About 300 people turned up Friday at Rupp Arena to count down the seconds until tickets for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games went on sale at noon, one year before the Games begin at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Amy Walker, public relations manager for the Games, said Friday afternoon that ticket sales "have far exceeded our expectations." She said that tens of thousands of tickets had been sold, but that more detailed numbers would not be available until Monday.
Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
At the event, Alltech CEO Pearse Lyons said Alltech's initial $10 million investment to sponsor the games has been worthwhile even though he has been on a horse only two times.
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"Remember what this thing is all about," Lyons told the crowd. "This is not a Kentucky event, this is an American event. ... The eyes of the world will be upon us, and they won't be disappointed."
Lyons said his company also will be the sponsor of the 2014 WEG games in the Normandy region of France, which includes Lexington's sister city Deauville.
Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry urged Lexingtonians and visitors to participate in the Spotlight Lexington festival, which starts Sept. 24, 2010, the day before the Games begin. Venues include three Lexington parks — Courthouse Plaza, Cheapside Park and Triangle Park — featuring entertainment during the entire run of the games.
WEG merchandise is available online at www.weg2010store.com, including everything from a sparkler-adorned WEG cap to an $18 T-shirt that proclaims "Anticipation Is Mounting."
Lisa House of Lexington, who was buying tickets and merchandise with her partner, Nancy Dennison, said: "I would hope that people would come out and be involved in our city."