Jan 10, 200807:06 PMThe Life
HITS Show Time! Show jumping action returns to Thermal
Circuit includes eight weeks of shows, expanded Grand Prix Schedule and facility enhancements
The HITS Desert Circuit kicked off its 2008 campaign on Wednesday, January 9 with the all new DC Premiere at HITS' state-of-the-art equestrian facility, in Thermal, California.
Exhibitors who passed through the main gate were greeted with almost $500,000 in new landscaping, including spectacular green artificial grass surrounding the berms of the Grand Prix ring.
Amateur rider Katie Cook, who has been a fixture on the HITS Desert Circuit since 1996, was impressed from the second she stepped onto the show grounds. "It looks like there are 1,000 palms trees here," she said. "The trees provide plenty of shade and that is great because its always sunny here."
"The place looks fantastic," said Ringside trainer Jim Dahlquist. "There are trees and flowers everywhere. We are from Oregon so we love being in Thermal. At home, we have a foot of snow on the ground and here it's 75 degrees and sunny. It doesn't get much better than that."
The Oasis VIP Club also has a new look, including added landscaping, a majestic fountain, a state-of-the-art sound system and two plush seating areas for added comfort, just to name a few. Moreover, the most significant change is the addition of renowned chef Ric Orlando. Orlando is the chef and owner of New World Home Cooking Co. in Saugerties, New York. According to Orlando, he is dedicated to making the Oasis Club a unique dining experience for all of its members.
"It's an honor to be in this beautiful desert and to serve my food to the HITS customers," said Orlando. "I relish this opportunity to bring my unique style of cooking to a new audience."
Show jumping at HITS Thermal continues all week during the DC Premiere and will culminate on Sunday, January 13 when accomplished equestrians such as Canadian Olympian John Pearce and the HITS Desert Circuit's all-time leading money winner Richard Spooner shoot it out for the top prize in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. Sunday's Grand Prix is the first of 18 Grand Prix events scheduled for 2008, and is a qualifier for the new season finale--the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday, March 16.
Bart Poels, footing specialist for the 2008 Olympics Games, is at HITS Thermal this week to oversee footing in all rings, with a special focus on the Grand Prix footing.
"It's a great ring," said course designer Jack Robson. "It's a great big space and the footing looks great to me. HITS has some of the finest footing experts in the world working hard to make it perfect."
"The facility looks great," said HITS' Vice President of West Coast Operations, Fred Bauer. "I am confident that the exhibitors that show in Thermal over the next three months will be thoroughly impressed with all of the enhancements."
Also on the calendar for DC Premiere is the HITS Thermal Meet and Greet Exhibitor Mixer on Saturday, January 12. Exhibitors are encouraged to mix and mingle with all of the HITS staff members that are here to assist them with all of their horse show needs. The party starts immediately after the show day ends and will feature free food, music and a cash bar. For a complete list of the seasons out-of-ring activities, please visit www.HitsShows.com
The 2008 HITS Desert Circuit will take a one week hiatus after Sunday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix and return on Tuesday, January 22 with three consecutive weeks of shows, followed by an off week, February 11-17. Then HITS Thermal returns for four consecutive weeks of shows on Tuesday, February 19 and runs until Sunday, March 16 when the first-ever Desert Circuit Championship will close out the season with 17 different championship classes, including the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix of the Desert.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com