Farm for the first time in 2021 and found the sense of community and ability to deliver a great experience for the competitors and owners very inspiring,” said Lucienne Bellissimo of Wellington, Florida. Bellissimo is returning this year to compete and her company, Horse Scout Design, is sponsoring the top international divisions.
“The Broussard family makes a huge effort to run a fantastic eventing experience for everyone, so the Horse Scout Team wished to support the 4*divisions in 2022,” Bellissimo said.
This year, 12 horses will arrive by air, landing at the Great Falls airport on July 17. “We had a few new East Coast riders for last year’s event and it really re-ignited the interest of top-tier riders to venture west for this year’s competition,” said Sarah Broussard, Event Organizer. “That excitement, coupled with two flight grants for 3* and 4* riders offered by Ocala Horse Properties, have the caliber of competition very high this year.”
The 2022 flight grants came as a result of two horse-owning brothers, Rob and Chris Desino, who experienced The Event at Rebecca Farm for the first time in 2021.
“We are in awe of the quality of the event, the hospitality from the organizers and the strength of predominantly West Coast riders,” said Chris Desino. “Being from the East Coast, we wanted this opportunity to be more accessible for top riders who couldn’t typically make the long trek.”
Working with the United States Eventing Association (USEA) the Desinos established a flight grant that will bring two top-level riders in the CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L divisions to Rebecca Farm. Instead of the typical 30+-hour horse trailer haul, they will enjoy a much shortened airplane ride from the East Coast.
With five days of competition, horse and riders at almost every national eventing level are showcased against the backdrop of Glacier National Park. Novice riders begin with dressage on July 20, then all levels, up to international 4*, follow in line with the always popular cross country Thursday – Saturday, and show jumping beginning Friday for novices and ending with the 2*, 3* and 4* riders on Sunday.
In addition to the equestrian competition, The Event aims to please all spectators, no matter their familiarity with the sport. The Kid Zone features mini golf, face painting, arts and crafts and the ever-popular pony rides Friday-Sunday. The area’s favorite food trucks are open Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and a shopping fair featuring art, jewelry, decor and more is also open Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Volunteer recruitment is underway for the 2022 Event and a range of opportunities are available from July 20-24. Volunteers enjoy a “backstage pass” to the event, serving in a variety of roles from hospitality and parking to arena and cross country helpers. No experience is required and first-time participants, families and groups are highly encouraged to participate.
“Volunteering is a unique way to experience The Event — volunteers get an up-close look at all the action and are treated like family. That’s what keeps them coming back year after year — they have a great time, meet new friends and enjoy giving back,” said Broussard. “I’m so grateful to the hundreds of people who generously donate their time — we truly couldn’t do it without them.”
The Event is free for all spectators, and a $10 parking donation is encouraged to benefit the charitable initiative, Halt Cancer at X, that provides grants to national research projects seeking a cure for breast cancer and to local nonprofits providing support services to cancer patients and survivors.