Media were treated to a ride-on tour of the new International Ring Terrace. Photo by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB – The 2016 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5* hosted its opening festivities on Tuesday, September 6, as the world’s top show jumping competitors prepare to compete in Calgary this week. The ‘Masters’ Tournament runs September 7-11, 2016, featuring the best horses and riders in the world competing in Spruce Meadows’ famed International Ring.
To kick off the tournament, national and international media were invited to a special luncheon on Tuesday afternoon, joined by top competitors, as well as Spruce Meadows staff and corporate supporters. The annual Media Day celebrated Spruce Meadows in its 41st year of competition and launched this week’s world-class event.
Highlights from the ‘Masters’ Tournament include Friday’s Mercedes-Benz Evening of the Horse, which hosts the exciting ATCO Six Bar competition; Saturday features the BMO Nations’ Cup, with teams from around the world competing for top honors; and Sunday highlights the CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, with a staggering $2 million in prize money up for grabs in this year’s event.
Welcoming athletes to the 2016 tournament, Spruce Meadows President Linda Southern Heathcott stated, “I want to thank our athletes for the singular honor of coming to the ‘Masters’. You have many choices of where to compete in the world, and we are very humbled that you have chosen to come to Calgary. So many of our athletes are near and dear to us, and it is our honor to welcome you.”
Heathcott also thanked the wonderful corporate partners that support Spruce Meadows each year, noting, “We are so proud that we have so many relationships with our corporates that date back 40 years, and that is thanks to the relationships that my mother and father built. They are relationships built on trust and respect, and it is our honor that they continue with us. They have provided a great venue for our athletes, and they have also provided a great venue for our fans.”
Southern Heathcott continued, “Together with our corporates, we have ensured that the access to Spruce Meadows is for everyone. There are not many places in the world that you can go for $5 and bring your family. You don’t have to be a fan of show jumping. You can enjoy the Prairie Dogs, or the Pet Fair, or great shopping, and also just enjoy our park-like setting. We thank our corporates for helping us to open Spruce Meadows to the public, whether it is people from Calgary, or Canada, or international fans. They get to experience the pageantry and tradition of our honor guards, as well as the great sport of our athletes, and a wonderful venue. We thank all of the people that have participated in making Spruce Meadows a very special and unique place.”
In this year’s highlight competition, the 2016 edition of the BMO Nations’ Cup has all the ingredients to be an all-time best. The starting field features the entire medal podium from team show jumping at the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as France, USA, and Germany will all compete. The reigning World and European Champions (NED), the defending BMO Nations’ Cup Champions (BRA), the Pan American Gold Medal Team (CAN), 10-time BMO Nations’ Cup winners (GBR), as well as the always competitive Swiss, Belgium, and Mexican teams will all contest top honors.
The biggest Grand Prix in the sport with an increase to $2 million in prize money this year, the CP ‘International’ is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping and offers the sport’s biggest, most technical, and demanding test. A year ago it was Scott Brash (GBR) who jumped to victory and secured the coveted Rolex Grand Slam for the first time in history. Brash now returns in 2016 to defend his title in the Grand Prix. Both Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Philipp Weishaupt (GER) will also be competing for added bonus rewards as a result of their respective victories this year in Geneva and Aachen.
Outside of the tournament ring, the ‘Masters’ is sure to delight the more than 200,000 fans that are expected over the five days of events. There is plenty to see and do for fans of all ages. The Equi-Fair, Pet Fair, and shopping in the Plaza and the Gallery on the Green offer a world of entertainment, food, and fun. Not to be missed are the sights and sounds in Founders Plaza and the splendor of the all new International Ring Terrace, which is open to the public for a fantastic vantage point of the week’s competition.
The ‘Masters’ Tournament begins on Wednesday, September 7, with the Telus Cup 1.50m followed by the Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m. For a complete tournament schedule, visit the Spruce Meadows website at www.sprucemeadows.com.
Spruce Meadows Media Services