Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's WEG Time, Baby!

The Alltech World Equestrian Games started this past Saturday and I for one am outta my mind with excitement about it.  I mean, yeah, if you're a horse geek this is kinda like the Olympics crossed with Christmas and the advent of a weight loss pill with no side effects.  Seriously, it's THAT big a deal. 

What makes it an even bigger deal is that I'M GOIN', BABY!!!!!!!!!!!  Yup, no lie, I'm heading to Lexington.   Got me my plane tickets, event tickets, a hotel and a rental car.  That'll be me, the old bag standing on the rail with the 12 year olds as the riders do their course walks. 

I'm going with a barn buddy of mine.  Bless her heart, she's probably going to feel somewhat like the person who holds the balloon during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  I will try my best to tone myself down, but no doubt she will be subjected to incessant babble about the rider, the horses, their histories, yadda yadda yadda. 

My husband dealt with a very similar situation when we went to the World Cup last year.  Poor dude got a bit schnookered with that one.  Presented the trip idea as "How would you like to go to Vegas for your birthday present, and oh by the way, do you mind if we go the week of the World Cup?"  Horses are not his favorite thing (not even close, really) but he was away from home and the office, there were adult beverages and slot machines, so he figured he could put up with some horsey stuff. 

He was actually kinda funny.  Fairly quickly after the start of the competition he began picking out favorites, and some combinations he was not such a fan of.  I'm not sure at which point he began a running ESPN commentary, but he actually had some accurate calls.  "Nope, they're not going to make the oxer, he doesn't have enough speed to get over the back rail" was one of his successful predictions.  "She's so worried about looking pretty she's stiffing her horse in the mouth and doesn't have room to jump. That's gonna catch up to her," was another. 

His favorite horse and rider combo was Irish rider Darragh Kenney on the diminutive Night Train.  Joe's from a blue collar Philly background, and scrappy underdogs of any kind get his vote.  He loved the way that little horse with the intimidating name tried his guts out every round.

The best part was when I asked him if he'd mind getting me something to eat.  I was starving, but didn't want to go because some of my favorite riders were close to their trips.  He looked at me incredulously and tells me, "Do you realize Darragh and Rich (Fellers) are up soon and Beezie (Madden) is about six out??  Can you wait until they're done?  I don't want to miss their rounds."  Whoops, created a bit of a monster, didn't I?

I'm looking forward to seeing some more amazing show jumping in Kentucky.  Am also excited about spending time touring some of the bourbon production facilities -- just as a Quality Assurance thing, really, to make sure they're as good as everyone says they are.  I'm also planning to meet up with an industry colleague from Kentucky who is involved in Thoroughbred racing.  He's going to attend the opening of the Keeneland fall race meet and suggested I come along to see some of the behind the scenes stuff tourists normally don't have access to.

I'm fairly confident this trip will result in a big old dent in the credit card.  I've got some of my favorite vendors' booth nmbers marked down in my calendar.  There are a few hospitality receptions being held where I'm sure my purchasing power will be of vital importance.  I'll have to drink a lot of free booze to offset what I spend, don't you think??  Maybe I should call and warn them to set a little extra aside, just in case...

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