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Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners announce pursuit of 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games at Tryon International Equestrian Center

Tuesday, 02 August 2016

Tryon International Equestrian Center

Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners, confirmed today that the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. is working with United States Equestrian Federation to ensure that the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games remain in North America. USEF has communicated its support of the initiative to the FEI. 

It was at the end of July that FEI announced that it was working on alternatives for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games following a mutual agreement between the FEI and Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM), the organising committee for the Games in Bromont, to terminate the contract to host the Games due to ongoing financial issues. “We are sad that the Bromont organising committee is no longer in a position to host the Games in 2018”, FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

In a press release issued today from Tryon International Equestrian Center, it is stated that the United States Equestrian Federation has communicated via letter to the FEI their strong support of the bid to host the 2018 Games in North Carolina. William Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of USEF commented, “While it is unfortunate the games will not be able to take place at Bromont, the USEF believes it is critical that the WEG remain in North America as intended so that the globalization of the sport can continue.” USEF President, Chrystine Tauber added “Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners have a brand new venue, deep experience and sufficient resources to make this happen. They have the USEF’s full endorsement.”

Both N.C. and S.C. state and local governments have expressed support of the bid. The last WEG in North America was held in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010. The games had an economic impact of $201.5 million over the event’s 14 days according to a financial study commissioned by the state.

“North Carolina’s infrastructure and natural beauty make our state a natural fit to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” said Governor McCrory. “We will support efforts to host the Games in our state which will provide not only a positive experience to all those attending, but a significant boost to North Carolina’s rapidly growing economy.”

S.C. Governor Haley echoed support for the WEG. “We have a long and rich history in equestrian competition, and welcome the opportunity to showcase our state’s world-renowned hospitality and tourism assets to the attendees and participants of this prestigious event,” said Governor Haley.

Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP) has invested over $125 million dollars over the last two years developing 1,500 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to create what they believe to be the premier equestrian lifestyle destination and resort in the world. The Tryon International Equestrian Center is the centerpiece of that effort. This venue includes 1,200 permanent stalls, 12 competition arenas, a lighted international arena that seats 6,000 (expandable to 12,000) with multiple VIP areas, a large covered/indoor arena that seats 5,000, as well a world-class cross country course which will support both eventing and driving. TIEC is nestled within North Carolina horse country which is accessible to hundreds of miles of equestrian trails to support endurance.   

Mark Bellissimo, TEP managing partner, commented, “Our partnership built the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to support all levels and disciplines of equestrian sport including international competitions and championships. Our partnership’s passion for equestrian sport is based on our belief that we can grow the sport in the Americas, and that this country needs a comprehensive high-profile, high-quality destination to showcase all equestrian disciplines to an expanding spectator base.”

Bellissimo further commented, “The WEG is a very challenging and complicated event. With the exception of Aachen, Germany, most venues are forced to spend many years and tens of millions of dollars investing and developing the venue infrastructure, developing the personnel, attracting sponsors, and managing logistics for the WEG. This takes a financial and operational toll by consuming scarce resources on the venue construction and team building efforts for a one-time event. We have a fully functional equestrian venue, the management team and operational staff, and the sponsor pipeline in place, so the bulk of our energy will be on operational execution and showcasing the event and the sport to the world.”

Bellissimo added, “We are uniquely and immediately positioned to hold all eight disciplines within a central venue. Further, our integrated approach to existing on-site lodging, restaurants, permanent VIP hospitality venues, and abundance of on-site and local area family activities would be attractive for vendors, sponsors, competitors, horse owners, and spectators. In addition, there are 60,000 hotel beds within 60 miles of the venue. We are confident that these elements would create a very successful games and re-energize the WEG product.”


Source: Press release from Tryon International Equestrian Center as well as previous press release from FEI

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