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Behind The Headlines of the 2010 WEG Bid




Editor's Note: The following article is being reprinted with permission from Louisville, Ky.'s Business First journal. The article was written by Business First staff writer Sarah Jeffords and ran in the Business First print edition on Jan. 8, 2006.


Sarah Jeffords
Business First Staff Writer

The recent news that the Kentucky Horse Park will host the 2010 World Equestrian Games was a great coup for the state, as the event is expected to bring an estimated $100 million in economic impact plus international exposure.
   

But a deal of that magnitude doesn't come together simply by chance. It took years of behind-the-scenes effort to assemble a winning presentation that persuaded the Federation Equestre Internationale to select Lexington, Ky., over Normandy, France, at the organization's meeting in Bahrain last month.
   

One local attorney had an opportunity to not only witness that history but to play an integral part in making Kentucky the first event host outside of Europe.
   

Tandy Patrick, chairwoman of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission and a member of the Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC law firm was a member of the five-person team that traveled to Bahrain to lobby for the horse park.
   

A Kentucky native and horse owner, Patrick found the experience to be exhilarating, on both a personal and professional level.
   

In 2004, the Louisville resident became involved in the ongoing effort for creating the bid package in 2004, when Gov. Ernie Fletcher asked her to serve as a member of the commission, which governs the state-owned Kentucky Horse Park, located in Lexington.
   

As an attorney, much of Patrick's time was dedicated to ironing out the legal aspects of the bid package and helping secure the $2 million fixed fee that FEI requires in exchange for putting on the event.
   

Patrick worked with state officials to ensure that those funds were guaranteed.
   

She also assisted with the documentation for the two-inch-thick final bid package, which contained detailed information about the proposed budget, how the games will be promoted, merchandise, ticket sales, hotels, airports and more.

Win was a long time coming

The recent bid was the second time the Kentucky Horse Park was in the running as a site for the games, which are held every four years.
   

Although the venue lost the 2006 event to Aachen, Germany, Kentucky representatives were able to take away some valuable advice from the FEI on how to improve its chances in the future.
   

Horse Park representatives and state officials listened to that constructive criticism, Patrick said, working to address immigration concerns, the financing options and a variety of other matters.
   

For example, they worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FEI to ensure that the quarantine process serves its purpose but does not unduly delay the 1,000-plus horses that will enter America to participate in the competition.
   

The Horse Park also made arrangements to have all events on its premises or on neighboring farms, which will enable the event to be held at one venue for the first time, Patrick said.
   

Although that hard work did not go unnoticed, Patrick believes it was not the only reason the Kentucky Horse Park won the bid.
   

She said the passion and the enthusiasm Kentucky has exhibited really hit home with the FEI.
   

The bureau was able to see that the state's attitude was: "We really want you, and we really will go the extra mile and do whatever it takes," she said.
   

That approach, combined with the overall bid package and the fact that the FEI already was interested in branching outside of Europe, made Kentucky the logical winner.
   

Plus, she added, the FEI delegates were impressed with the state's brand, "Unbridled Spirit," not only because it spoke of the horse industry but also because it proved that Kentuckians understand the importance of marketing.
   

"That was instrumental in us winning the bid also because they felt like, 'These people get it,' " Patrick said." 'They know what branding is. They know the significance.' "

Future work includes building facilities, finding sponsors

Now that the Kentucky Horse Park has landed the World Equestrian Games, the work shifts into a new phase.
   

Facilities will need to be expanded, such as the construction of a 250-room hotel, a $35 million indoor arena and a $300,000 temporary outdoor arena.
   

Funding for the indoor arena, which is the most expensive of the three projects, will be included in the 2006 budget proposal that must be approved by the General Assembly, Patrick said.
   

In addition, sponsorships will need to be found, marketing initiatives developed, employment contracts negotiated -- and the list continues.
   

On the flight home, Patrick said, she was wide awake, making lists and charts of all of the things that needed to be done.
   

"I'm very, very organized and obsessive-compulsive," she said with a laugh.
   

Although Patrick will remain involved with the preparations, the majority of that work will be handled by World Games 2010 Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that was formed by Horse Park officials in early December to stage the event.
   

Patrick, who serves as secretary and a director of that entity, said it looks like the organization will have an army of volunteers to help bring the games to fruition as people from across the country already have offered their support.
   

"We've been pleasantly overwhelmed with interest from people who want to be volunteers, sponsors or just involved with this event."

Contact the writer via e-mail at sjeffords@bizjournals.com.

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