Kalispell, Montana-- 493 competitors have registered to compete in the 11th Anniversary of The Event at Rebecca Farm, July 12-15, 2012 -- and a long wait list of hopeful entrants has formed as well. The Event is the largest equestrian triathlon in the U.S., where many of the world's best horses and riders, as well as promising young competitors, compete in dressage, show jumping, and cross-country in a combined triathlon. Organizers expect approximately 20,000 spectators over the four days.
"As we move into our second decade, we look forward to taking The Event to even higher levels and continue to build upon the vision of my mother," said Event organizer, Sarah Broussard Kelly. "I'm excited for so many people to join us for a new decade on a brand new course. We're also glad to be a part of the progress of the U.S. Olympic team."
On July 2, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) named the five-member 2012 U.S. Olympic Eventing Team, which included three riders -- Tiana Coudray, Phillip Dutton, and Karen O'Connor -- who have recently competed at Rebecca Farm.
"Rebecca Farm is such an amazing venue that the Broussard family brought to fruition from crop fields," said O'Connor, who won The Event in 2010. "I have been competing internationally for two decades across 27 countries and Rebecca Farm is the best venue I have ever been to in the world."
Admission for spectators is free. A $5 parking donation will be collected each day to help support "Halt Cancer at X" -- an initiative to raise money for breast cancer research in memory of The Event's Founder, Rebecca Broussard. The initiative takes its name from the first competition and station in Eventing. During the dressage competition, riders halt at the 'X' -- a spot in the center of the arena where horse and rider stop before performing their first test movement.
Participating competitors will also raise money through soliciting pledges and a percentage of the Calcutta auction proceeds from the Saturday evening barbecue will add additional funds to the campaign. "We're thrilled to take this great platform we have created and make it mean something more to the world," added Kelly.
To kick off its 11th year, the Rebecca Farm organizers have turned the course around -- completely. Competitors will run clockwise from the 2002 design that was originally established by Mark Phillips, a world-renowned course designer and current coach of the U.S. Olympic eventing team. Scottish equestrian Ian Stark has redesigned the sinuous, 4-mile cross-country course that features over 150 obstacles and four water complexes. Stark has won multiple Olympic medals and was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
?Spectators can walk the course or view it from a hillside with a great vantage point of the 600-acre complex, with vast, rolling fields stretching to the Whitefish Range, and snow on the high peaks of Glacier National Park shimmering in the distance. Six different arenas offer close-up views of dressage and show-jumping. In addition to the competition, a huge trade fair is offered with a wide range of food and beverage concessions, as well as a kid's zone with face painting and pony rides.
?International equestrians have observed that Rebecca Farm is unlike most other courses in the world and many of the fences are more like works of art then they are a horse jump. The beauty of the course that has blossomed over the past decade has been possible by an enormous, dedicated staff, including course builders?Bert Wood?and Matt Langliers. (See a video of a remote-controlled helicopter fly through the course on the Farm's web site.)
?The team of artists have designed iconic jumps to look like massive trout, a moose, rattle snakes, a beaver, a water dragon, an old steam train-and even prehistoric creatures in the zone called "Jurassic Park" and the exciting "Key Hole" -- where horses in the advanced and three-star divisions jump through a hole of brush hanging from a frame.
?"Among various new challenges for both horse and rider, one new surprise will be placing the Key Hole in the middle of the water," said Stark. "This could be the first water-to-water key hole jump on a cross-country course ever."
?Last summer, Wood and his team added a special twist by constructing an old western town that looks like a movie set, complete with a sheriff's office, a school, a church, a hangman's gallows, an old west bank, and a town hall. The final jump of this section of the course sent riders over the front door of an old fashioned saloon. This summer, the Western theme continues with the additional of a belt buckle and a ten-gallon hat.
As a sport, eventing is one of the most comprehensive and exciting in the world today, testing horse and rider over a series of challenges, disciplines and courses that showcase the attributes of a well-rounded team. With historic military ties meant to replicate the demands of the cavalry, their cumulative performance in the triathlon determines their final standing.
This summer The Event will also feature Classic, or long-format divisions, which incorporate roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country into four phases. A novice division has been introduced, with more than 30 entries.
"I'm a long format die-hard fan," said Kelly. "The classic format teaches horse and rider a lot and I am excited to be able to expose more people to this important and fun training tool. It's a popular format at the lower levels and matches our philosophy to provide our competitors with what they want."
To access Rebecca Farm, from the junction of Highways 93 & 2, travel 2 miles north on Highway 93 to West Reserve Drive and go west 2 miles to Springcreek Road, then south on Springcreek. The entrance is 3/4 mile on the right.
Prior to The Event on July 11, the USEA Young and Future Event Horse Series will be featured. The Future Event Horse series judges the potential that yearlings, two-year-olds, and three-year-olds have to become successful event horses. The Young Event Horse series gives owners and breeders the opportunity to showcase the potential of their four- and five-year-old horses.
For more information, visit?www.rebeccafarm.org.
Wednesday, July 11: Future Event Horse Series
USEA Future Event Horse Series Starts at 12 p.m.
USEA | Spalding Labs Young Event Horse Series Starts at 1 p.m.
Trade Fair area open for set-up 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Cross-Country course opens 3 p.m.
Competitor Briefing - FEI & HT 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 12th: Dressage Tests
Dressage Tests Arenas 1-5 from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Trade Fair hours 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, July 13th: Dressage & Cross-Country Tests
Dressage Tests Arenas 1 - 5 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Cross-Country Test, National Horse Trials Divisions: Novice & Training 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Trade Fair hours 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 14th: Cross-Country Tests
Cross-Country Tests - FEI Divisions ~ CIC1*, CCI1*, CCI2*, & CIC3*
National Horse Trials Divisions ~ Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary & Novice,
Training & Preliminary Classic (Long Format) 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Trade Fair hours 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Event Dinner ($20 adults, $10 under ten) and live music by Smart Alex in the Pavilion: 7:30-11 p.m.; Calcutta to raise money for "Halt Cancer at X" breast cancer campaign during set break.
Sunday, July 15th: Show Jumping Tests
Show Jumping Test 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
ARENA 1 - CIC1*, CCI1*, CCI2*, CIC3*, Advanced & Intermediate
ARENA 2 - Preliminary & Preliminary Three-Day
ARENA 3 - Training & Novice
Trade Fair Hours 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Awards ceremony following each division on Sunday.