Rolex gives a taste of WEG luxury

The first thing you see when you enter the white steepled hospitality tent is a table with perfectly arranged parfaits of fruit, granola and yogurt — not just vanilla yogurt, but Tahitian vanilla yogurt.

Then the eye is drawn to the bourbon bar, the sleek modern furniture and the pristine white carpet, all of it looking out onto the new Kentucky Horse Park stadium, where riders are performing dressage at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.

This is a taste, a tease, of what your experience will be like at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games if you want steep luxury for a steep price.

"It's a slice of what hospitality will be like at the World Games," hospitality director Kim Bennett says.

The tents were set up at Rolex to entice sponsors, businesses and luxury lovers to pony up $600 a day or more to watch the World Games in physical and culinary comfort.

At the Games, there will be a main hospitality center, but groups can rent their own personal chalets, the tent-like structures that will overlook the steeplechase. If you get a package that includes all the tickets to a specific discipline's events, it could cost as much as $20,000 and include inducements such as VIP parking.

Attendees also will be able to rent boxes in the indoor arena. Although all the boxes are sold out for the reining events, there are some available for the vaulting competitions. There also will be sky boxes at the new driving stadium.

The creature comforts known as hospitality are part of the revenue stream that is expected to provide an estimated $6.22 million of the $76.4 million budget for the games. Stopping by the World Games tents during Rolex will be sponsors, corporate folks and other Kentuckians, "just so they understand what we're doing," Bennett said.

She also hopes to see people from the several international riding federations who are competing at Rolex this year.

Bennett expects that between 24,000 and 28,000 will buy some part of the hospitality package over the 16-day run of the World Games. Designer Ron Nicynski of Hargrove Designs of New York and Washington, D.C., created the two-fold look of the tents.

On one side was sleek modernist furniture, what he called "New York chic." The other was more of a "Kentucky look" of leather, dark woods and the caramel hues of a good bottle of bourbon.

Hargrove will be working with patrons to design their own signature looks in chalets. "This will give people a sense of the different looks that are possible," Nicynski said.

In other World Games news, Alltech president Pearse Lyons announced a partnership with Southern States, one of the country's largest feed distributors.