Horse show will return to Oklahoma City

Sunday, October 9th 2005, 11:56 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Officials with a horse show that brings an estimated $11 million impact to Oklahoma City agreed to renew its contract with the city, less than a year after voters approved a hotel tax increase to upgrade the horse barns at State Fair Park.

The Morgan Horse Association has extended its contract with the city through 2012.

``We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with everyone here in Oklahoma City, including the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, State Fair Park management and the local hotels and restaurants,'' said Jim Stewart, show chairman for the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show.

The 2005 show began Saturday and runs through Oct. 15.

The hotel tax approved in December will pay for $55 million of renovations that organizers say will make State Fair Park the premier site in the nation for horse shows.

After the tax increase passed, the American Quarter Horse Association and the U.S. Team Roping Championships announced plans to stay in the city through 2015 and 2009, respectively.

The Morgan Horse show brings more than $11 million to the local economy each year, chamber officials say. The three shows have an economic impact of more than $100 million, according to a 2004 consultant study paid for by the chamber.

``It just goes to show you that good things come when you make significant community investments in a very strategic manner,'' said Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. ``It shows the public that our message to them was credible. What we are trying to do at the fair is exactly what the market out there wants and needs.''

All Sports Stadium was demolished this summer and turned into a parking lot. Workers also removed the monorail tracks from around fair park over the summer. Work is under way on a new warm-up arena, scheduled for completion next month.