The upstate New York event management company hired to book and market non-fair events at the state fairgrounds is ready to debut its first horse show next week at the new Expo Center. HITS entertainment President and CEO Tom Struzzieri hopes to build upon the success of other equine shows they put on across the country.
"The Central New York Reining Horse Association will hold a four day premier reining event here in the building. That's what we're getting ready for now. With over $100,000 in prize money, this event will attract athletes from all over the east coast and Canada."
Today's announcement also included demonstrations. Tom Hoyt and Pinstripe Benz performed a reining demonstration, where the horse slides to a stop, and also turns in circles.
Cazenovia College Senior Keeley Gambino and Twister performed a series of jumps.
Board member of the New York State Horse Council Dan Gruen says Central New York will now be among a number of lucrative competitions held across the country.
"The idea here behind HITS running this facility is to bring those people to Central New York because they'll have a facility that will have a showing for what they want to do, and that will help pay for their expenses and prize money. Bigger purses will bring bigger names in the horse industry, and those names will bring more spectators. More spectators bring more money. Spectators spend money locally."
Fair Director Troy Waffner says the horse shows continue decades of tradition at the fairgrounds.
"We've experienced this for years at the coliseum with the horse shows we've booked from April through November. This is going to bring us to a whole new level. People who don't understand equine dismiss it as basically a farm show or animal show. Horse shows are so much bigger than that. They bring in a lot of people. With every horse that comes, they bring a lot of money. They eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels, they pump a lot of money into this economy."
After the reining event next week, HITS has booked a trial “hunters and jumpers” show the following week. They hope to make it a top event next year with hometown Olympic champion Beezie Madden.