RHINEBECK, NY (March 2, 2000)--Horse Shows In the Sun, Inc. (HITS), producer of six world class hunter/jumper horse show circuits nationwide, has announced that HITS Catskills, a five-event summer series of horse shows in Ellenville, New York, will offer a $100,000 Grand Prix every Sunday in 2001.
HITS Catskills experienced an increase in exhibitors last year--the biggest increase in attendance of all the HITS show circuits--stabling from 1,500 to 2,000 horses each week. "HITS Catskills is a great cross-section of the people involved in the sport," said Tom Struzzieri, owner and president of HITS. "This series appeals to all different types of exhibitors--from the family who brings one child on a pony to Olympians on their Grand Prix horses. Three members of the 2000 Olympic team competed at HITS Catskills last year just before the Sydney Olympic Games. The majority of the East Coast's top show jumpers compete at these shows. It is appropriate for HITS to respond to this type of participation by offering high stakes prize money. We also are working to build a stronger spectator base. By establishing a show with top level prize money and riders, we expect to attract additional attention to the show and to the sport." The increase in the Grand Prix prize money now puts HITS Catskills total prize money at over $1,000,000.
From May to September, each of the five shows will run for five consecutive days and offer 250 hunter, jumper and equitation classes every week. Up to eight rings are in action simultaneously. Kicking off the season is HITS Catskills I, May 23-27, featuring the $100,000 EMO GRAND PRIX. After a three-day intermission, HITS Catskills II goes into action from May 30-June 3, with the finale $100,000 HITS GRAND PRIX closing out the show. Horses return to the show grounds seven weeks later for HITS Catskills III July 25-July 29 featuring the $100,000 COSEQUIN GRAND PRIX. HITS Catskills IV--the New York Horse and Pony Show, starts three days later, August 1-5, and showcases the $100,000 HITS GRAND PRIX. Following a three-week break, competition resumes with the final event in the summer series, HITS Catskills V, August 29-September 2, which features the $100,000 RIO VISTA GRAND PRIX.
This is the sixth consecutive year that HITS has produced the Catskills series of horse shows at the 70-acre Kelly Farm in upstate New York. Each year, HITS has enhanced and improved the grounds. Extensive plans to upgrade the show grounds for the coming season are currently underway. The planned changes are both cosmetic and structural. Immediate plans are to re-configure the ring set-up, improve the roads, parking and tent pads, install a permanent lunging area, and put in an additional well.