Elite horseback riders from around the world compete at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Michigan

Festival poised to grow

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

WILLIAMSBURG, Mich. - Something very special is coming to a close this weekend just outside of Traverse City.

As it ends for this year, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is only scratching the surface of the potential it has in northern Michigan.

Elite riders from around the world have been competing at Flintfields Horse Park since July 4.

Sunday marks the end of the festival and competition.

Prestige and prize money are at stake as an all-star roster of the world’s finest competitors in show jumping fly in from all over the world to make Traverse City the center of the sport for the summer.

While thousands pack stadiums in Europe for competitions, the festival and event is growing at the park and around Traverse City.

The economic impact on the area runs deep -- $125 million was spent in the area last summer, and plans are in the works for stadium seating at the park. The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is poised to grow.

Cody Brown is the marketing director for the festival, and he says the $100,000 Traverse City Grand Prix takes place on Sunday. The show brings the top-level show jumpers to compete for the purse.

Beezie Madden, the current world champion, is on the grounds and ready to compete.

Santiago Lambre from Mexico is here along with Roberto Duran from Argentina, to name three giants in the sport.

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