“A new location with new leadership to be bigger, better, more of everything good for everybody horsey.”
The 19th annual EquiFest of Kansas is scheduled at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, February 26-27-28, featuring the state’s largest equine trade show, world-class horse clinicians, presentation of many horse breeds, special demonstrations of equine talents, educational seminars and entertainment, according to Ann White, EquiFest of Kansas manager.
“EquiFest originated in 1997, when the Kansas Horse Council (KHC) saw an opportunity to bring equine enthusiasts together for a weekend of all types of horse activities,” explained White, longstanding KHC member. “It has since served as the main fundraiser for KHC’s educational programs, promotions and public policy advocacy.”
After 18 years of success at the Wichita Pavilions, that facility changed directions, and EquiFest officials were forced to relocate. Consideration was given to several venues in Kansas, before it was decided to move to the Kansas Expocentre at Topeka.
“The response from people about our move to Topeka has been overwhelming,” White said. “The city recognized the economic impact of hosting such a great event and has been extremely helpful in our transition.”
White has been working with Visit Topeka, the Kansas Expocentre, the Capitol Plaza and Kansas Radio Networks in coordinating EquiFest’s new location.
“Interest has been so great that we have already sold out of vendor space in Exhibition Hall,” White said. “We only have a few spots left in the Purina Mall of EquiFest, which is in the Manor Conference Center.”
Attendance is expected to be more than 15,000 people representing a wide range of disciplines and age groups from throughout the Midwest.
“I’m excited to have live feed TV screens, so those in attendance can view the programs taking place in the arenas right at the Mall of EquiFest,” White said.
In the Farris Law Firm Jumper Classic, horses compete over a course of high obstacles, with the horse going through the course in the fastest time and the least faults being named the champion.
Premier Farm and Home Top Horse of Kansas competition will be a special highlight featuring five divisions: ranch horse, jumping, mounted shooting, stock horse, and freestyle.
The Flint Hills Art Gallery is to display original art for sale including paintings, photography, wood carvings, sculptures and more.
“A fashion show will offer guests an opportunity to view the latest in equine fashion and purchase outfits for the barn, the show ring or a night out,” White said.
“Bring the kids to participate in the Horseless Horse Show, where they can rope cattle dummies, jump mini courses on foot, and run barrels with a stick horse,” she invited.
Returning to EquiFest are two nights of Prairie Band Casino’s Ranch Rodeo, the FFA horse judging contest, mounted shooting, trick riders, driving hitches, the KHC Council Foundation Silent Auction, Farm Bureau and Happy Toys Kiddie Corral.
“EquiFest will also be hosting food trucks and offering a variety of tasty foods,” White informed.
An elite lineup of horse clinicians has been scheduled for EquiFest of Kansas 2016.
Headline clinician, according to White, is Dan James, who was born in Queensland, Australia, and began his lifelong passion with horses at a young age. In 2008, James was recognized as a world class colt trainer when he won the “Way of the Horse” at Equitana Asia Pacific. In 2012, James wowed judges again with his incredible training techniques, winning the coveted Road to the Horse International Colt Starting World Championship.
“James continues to push the limits of horsemanship and entertainment with eye-opening clinics and exhilarating performances,” White said.
Yvonne Barteau, Maple Park, Illinois, has trained a dozen horses to the Grand Prix level and students, and horses trained by her have won a multitude of regional, national and Horse of the Year awards at all levels. A lifetime horsewoman, Barteau has worked with race horses, Western riding, hunters, jumpers, Equine Theater Productions, and has written several equine-related books.
Sharon Camarillo is an accomplished horsewoman, specializing in barrel racing. She is a businesswoman recognized by the Western and English Manufacturers Association as an innovator throughout the industry.
A multi-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, intercollegiate and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association champion and acclaimed book writer, Camarillo was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and recognized as the recipient of the “Tad Lucas” award for her multi-faceted career.
Diane Carney, Chicago, has been showing and teaching professionally for more than 35 years, successfully exhibiting hunters and jumpers. Hosting and teaching riding clinics around the United States, Carney has been coordinator for the George H. Morris Riding Clinic in Chicago for more than 25 years.
Discipline with a sense of humor has been the phrase most often used to describe Carney. Hard work with a positive outcome is the goal in Carnet’s teaching philosophy.
NRHA Hall of Fame $2 Million rider Tim McQuay along with his wife Colleen own and operate McQuay Stables, a state-of-the-art reining, hunter and jumper training and breeding facility in Tioga, Texas.
McQuay has won every major reining event at least once, earning paychecks on more than 250 horses. Known for his uncanny ability to assess and develop breeding stallions and their offspring, McQuay owned and managed two of the most iconic stallions in the reining industry, Hollywood Dun It and Gunner.
EquiFest doors open Friday morning, Feb. 26, at 9 o’clock, and at 8 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Feb. 27 and 28. Doors close following the evening entertainment Friday and Saturday, and EquiFest of Kansas 2016 ends at 5 o’clock, Sunday afternoon.
Passes will be available at the door daily, with discounts for purchasing weekend passes, plus lower rates for youth, six to 12, and children under five are to be admitted free.
“Daily and weekend tickets include all clinics, demonstrations, evening entertainment and lectures. Seating is open, so it’ll be first come, first served,” White said.
Details can be found at www.equifestofks.com, or interested persons can follow EquiFest on Facebook and Twitter.