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.
This year’s Grand Prix will feature 25 riders competing in the event representing various countries from across the globe; world cup riders from Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Germany were handpicked as competitors for this year’s Grand Prix due to their qualities of character and reputations for being respectable horsemen. Riders can bring as many horses as they wish, but can only ride one horse in the competition. Scoring is simple. The rail is up, the rail is down, and the clock determines the winner.
Sponsored by the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation under the direction of Jack Fisher and his family, this event was begun three years ago to honor the memory of their son and brother, a nationally recognized jumper rider. The Fisher family started the grand prix in 2017 to honor James H. Fisher’s legacy with a charitable service to the community at large. All proceeds from the third annual Grand Prix will go toward the MANNA Food Bank in Asheville and the Hunger & Health Coalition of Boone. “We decided to expand the outreach because we were kind of limited at our previous location,” said Jack Fisher, “We just didn’t have enough room at the location for the number of people who typically attend. Working with the good folks in the Blowing Rock Committee we made arrangements to come to Blowing Rock to put on this year’s event. We are grateful to the Town of Blowing Rock and to the Horse Show Foundation for their kind and enthusiastic reception. This is going to be a grand event with some of the finest show jumpers in the country competing at the highest level. My family and I look forward to many years of spectacular show jumping here in Blowing Rock and many years of helping stock the food pantries for those in need throughout Western North Carolina.”
Over the course of the afternoon’s competition, one horse/rider partnership will emerge to claim the winner’s share of the purse. In the end, however, the real beneficiaries of this thrilling afternoon will be those families in Western North Carolina with food and medical insecurities. A Calcutta held before the event will add excitement as fans “bid” on the riders they hope will win. The highest bidder who chooses the winner will receive use of a lavish Caribbean vacation home. One-Hundred percent of the Calcutta proceeds will support MANNA in Asheville and the Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone.
The need is far greater than expected in the High Country where most people seem prosperous and where there are clear signs of a booming economy. Watauga County citizens enjoy majestic mountains, historic National Parks, and breath-taking sunsets, but lurking just below the surface of this idyllic mountain enclave lies the third poorest country in the state. The average annual household income in Watauga is $32,431. Eighteen percent of women live below the federal poverty line. More than half of the county’s population lives in rural areas, often in multi-generational households. Many rely on seasonal work in tourism and agriculture to survive. Low income residents in both Watauga and Buncombe Counties often must make the choice between providing housing, utilities, or food for their families. The Hunger and Health Coalition exists to protect food and medication insecure citizens from being without hope, particularly during times of hardship. The families who use these programs save, on average, $340 monthly on the cost of food and medicine. These savings prevent many families from sliding deeper into poverty. Those most vulnerable in the community are able to come to MANNA and the Hunger and Health Coalition for emergency relief and support. In Watauga and Buncombe County, these programs are founded on the idea that no one should have to choose between housing, hunger, or health.
Executive Director of the Hunger and Health Coalition, Elizabeth Young, shares that “we are so deeply honored to partner with the Fisher family and all attendees of the Grand Prix to fight hunger in the High Country. It is our mission to ensure that everyone in the High Country has access to healthy foods and life-sustaining medications and each dollar raised will allow us to purchase $5 worth of nutritious foods for our neighbors in need! This incredible event is helping our team to not only meet immediate and emergency needs but also create paths for better long-term health outcomes and for that we will be forever grateful.”
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:
- Purchase a $75 Premium ticket which entitles you to on site valet parking, a gourmet luncheon, box seats and the Calcutta. Or:
- Purchase a $10 general admission ticket which includes ring side grandstand seats, free parking and the Calcutta
- “Bid” aggressively on your favorite rider during the Calcutta
11:00 AM—Grounds Open
11:30 AM—Lunch and Food Trucks
12:30 AM—Calcutta Auction of riders
2:00 PM—First Horse on Course
Tickets are available online at: www.jhfisherfdn.eventbrite.com.