After making their Olympic debuts in London this week, Tiffany Foster and Rich Fellers are headed to Thunderbird Show Park for the $100,000 Canaccord Genuity World Cup on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The event will wrap up the richest August weeks of show jumping in Western Canada and close out the season for the park.
"We've hosted many Olympic athletes over the years, but this will be the first time they've come straight from the Games to our tournament," noted Thunderbird Show Park president Jane Tidball. "We had our fingers crossed for Tiffany Foster, Eric Lamaze and Jill Henselwood on the Canadian team, who have all been competitors at Thunderbird, as well as Rich Fellers from the U.S."
The Summer Fort Festival gets underway Aug. 15 with Foster and Fellers arriving on the 23rd. It will mark the first competition for the pair since London and is sure to draw spectators from across the Northwest.
Foster's Olympic dream was cut short due to an early disqualification for her horse, Victor, but she'll be ready to ride for FEI points and a share of the prize money in the World Cup next Sunday.
For Fellers, a trip to Thunderbird is part of his regular summer show season. Aboard Flexible, he's usually the one to beat and this year will be no different. At 16, this was the first and last Olympic bid for the Irish Sport Horse stallion as he will be past competition age for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but Flexible has his place in the record books.
The pair earned the 2012 World Cup finals title earlier this year, the first time in 25 years for the U.S.
Joining this year's Olympians will be a number of Park regulars and new faces. Local riders Samantha Buirs and Brian Morton, Ireland's Jennifer Crooks and Calgary's Tani Zeidler will be in the order, alongside Egypt's Nayel Nassar.
Currently a student at Stanford, Nassar is making the trip north after a breakout year in North America that included a win over the U.S.'s Beezie Madden in Spruce Meadows just a month ago.
"It's exciting to have new riders on the grounds," Tidball said. "Our facility is very much like a family and we love that the next generation of competitors have the opportunity to test themselves against some of the best in the world."
Competition at Thunderbird Show Park runs daily, except for Aug. 20 and 21.
Thunderbird hosts more than 1,500 horse/rider teams over the two-week tournament in hunter and jumper classes.
Admission is free daily, and $10 per car-load for the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Grand Prix and the Canaccord Genuity World Cup.
The full Grand Prix schedule features:
. The $10,000 Maui Jim Classic - Aug. 15 at 5 p.m.
. The $50,000 Dianne Tidball Legacy Grand Prix - Aug. 17 at 5 p.m.
. The $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby - Aug. 18 at 4 p.m.
. The $53,000 Keg Steakhouse & Bar Grand Prix - Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.
. The $10,000 Facet Advisors Welcome Classic - Aug. 22 at 5 p.m.
. The $32,000 Tommy Bahama Grand Prix - Aug. 24 at 5 p.m.
. The $100,000 Canaccord Genuity World Cup - Aug. 26 at 1: 30 p.m.
Thunderbird Show Park remains a family business and was named second only to Spruce Meadows of all equestrian facilities on the continent by the North American Riders Group in February.
"Our vision is to showcase every aspect of our sport, from short stirrup to World Cup events on our crowning glory - one of the best jumping fields in North America," Tidball said. "We celebrate the horse, strive for excellent competition in all breeds and disciplines, and throw in a whole lot of West Coast hospitality."
The equestrian industry contributes approximately $771 million annually to the British Columbia economy, of which Thunderbird Show Park plays a significant role.
The 2012 season, which included two World Cup classes, offered the largest annual prizing in their history, at more than $800,000.
Visit www.tbird.ca for more information on the Thunderbird Show Park or like the facility on Facebook.com/thunderbirdshowpark for all the latest news and updates.
In its 39th season, Thunderbird is hosting seven major tournaments between May and August, welcoming thousands of competitors and spectators to its 85acre equestrian show grounds in Langley.
Each tournament features both amateur and professional riders in hunter and jumper classes from Wednesday to Sunday.
The park is open daily to the public with grandstand seating around the Fort Grand Prix Field.
Visit www.tbird.ca for more information and the full season schedule.
@ Copyright 2013