By Joe Johnson
The third annual James H. Fisher International Grand Prix is changing its event location for this year’s competition; the L.M. Tate Show Grounds in the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve of Blowing Rock was chosen as the new location for the charity-focused Grand Prix, which will occur on September 21 at 2:00 p.m. The past two Grand Prix events were held in Marshall, NC near Asheville.
The Grand Prix is being moved to Blowing Rock this year because of the uniqueness and charm of the community, the deep tradition of horse sports ingrained in the region, the large amount of support for local charities shown by community members, and the availability of the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve as a historic facility perfectly suited to host the Grand Prix event.
This year’s Grand Prix will feature 25 to 30 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 will be competing for a $50,000 grand prize awarded to the Grand Prix champion, the largest purse ever offered for an equestrian event in Blowing Rock. A Calcutta will be held before the competition begins which will provide an opportunity for all premium and general admission ticketholders to “bid” on the riders they hope will win the competition; a week at an elegant international vacation home will be awarded to the highest bidder who selects the winning rider. All proceeds from the Calcutta will go to charities.
The Grand Prix is sponsored by the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation and its chair Jack Fisher, father of the late James H. Fisher. Jack Fisher started the grand prix in 2017 to honor his son’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 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.”
Vick Russell, event manager for the Grand Prix, and Jack Fisher, approached John Vann, Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation board member, with the idea of hosting the Grand Prix in Blowing Rock this year. “I attended the Grand Prix event last year,” said Vann, “It’s the best equestrian event I have ever attended. They have quality horses, a lot of great riders, great food, the whole deal! It will be the biggest equestrian event ever hosted at the Equestrian Center in Blowing Rock. Even though this event is not part of the annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, the objectives of the Fisher Memorial Foundation fit perfectly with our own. We are privileged to host this extraordinary event at the Broyhill Preserve and are working hard to make this an exceptional day to honor the memory James Fisher and his love of show jumping. Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation looks forward to a long relationship with this wonderful event and with the generous Fisher family.”
Festivities for the James H. Fisher International Grand Prix will begin with a luncheon for Premium ticketholders at 11:00 a.m. on September 21, followed by the Calcutta event open to both Premium and General Admission ticketholders. The Grand Prix competition will commence at 2:00 p.m. on September 21.
Tickets are $75 for Premium tickets, which includes a special luncheon, reserved box seating, and valet parking. General Admission tickets are $10 and include Grandstand seating. There will be food and concessions available at the venue as well.