When it comes to the FEI World Cup 2015, what happens in Vegas is unlikely to stay in Vegas. In fact it will be the talk of the equestrian world for months after the event! Scheduled to take place from 15 to 19 April, there’s still time to book tickets for those planning to catch the action live.
This is the sixth time that Las Vegas will be hosting the event and organisers are delighted to have the event back. In the combined jumping and dressage finals held in Las Vegas in 2005, 2007 and 2009, the 5-day events drew an average of nearly 90,000 spectators for each of the three years.
According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, those events averaged a non-gaming economic impact of more than $20 million each. Individuals representing some 25 countries and all 50 of the United States purchased tickets, with more than 90% of the events’ attendees coming from outside Nevada.
Reigning World Cup Jumping Champion, Beezie Madden, is pleased to have the finals on her home ground. “I have been fortunate to compete all over the world and nowhere is our sport presented with as much flair and excitement as in Las Vegas,” said the 2-time Olympic gold medallist.
Her sentiment is shared by the dressage riders. “The previous World Cup Finals held in Las Vegas proved why the city is known as the entertainment capital of the world,” said Steffen Peters, the winner of the dressage final in Vegas in 2009. “They showcase our sport like no one else and the riders absolutely love competing there.”
The FEI showjumping and dressage events look set to be as exciting as ever, and once again we’ll be seeing the world’s top horses and riders in action. Highlights of this year’s event include the highly anticipated comeback of Totilas and rider Matthias Rath. The pair made a sensational return to the ring in May 2014 after the 2010 World Champion horse was sidelined for two years due to injury. Further injury kept this 14-year-old black stallion away from the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Caen in August, so the crowd will be holding its collective breath as they once again take their place in the global spotlight!
Many families share their love of horses and Vegas is surprisingly family-friendly, with children’s entertainment and babysitting services available, so this is an excellent opportunity to introduce youngsters to the exhilaration of FEI. From the jumping and dressage warm-ups on 15 April through to the Longines Jumping Final III on 19 April, every day promises excitement and endless fun.
Las Vegas is an incredible experience in itself, and in addition to its glamorous casinos, spectacular shows and luxurious resorts, it provides easy access to destinations such as Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland and the California vineyards. You could also travel further afield in the United States or south of the border.
For news and updates on the event, visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com/news.
How to get there
Johannesburg-based Priority Travel – an equestrian travel specialist – has secured flights via Emirates and United, chauffeur-driven transfers and accommodation at the iconic four-star Paris Las Vegas resort, which is just a few minutes away from FEI on the famous Vegas Strip. The resort offers something for everyone, such as cuisine by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, sensational parties at Chateau Nightclub and Gardens, a boutique shopping promenade and some of the city’s most beautiful suites.
The exclusive package includes balcony seats at either the dressage or showjumping events. If you prefer to attend both, combination tickets can be arranged. It is extremely well-priced, from just R29,500 per person, with a variety of upgrades, extensions and add-ons available to tailor the trip to your preferences. For more information, visit www.prioritytravel.co.za and find out what really happens in Vegas
Text: Francois Swart
This article first appeared in the February 2015 issue of HQ Magazine. Visit Coolmags for great subscription offers.