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James H. Fisher International Grand Prix on Sept. 21: Major Differences From Past Jumpers At Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show


The long history of horse sports in Blowing Rock will take a giant leap forward at 2:00 PM on September 21, 2019 when the Broyhill Preserve plays host to the third annual James Fisher International Grand Prix. Twenty-five horses and riders from the US and six foreign countries will tackle a challenging course of obstacles in pursuit of $50,000 in prize money. In the 96 years of competitive riding in Blowing Rock, this is the largest purse ever offered.


For 96 years the annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show has featured stellar jumping horse competition. However, on September 21 the history of show jumping in Blowing Rock will take a giant leap.

The $50,000 purse for the James Fisher International Grand Prix demands a more competitive structure to a typical jumping competition. This is the largest purse in the history of show jumping in Blowing Rock.  Twenty-five to thirty International riders and US Grand Prix Champions will compete in this pivotal jumping event. To capture the winner’s share of the purse, the horses and riders must navigate a far more complex course of fences than is typical for jumpers at the Blowing Rock show. Fences will range to almost five feet in height, and the wider obstacles will be as much as 5½ feet deep.

The Fisher Memorial Grand Prix is an invitational only event with competitors, both amateur and professionals, invited on the basis of their winnings, the quality of their horses, and their historic reputation as riders and trainers. Unlike jumping classes at the Blowing Rock show, each rider may only ride one horse. With multiple horses, the early trips around the course often become practice rides for later rounds on a different horse. In the Fisher Memorial Grand Prix, there is only one chance to win. To win, riders must leave all the rails up, complete the course in the time allowed, and survive a jump off against the clock. Stealth, daring, agility, riding skill, and fitness for both horse and rider, along with a little luck, will determine who will take home the winner’s share.

One thing that will be the same as past jumping classes in Blowing Rock will be the appearance of several riders who have won recent first or seconds in main arena at the L.M. Tate Show Grounds. Daniel Geitner a frequent Grand Prix title holder from Aiken, SC, and seasoned brothers Lincoln and Clayton Russell are among the cadre of champions who will compete in Fisher Memorial Grand Prix.

Veteran Blowing Rock rider and trainer Vick Russell of Tryon NC, Grand Prix organizer, said: “We are creating a level playing field for both the amateur and professionals by limiting the competition to a maximum of 30 riders and allowing only one horse per rider. Every horse-rider pair invited to this event will have the skills needed to win.   Plus, as an invitational only event, we know that only the very best riding will take the top prize. That’s what fans will see in Blowing Rock on the 21st.”

All proceeds of a fun-filled Calcutta will benefit two food banks: MANNA in Ashville and Hunger and Health in Boone.

Horses and riders will begin arriving on Friday, September 20. Festivities begin with a luncheon for Premium Ticket holders at 11:00AM, followed by a Calcutta. The competition will begin at 2:00 PM.

By enjoying an afternoon of International Grand Prix Show Jumping you will help fight poverty in Asheville and in Watauga County.

On September 21st, you can help support these important in three ways:

  1. Purchase a $75 Premium ticket which entitles you to on site valet parking, a gourmet luncheon, box seats and the Calcutta. Or:
  2. Purchase a $10 general admission ticket which includes ring side grandstand seats, free parking and the Calcutta
  3. “Bid” aggressively on your favorite rider during the Calcutta

Tickets available on line at www.eventbrite.com .


Pictures from the Blowing Rock Horse Show Grounds: