Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Will Host Olympians From Around the World

Wellington, FL – January 16, 2006 –

The 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival debuts on January 25, 2006 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club on Pierson Road in Wellington, Florida. This year’s festival, the nation’s largest and longest consecutively running equestrian sporting event, celebrates thirty-four years in Florida and will be the winter stop for more Olympians than anytime in its history.
 
The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) features eight weeks of back-to-back horse shows in Wellington. The one million dollar Grand Prix series features high-stakes show jumping competitions every Thursday and Sunday. The 10-week extravaganza, which also includes two weeks in Tampa, concludes with the United States’ richest outdoor show jumping event, the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday, April 1, 2006.
 
An exciting new addition at this year’s WEF is the $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge, a rider bonus pool of $200,000.  Riders will accumulate points from their performances in the Thursday and Sunday Grand Prix events.  The rider with the most points on March 12 will be awarded $100,000. Second place will be given $50,000, third place will receive $30,000, and $20,000 will be given to fourth place. FTI Consulting of Annapolis, MD, is sponsoring the $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge.
 
New this year is the world-wide debut of the Global Champions Tour during the Winter Equestrian Festival. The tour links six of the world’s most prestigious outdoor show jumping events and begins in Wellington during the Wellington Open, presented by Cosequin, on March 1-5, 2006. Each GCT Grand Prix will carry a purse of €150,000 Euros. A rider’s bonus pool will award € 600,000 (Euros) to the top eight finishers in the series.
 
Olympians galore and riders from the around the globe highlight the roster of top show jumping stars planning to call Wellington home this winter. Riders from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Venezuela and more, have been issued invitations to compete at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival. 
 
The line-up from the United States features fifteen Olympians headlined by the 2004 Athens Olympic Team Gold Medalists McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Alison Firestone, and Chris Kappler. Kappler also won the Individual Silver Medal at Athens.
 
Team and Individual Gold Medalist Joe Fargis returns, as does Team Gold and Silver Medalist Leslie Howard. Howard was the 1986 World Cup Champion.
 
They will be joined by the Individual Bronze Medalist from Barcelona, Spain, Norman Dello Joio and his teammate, Lisa Jacquin. Also in attendance will be four-time Olympian Anne Kursinski and Team Silver Medalist Peter Leone. Dello Joio was victorious as well in the 1983 World Cup Finals.
 
Other United States Olympians appearing at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival include Margie Engle, Nona Garson, Lauren Hough, Todd Minikus, and Laura Kraut from the 2000 Sydney Olympic team.
 
2004 Olympic Individual Gold Medalist and three-time World Cup Champion, Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, tops the roster of International riders with Olympic experience on their resume.
 
Michael Whitaker and Nick Skelton, two four-time Olympians, will represent Great Britain in Florida this year. Skelton is also the 1995 World Cup Champion.

Eight time Olympian Ian Millar of Canada
Photo: Peter Llewellyn- HorseSourceLtd.com

Ian Millar of Canada will be in spending the entire winter in Wellington this year, after competing on the Ocala circuit for many years. Millar, with an unprecedented eight Olympic appearances for Canada, rode to back to back World Cup Championships in 1988 and 1989. Millar leads a list of six Canadian Olympians scheduled for a WEF appearance in 2006.

Mexico’s Jaime Guerra, winner of this year’s Budweiser AGA Championship at the National Horse Show in Wellington, is a three time Olympian for his home country.
 
The international list of invitees from around the world includes an incredible thirty-seven Olympic veterans.
 
One of the highlights of show jumping in Wellington is the Nations’ Cup, a competition that pits teams of show jumpers from multiple countries against each other in two rounds of competition. The 2006 Nations’ Cup, presented by CN on Friday, March 10th, marks the fifth time that the Winter Equestrian Festival will host this prestigious international event. Making the competition especially exciting, the Nations’ Cup will once again be held at night under lights in the Internationale Arena.
 
In addition to the $1 million Grand Prix series, $500,000 in prize money is offered in the various additional divisions for Open Jumpers. There is a $320,000 Amateur Owner section, a Junior Jumper section worth $220,000 and close to $400,000 offered for Adult Amateur, Senior, and Pony Jumpers. Young Jumpers in three different age groups will compete for $112,000 in prize money.
 
In this year of the World Equestrian Games at Aachen, Germany, the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival will be the proving grounds for many riders who desire a chance to compete on the world’s greatest stage in late August and early September. World Equestrian Games Selection Trials will be held at the Internationale Arena on Tuesday, March 21st, Wednesday March 22nd, and on Saturday, March 25, 2006.
 
This year’s Winter Equestrian Festival, the richest on record and with more Olympians in any one place except the Olympics itself, should be one of the most exciting and competitive equestrian competitions ever held in the United States.  
 
2006 Winter Equestrian Festival Fast Facts
 
EVENT: Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida
 
WHAT: Seven-week hunter/jumper and 3-week dressage horse show circuit produced by
Stadium Jumping, Inc.
 
WHERE: Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club,
14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, Florida 33414
 
WHEN: Wednesday through Sunday 2006 Show Dates:
Jan 25-29: Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, CSI 2*
Feb 1-5: Gold Coast Jumper Classic presented by Carlisle, CSI 3*
Feb 2-5: Wellington Dressage
Feb 8-12: Kilkenny/ICH Internationale, CSI 3*, ‘AA’
Feb 15-19: Bainbridge Florida Classic & WCHR Hunter Spectacular, presented by the Palm Beach Post, CSI-W CSIY CSI-CH
Feb 16-19: Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
Feb 22-26: Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters, CSI - W
March 1-5: Wellington Open presented by Cosequin, CSI 5*
March 8-12: CN Wellington Finale, CSIO 5*-US
March 16-19: 2006 USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship/U.S. League Final – CDI-W & Zada Enterprises, LLC WEF Dressage Classic, CDI 3* CDIY
 
HOURS: Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m.
 
