Kentucky will not pursue the 2018 World Equestrian Games which were pulled from Canada last week, because the state determined it would “put the Commonwealth and the taxpayers at enormous financial risk.”
Also, according to a statement from the Cabinet for Tourism, Arts and Heritage, it would be too difficult to pull it together in just two years.
Bromont, Quebec, had been scheduled to host world championships in eight equestrian disciplines on Aug. 12-26, 2018, but on July 22, the Federation Equestre Internationale announced that by mutual agreement the games were pulled “due to ongoing financial issues.”
After a second round of bidding, Bromont had been awarded the games in 2014 over Kentucky, which sought to host its second world championships.
Last week’s announcement led to widespread speculation that the Kentucky Horse Park would be a potential fallback location for the 2018 games. But tourism cabinet spokeswoman Laura Brooks said Friday morning that will not be the case.
“After learning Bromont was unable to host the World Equestrian Games in 2018, the Kentucky Horse Park and the Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage immediately reached out to event sponsors and analyzed the benefits and disadvantages of hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2018,” Brooks said in a e-mail statement.
“The consensus of Kentucky Horse Park and the Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage professional staff was that hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2018, with such a short time line, would put the Commonwealth and taxpayers at enormous financial risk. It was also determined that the time line of two years was too short for the horse park to host the best event possible.”
Tourism Secretary Don Parkinson and Kentucky Horse Park Commission chair Tandy Patrick were not immediately available for comment. Laura Prewitt, park executive director since July 1, also was not immediately available.
An FEI spokeswoman said via email that “all bids to host an FEI World Equestrian Games must come from a national federation and we have not been advised by the United States Equestrian Federation that Kentucky would like to host the Games.”
The U.S. Equestrian Federation confirmed in a statement from CEO Bill Moroney that the Kentucky Horse Park has not requested that the USEF submit a request to the FEI.
Instead, Kentucky, which hosted the 2010 games, is bidding on the next round, Brooks said.
“The Kentucky Horse Park is preparing a strong proposal for the World Equestrian Games in 2022,” Brooks said. “We hope that we can bring people from all over the world back to experience all that Kentucky has to offer. The Kentucky Horse Park is already improving its amenities as it prepares a successful bid for the 2022 World Equestrian Games.”
The 2022 WEG host site is expected to be announced in November 2017 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The deadline for initial bids is August. Candidates will be announced in December with completed bids and signed host agreements due in June 2017, according to the FEI.
According to a 2011 report for the tourism cabinet, the 2010 games generated $11.3 billion in economic impact for the state in 2010.