This is big, really big.
Known for their innovation and true commitment to improving the sport of show jumping in Canada, the folks at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping have just outdone themselves. It is hard to imagine how that is possible when we are already considering one of the most forward thinking and dedicated groups in the sport, but they have done it, and it is going to be good. Very good. Actually, better than good, amazing.
What exactly am I talking about? Well, it has something to do with this:
Okay, enough with being cryptic!
Announced on April 3rd, Rocky Mountain Show Jumping is bringing show jumping back to the heart of Calgary with the launch of the Royal West at Stampede Park. Taking place at the soon to be born Agrium Western Event Centre complex, the show will be modelled after the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto and the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, hence the name, The Royal West.
Here is a look at what the facility will be like when completed:
I won’t get into all the details because you can read them in the full press release, but here is a piece of it:
The brainchild of John Anderson of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, the event, the Royal West, will be a 10-day multi-breed show. It will feature a division for international show jumpers, national hunter/jumper classes, hackney and heavy horse classes, and a multitude of other events including indoor eventing, terrier racing, barrel racing and even mutton-busting – “evenings full of entertainment built around the horse,” according to Anderson. He explains the inspiration behind this project. “I grew up here and made my open jumper debut in 1984 at the Calgary International Spring Horse Show in the Stampede Corral. It was part of an Alberta circuit, and they were really fun events right in downtown Calgary. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” he continued, explaining that riders in the West cannot always travel east to the Royal Winter Fair because of the expense involved. “I would guess that in the last 10 years the competitors from BC and Alberta would number not more than 30 per year.”
The Agrium Western Event Centre complex, which is currently under construction with a projected completion date of June 2014, encompasses 150,000 sq. ft. of agriculture showcase and competition venue. The 250’ x 125’ arena floor is the “largest of its kind in Canada,” said Anderson, and with seating for 2,500, “we can pack the house every night.” Housing for horses includes 400 box stalls immediately adjacent to the arena, plus an additional 1,200 stalls on site, wash bays, a large outdoor covered area, and a 20,000 sq. ft. multipurpose space for warm up, a trade show or exhibition hall.
Max Fritz, director of Agriculture for the Calgary Stampede, told Horse Sport, in a recent interview, “The new Agrium Western Event Centre will solidify Stampede Park as one of the most unique agricultural showcases in the world. It will be a centerpiece for agricultural education, exhibition, and industry in southern Alberta…truly a lasting connection between urban and rural.” “The design of the new Agrium Western Event Centre is attracting the interest of a variety of equine disciplines ” added Fritz.
Now, Horse Junkies, of course I couldn’t leave you with just the press release, that wouldn’t be very much fun. Luckily, living in the Calgary area, I was able to track down the one and only John Anderson, and talk to him directly about this amazing project. Finding him at an indoor show going on at RMSJ, as always, John was more than happy to answer my questions and give us lots of details about how this came about, what exactly will be offered, and more.
A big thank you to John for giving HJU an exclusive interview about the Royal West!
Didn’t that get you even more excited?! Personally, I was interested in the project before talking with him (of course), but was blown away and almost jumping out of my skin afterwards. With that kind of excitement and dedication, you know that will also be instilled into the event itself. It is going to be a gem, an absolutely special event that will not only impact the sport of show jumping in Canada, but also help to continue the mainstreaming of our sport to the public.
For further information as it happens, and lots of other cool things, remember to like RMSJ on Facebook!
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PS- Who is already making plans for October 2014? I am!!