By Frank J. Buchman
Unsurpassed opportunities for horse enthusiasts in Kansas just keep getting better.
It’s the emerald year for the EquiFest of Kansas, as one of the largest trade shows in the Midwest.
Kansas’ Premier All-Breed Horse Fair and Exposition has been growing from every aspect for two decades, that’s 20 years.
“I’d been attending major horse events throughout the country and was especially attracted to the unique horse-related trade shows,” reflected Ann White of Belvue.
“As a director of the Kansas Horse Council, I suggested the possibility of such an event in Kansas as a fund raiser for the council,” said White, head trainer-owner at Vermillion Valley Equine Center.
“The EquiFest of Kansas was a success from day one, and has continued to expand every year,” exclaimed White, who’s serving in her second year as EquiFest manager.
After 18 years, the venue which hosted EquiFest was sold. “The Kansas Horse Council looked statewide for another location and settled at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka,” White said.
“It’s been unbelievable the cooperation everybody at Topeka has given us making last year’s EquiFest the biggest and best ever,” White insisted.
More than 13,000 people from at least 23 states attended the 19th annual EquiFest, which was in Topeka for the first time.
“This year’s 20th anniversary edition of the EquiFest of Kansas, February 24-25-26, at Topeka’s Expocentre will surpass every record we’ve set,” White declared.
To make this come true, all stakes have been pulled out in coordination of the platinum 20th year, from exhibitors, to education to entertainment, and everything in-between, the coordinator assured.
“Already booth space has been sold out with more than 200 exhibitors in 168 booths,” White tallied.
Concerts and dances signify celebration, so a special Kansas EquiFest Dance featuring Dustin Evans and the Good Times Band, with Ned LeDoux as the drummer, is set Friday evening, Feb. 24, climaxing opening day.
Prior to Friday evening’s celebration dance will the Jumper Classic, with a ranch rodeo Saturday night and Sunday afternoon
As one of this country’s leading horsemen, Chris Cox tops the list of clinicians as several times daily he’ll present principles and methods behind his “authentic horsemanship.” Cox also plans to have a booth at EquiFest to offer equipment for sale and provide personal instructional information
Additional clinicians include Michael Heneghan, whose resume includes coaching several Olympic riders; Larry Whitesell, classical gaited training techniques; Madison Shambaugh, training wild mustangs, zebras, showing at liberty; and Paul Humphrey, horsemanship in barrel racing.
More than a dozen different breeds of horses are to be on display. There’ll be draft horse hitch demonstrations, dressage performances and drill team presentations.
Additional attractions include the horse versatility competition, fashion show, and a horseless rodeo and show for children that will coincide with the Kiddy Corral.
There’ll be a workshop room to learn about equine products, health and training. The Kansas State Swinging Spurs are to entertain and teach dance lessons.
EquiFest will open at 9 o’clock on Friday morning, and 8 o’clock both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Doors won’t close ’til completion of each evening’s entertainment highlight.
“You will find everything from tack to trailers, clothing to art, jewelry to boots, and home décor to barn décor, plus concessions, and food trucks. Don’t miss the 20th anniversary EquiFest of Kansas, February24-26, in Topeka,” White invited.
Complete details are at www.equifestofks.com.