Reiner May 2014 : Page 124

FROM OUR CORPORATE PARTNERS STABLE ECONOMY State Fair Park, the venue of choice in OKC. Oklahoma City is committed to providing the best facilities, venues and experiences to riders across the country participat-ing in horse shows hosted in the “Horse Show Capital of the World.” klahoma City is known as the “Horse Show Capital of the World,” with more equine events hosted annually in OKC than any other city in the world. State Fair Park in Oklahoma City is the venue of choice for nearly two dozen top na-tional and world championship horse shows, at-tracting riders from across the nation—and world—each year. The economic impact of those horse shows on Oklahoma City is felt well beyond State Fair Park, and recent investments in equine and other facilities demonstrate that Oklahoma City has every intention of remaining the Horse Show Capital of the World for years to come. In 2005, Oklahoma City citizens voted and ap-proved a 3.5 percent increase to the hotel tax rate, which paid for nearly $2.5 million of im-provements to State Fair Park. New fans and air conditioning for the 70,000-square-foot Cox Pavilion and Performance Arena were added in O Oklahoma City’s world-famous Stockyards City district 2011, as well as a new feed and bedding building near the horse barns. In 2013, a cover was added to the existing 150’ x 400’ outdoor arena. Other improvements to the outdoor arena included enclosing the north end, placing windscreens on the south end, as well as the addition of eight Big Ass Fans and show quality lights and sound. Also included was the creation of covered cattle holding areas complete with misting fans. With the completion of the covered exercise arena project, Oklahoma City has invested more than $95 million in facility improvements at State Fair Park. “We believe we’ve created one of the highest quality equine venues in the world,” said Tim O’Toole, president and CEO of Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. “These facilities, combined with our central location, our spacious grounds and the support of the citizens of Oklahoma City, the local hotel/motel community and the Okla-homa City Convention and Visitors Bureau, make Oklahoma City a premier location for any equine event.” Increased business at State Fair Park means increased visitors in hotels, restaurants, retail es-tablishments and attractions around Oklahoma City, particularly along the Meridian Avenue cor-ridor. This area directly north of the Will Rogers World Airport and just west of State Fair Park has become the go-to area in Oklahoma City for horse show participants. It can often become a home-away-from-home for many participants that are in Oklahoma City for up to 30 days at a time for some shows. “Our front desk knows them by name, their dogs’ names and even what floor they like to stay on when they are in town,” said Debi Newmann, Director of Sales for the Embassy Suites Okla-homa City, one of the approximately 40 hotels in the Meridian Avenue corridor. PHOTO COURTESY OF OKLAHOMA CITY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

Stable Economy

State Fair Park, the venue of choice in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City is committed to providing the best facilities, venues and experiences to riders across the country participating in horse shows hosted in the "Horse Show Capital of the World."

Oklahoma City is known as the "Horse Show Capital of the World," with more equine events hosted annually in OKC than any other city in the world. State Fair Park in Oklahoma City is the venue of choice for nearly two dozen top national and world championship horse shows, attracting riders from across the nation–and world–each year. The economic impact of those horse shows on Oklahoma City is felt well beyond State Fair Park, and recent investments in equine and other facilities demonstrate that Oklahoma City has every intention of remaining the Horse Show Capital of the World for years to come.

In 2005, Oklahoma City citizens voted and approved a 3.5 percent increase to the hotel tax rate, which paid for nearly $2.5 million of improvements to State Fair Park. New fans and air conditioning for the 70,000-square-foot Cox Pavilion and Performance Arena were added in 2011, as well as a new feed and bedding building near the horse barns. In 2013, a cover was added to the existing 150' x 400' outdoor arena. Other improvements to the outdoor arena included enclosing the north end, placing windscreens on the south end, as well as the addition of eight Big Ass Fans and show quality lights and sound. Also included was the creation of covered cattle holding areas complete with misting fans. With the completion of the covered exercise arena project, Oklahoma City has invested more than $95 million in facility improvements at State Fair Park.

"We believe we've created one of the highest quality equine venues in the world," said Tim O'Toole, president and CEO of Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. "These facilities, combined with our central location, our spacious grounds and the support of the citizens of Oklahoma City, the local hotel/motel community and the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, make Oklahoma City a premier location for any equine event."

Increased business at State Fair Park means increased visitors in hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and attractions around Oklahoma City, particularly along the Meridian Avenue corridor. This area directly north of the Will Rogers World Airport and just west of State Fair Park has become the go-to area in Oklahoma City for horse show participants. It can often become a home-away-from-home for many participants that are in Oklahoma City for up to 30 days at a time for some shows.

"Our front desk knows them by name, their dogs' names and even what floor they like to stay on when they are in town," said Debi Newmann, Director of Sales for the Embassy Suites Oklahoma City, one of the approximately 40 hotels in the Meridian Avenue corridor.

After years of hosting horse show guests, the Embassy Suites went through a full interior remodel in 2011, with design elements that showcase their connection to the equine industry. General Manager Eugene Seyler has been with the Embassy Suites for more than 25 years and was an advocate of the tax increase on the hotels that brought the improvements to State Fair Park.

"The best qualities were the relationships built by everyone during the push for improved facilities," said Seyler. "As conversations continued to better the facilities and attract visitors, the horse shows continued to grow."

Another popular spot for horse show guests in Oklahoma City is the historic Stockyards City district, located just two miles southeast of State Fair Park and only two miles west of downtown Oklahoma City. As home of the Oklahoma National Stock Yards, the world's largest stocker-feeder cattle market, the area has offered cowboys, ranchers and other visitors shopping and dining options for more than 100 years. One iconic restaurant that's been a fixture in Stockyards City since 1910 is Cattlemen's Steakhouse.

"Being located in the Stockyards City district is something I hold near and dear to my heart, and one of my favorite parts is seeing familiar faces in my restaurant year after year when groups such as the reiners roll into town," said Dick Stubbs, owner of Cattlemen's Steakhouse. "Myself and others located around the area greatly appreciate and value the business brought into our district during their shows."

The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau (OKC CVB) plays a strategic role in developing a welcoming environment for horse show participants and their families when they visit Oklahoma City. Among other amenities and conveniences, the OKC CVB works with restaurants to offer discounts and coupons to visitors.

"We thoroughly enjoy having more and more horse shows in Oklahoma City year after year," said Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau. "They stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop at our stores and visit our attractions. The equine industry has become a huge part of our community and we love hosting these groups. But more than that, the event producers, association leaders, trainers and riders have become our friends and Oklahoma City has become their home."

The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau values its working relationship with the city to bring in prestigious equine events and create more business for local hotels, restaurants and businesses while here. The OKC CVB knows the importance of consistently moving forward to make improvements and investments in the city to make it a true destination of choice – for the horse show community and every other audience it serves.

Read the full article at http://digitaleditions.sheridan.com/article/Stable+Economy/1697050/206857/article.html.

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