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The World Equestrian Games in 2010 will take place nearly 60 miles away at the Kentucky Horse Park, but U. S. Equestrian Federation CEO John Long said Shelby County can expect to reap economic and public relations benefits.
"People will be coming here from all over the world to look at property, to look at horses, to look at your wonderful downtown with all of the antique windows," Long said. "We can showcase the beauty of the county. It's an opportunity to do literally whatever we want to do."
Long was speaking at the Jubilee kickoff breakfast at Undulata Farm Thursday morning. The event, put on by the Shelby Development Corporation, has been the starting gun for the Jubilee events taking place downtown this weekend. (See box). It is also the prelude to the Shelbyville Horse Show, which begins Wednesday, July 30.
Long, who lives in Shelby County, said his job as overseer of the equestrian games will be to "produce the games at the highest technical, artistic and competitive level and showcase Kentucky and make the Kentucky Horse Park preeminent in the world of equestrian competition."
The games have a budget of about $70 million, Long said, and he hopes that ticket sales and sponsorships will leave about a $2 million profit for the park. Included in the budget is a $40 million-indoor arena that has already been booked for major equestrian competitions after the 2010 games.
Long also said the 2010 games will have a 100,000-square-foot area to showcase Kentucky, including re-creations of a portion of the Corvette Museum and the Land Between the Lakes, equine exhibits and exhibits from the state's distillers.
The World Equestrian Games have never before been held outside Europe. Long said the event will likely attract 250 million television viewers. Long said NBC has set aside six hours of programming for what the network calls the largest sporting event in 2010. About 6,000 volunteers have already signed on to work the event and more are needed, he said.
"There are plenty of opportunities for anyone with a passion for horses," Long said.
Long said the event will give Kentuckians a chance to overcome the inferiority complex some have about the state.
"When the games are over, people will say to themselves 'We did it, we pulled this off.'"
Friday/Saturday, July 24-25 - Youth art show at City Hall
Friday, July 25:
Jubilee saddlebred duck race 11 a.m. at Red Orchard Park
Downtown arts walk 4-8 p.m.Various locations
Street Party concert, 6 p.m. at 627 Main Street
Concert Chalk Walk, 6 p.m. at 627 Main Street
Saturday, July 26
Mare-A-Thon run/walk 8 a.m. Shelby County Fairgrounds
Downtown business sidewalk sale 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Chalk walk, 11 a.m. Shelby County Courthouse steps
Lewis Mathis street party concert at noon in Veteran's Park
Custom car show 6-10 p.m. between 7th and 4th streets. (Main Street will be closed for the show)
Leo and the Moonlighters street party concert in Veteran's Park, 7 p.m.