ADMISSION: General Admission Tickets are available at the gate.
Wednesday: Admission is free. *Children 12 & Under Free Everyday
Thursday and Friday: Adults- $5.00, Seniors (65)/Children 13 & Over- $5.00
Friday Evening performances when scheduled: Adults - $10.00  - Srs. (65)/Child - $5.00
Saturday: Adults- $10.00, Seniors (65)/Children 13 & Over- $5.00
Sunday: Adults- $15.00, Seniors (65)/Children 13 & Over- $5.00
Weekly General Admission Pass- $30.00
Seasonal General Admission Pass- $125.00
           
PARKING: Parking is free Wednesday through Sunday
 
DIRECTIONS: Approaching the show grounds from the Florida Turnpike, take Exit #93, Lake Worth Blvd., and travel west, crossing over 441. Travel five miles to South Shore Blvd., turn right on South Shore and proceed one mile to Pierson Road, then turn left at the light. Spectator Entrance is first left, on Equestrian Road. Approaching the show grounds from Interstate I-95, take Exit 49. Travel west on Forest Hill Blvd. 11 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn left on South Shore and follow to Pierson Road. Turn right at the light on Pierson. Spectator Entrance is first left – Equestrian Road.

THE FACILITY: The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is the home of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the site of the first outdoor Nations Cup held in the United States. The competition areas include the 400’ x 400’ grass Internationale Arena, which is surrounded by bermed seating, chalets, and VIP areas; plus the Bertalan DeNemethy Arena and Grand Hunter Field, both with all weather footing. Amenities include The Jockey Club VIP area.PRIZE MONEY: Over $3 Million in total prize money, including:
·        $1.4 Million Grand Prix Series
·        $450,000 1.50 M-1.30M Jumper Series
·        $300,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Series
·        $100,000 Senior Jumper Series
·        $395,000 USEF ‘AA’ Hunter Section Series
·        $200,000 Junior Jumper Series
·        $168,000 Adult Amateur Jumper Series
·        $32,000 Children’s Jumper Series
·        $9,500 Pony Jumper Series
 
$200,000 FTI RIDER CHALLENGE:  FTI Consulting of Annapolis, MD, is sponsoring the $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge. The FTI Rider Challenge will be held during the 2006 WEF, from January 25 to March 12 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL.  The FTI Rider Challenge will be a rider bonus pool for $200,000.  Riders will accumulate points from their performances in the Thursday and Sunday Grand Prix events.  The rider with the most points on March 12 will be awarded $100,000.  Second place will be given $50,000, third place will receive $30,000, and $20,000 will be given to fourth place.
 
HIGHLIGHTS:
· Sunday, Jan 29, 2:00 p.m.: $50,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach, presented by Western Hay, CSI 2*
· Saturday, Feb 4, 3:00 p.m.: $25,000 Windsome Dressage/Show Jumping Spectacular
  Sunday, Feb 5, 10:00 a.m.: Intermediaire and Grand Prix Dressage Freestyles
· Sunday, Feb 5, 2:00 p.m.: $60,000 Wellington Cup presented by Carlisle CSI 3*
· Sunday, Feb 12, 2:00 p.m.: $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI 3*
· Saturday, Feb 18, 7:00 p.m.: AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach
· Sunday, Feb 19, 9:00 a.m.: $10,000 WEF Individual Young Rider Team and Individual Competition, CSIY Final
  Sunday, Feb 19, 10:00 a.m.: Intermediaire and Grand Prix Dressage Freestyles
· Sunday, Feb 19, 2:00 p.m.: $60,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post, CSI-W
· Friday, Feb 24, 7:00 p.m.: $15,000 Solaray Junior Jumper Gambler’s Choice
· Sunday, Feb 26, 2:00 p.m.: $100,000 Zada Enterprises, LLC Masters Cup, CSI-W
· Friday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.: $15,000 Solaray Amateur-Owner Jumper Gambler’s Choice followed by the 50,000 € Jump for a Just World 1.50m Competition
· Sunday, March 5, 2:00 p.m.: 150,000 € Florida Open, presented by Cosequin, CSI-5*-includes the debut of the Global Champions Tour (GCT)
· Friday, March 10, 7:00 p.m.: $75,000 Nations Cup CSIO 5* presented by CN
· Sunday, March 12, 2:00 p.m.: $150,000 US Open Jumper Championship CSIO, presented by CN
· Friday, March 17, 7:00 p.m.: Grand Prix de Dressage CDI-W
· Saturday, March 18, 7:00 p.m.: USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship
· Sunday, March 19, 9:00 a.m.: Intermediaire and Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle
 
FOOD: A diverse menu of food and beverages is available at the vendor courtyard and at vendors around the Internationale Arena, and are open during show hours.
 
SHOPPING: The vendor courtyard and individual booths around the Internationale Arena both offer equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry, and home furnishings.
 
ECONOMIC IMPACT: The Winter Equestrian Festival, produced by Eugene R. Mische and Stadium Jumping, Inc., is the largest and longest consecutively running sporting event in the world.  It is also the largest equestrian event and major contributor to Palm Beach County’s $553+ million equestrian industry. (Courtesy of Palm Beach County Equestrian Commission, Inc.)
 
PALM BEACH POLO EQUESTRIAN CLUB: 14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, FL, 33414; Tel: 561-793-JUMP; Fax: 561-753-7727; Website: www.stadiumjumping.com
 
STADIUM JUMPING, INC.: Corporate Office- 1301 Sixth Ave West, Suite 406, Bradenton, FL, 34205; Tel: 941-744-5465; Fax: 941-744-0874; Website: www.stadiumjumping.com

 

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