By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Competitors from around the country are praising Tulsa for the way it hosted its first Arabian Horse Championship. The two week competition wrapped up over the weekend. And, now clean-up at the fairgrounds is in high gear.
The competition was slated for 1,800 horses, but another 100 equines showed up ready to go. Riders say that's a sign Tulsa knows what it's doing when it comes to hosting a national event.
Martha Murdock's been bringing horses to the nationals her whole life.
"My first nationals I started was in 1966 in Springfield, Illinois. That's the first one I attended," said Martha Murdock.
The main arena, the Pavilion at the fairgrounds is smaller than every other city that's hosted the championships this decade. Murdock says that turned out to be the biggest surprise.
"I loved showing in the Pavilion ring. Because the people could get right close to the rail, and they were so much more a part of the action," said Kentucky trainer Martha Murdock.
Rider Natasha Lesburgueres says the fairgrounds' staff was as friendly as they come, but says there were some security issues early on. She was a theft victim on day one.
"My truck got broken into. My purse got taken," said Natasha Lesburgueres.
But, the biggest gripe is that there was just too much asphalt for the horses.
"More dirt. More dirt is always better," said Martha Murdock.
Competition officials say it's easy to get used to Green Country hospitality.
"Anywhere you go, if you're dressed western or horsey at all, everyone's like you must be with the horse show, we're so glad you're here," said Julie Stewart, national event coordinator.
And, after a great first run, they're excited to be back again next year. The national event will be back for at least two more years.