View Full Version : Horse Show Staying at State Fair Park

01-27-2005, 11:55 AM
As I said a few months ago, many horse shows said they'd stay if we passed the hotel/motel tax increase, and leave if it failed. Well, today the American Quarter Horse Association announced it would be keeping its show here for another 10 years, rewarding voters for passing the tax increase. Thus, the show will continue to have a huge impact on our local economy. This is great news for our city. And.....the association brought up that the passage of the tax played a huge part in their decision to stay here. In fact, it's crucial for the overhaul at state fair park to occur for them to honor their agreement to stay here.

I think our mayor and city acted right in time to save these shows. It's always harder to win shows back once they've left. For example, I doubt we'll ever be able to get the National Finals Rodeo back. Had we made necessary improvement before they decided to leave, we might still have the show here today.

"Horse show to remain at fair park

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

The American Quarter Horse Association announced Wednesday it will keep its world championship in Oklahoma City for another 10 years, rewarding voters for approving a $55 million overhaul of State Fair Park.

A tentative agreement was reached Tuesday night after a city delegation, led by Mayor Mick Cornett, visited with the association's executive committee in Amarillo, Texas.

The announcement comes after Oklahoma City residents in December voted overwhelmingly to increase the city's hotel/motel tax from 2 percent to 5.5 percent to pay for about $55 million worth of improvements to horse show barns and arenas at State Fair Park.

"We have always been warmly received by the citizens of Oklahoma City and visitors to State Fair Park," AQHA President Frank "Scoop" Vessels said in a news release.

"With the new hotel/motel tax earmarked for State Fair Park improvements, we are looking forward to this extended relationship with the city and the park. We believe that once these improvements and upgrades are completed, Oklahoma's State Fair Park will be a much-desired destination for countless world-class equestrian events."

Under the terms of the agreement, the association's World Championship Show -- the world's largest single-breed championship show -- would remain in Oklahoma City through 2015, provided that improvements are made within the time frame outlined by Oklahoma City and State Fair Park officials.

The 2005 show will mark the 30th year it has been hosted by Oklahoma City at State Fair Park. The last show in November drew 1,300 people and 2,000 horses from 49 states and five countries.

The show is one of about 15 major horse shows hosted in Oklahoma City. Together, they have an economic effect of nearly $182 million a year.

Clayton I. Bennett, chairman of the Oklahoma State Fair Board, said:

"The extraordinary 29-year partnership between the AQHA and Oklahoma City has been remarkably successful by any measure. The AQHA has consistently produced a world-class championship event which has touched the lives of thousands.

"As we enter the next phase of development at State Fair Park, we are extremely gratified that the AQHA has decided to continue their relationship with us. The people of Oklahoma City gave us their vote of confidence by passing the hotel/motel tax increase, and this contract extension is the direct result of that support."

Cornett predicts other horse shows will also reward the city's investment.

"A lot of groups were hesitant to sign a long-term deal with us until we addressed their concerns about our facililities," Cornett said. "They would not have done this unless we had agreed to do the improvements."

Cornett said fair park improvements will begin this spring with demolition of the abandoned All Sports Stadium. New construction is expected to start later this year.

State Fair Park General Manager Tim O'Toole said the horse show extension marks the longest contract in the association's history in Oklahoma City.

"In the past, we've operated off of five-year agreements," O'Toole said. "This is a compliment to the citizens who passed the tax and gave us the opportunity, who understood the importance of the equine industry to the city."

01-27-2005, 12:02 PM
"Hotel tax already pays dividend

Oklahoman Editorial

WELL, THAT didn't take long.
It was just six weeks ago that Oklahoma City voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to increase the city's hotel-motel tax to 5.5 percent. The tax had been 2 percent for more than 30 years. Most of the money generated by the increase was earmarked for major upgrades to the horse show facilities at State Fair Park.

On Wednesday, we saw the voters' decision pay a big dividend. The American Quarter Horse Association announced it had reached an agreement in principle on a 10-year contract extension for its world championship show, which has been held in Oklahoma City for nearly three decades. The current contract was set to expire this year.

A study commissioned last year by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce said the 15 or so high-level horse shows held here combine to generate about $182 million for the local economy -- $34 million of that from the World Championship Quarter Horse Show.

"They've been hesitant to sign a long-term deal because of the facilities out there," Mayor Mick Cornett said. "They would not have done this if we had not passed it."

The city plans to sell bonds to pay for $55 million worth of renovations to the facilities (some of the barns date to the 1950s). The goal is to make State Fair Park the top horse show venue in the nation. With this deal, AQHA officials are banking on that happening.

"We believe that once these improvements and upgrades are completed, Oklahoma's State Fair Park will be a much-desired destination for countless world-class equestrian events," AQHA President Frank "Scoop" Vessels said.

Thanks to city voters, our guess is that other horse groups will feel the same way. "

01-27-2005, 03:03 PM
Can you remind me of what happened to the Finals Rodeo?

01-27-2005, 04:55 PM
They left OKC for Las Vegas. They claimed our facilities and city sucked. You have to remember though, this was before MAPS. Unfortunately, MAPS came a little too late to save the National Finals Rodeo. We don't have enough to lure the Finals Rodeo back (Las Vegas has the night life/entertainment that we just don't have) but if the Finals Rodeo hadn't left to begin with, it might not be as hard as trying to lure them back.

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04-23-2006, 11:57 AM
This thread was from well over a year ago. Why are we bringing it up again?

04-23-2006, 04:41 PM
This thread was from well over a year ago. Why are we bringing it up again?

#1 I actually didn't comment on the subject, I was just flicking through and saw the rude comment and acknowleded the fact.

#2 Is there a time limit on thread comments?

#3 If we are not supposed to comment on a thread this old, why are they not deleted when a certain time elapses after the last commment?