NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The eyes of the show- horse jumping world will be on North Salem this week as the American Gold Cup hits town.
"It's huge. This is a World Cup qualifying event. This is one of 12 on the North American-East coast tour," said Matt Morrissey of Stadium Jumping, the management company, which is producing the event. "You'll see some past and present Olympic champions from the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Venezuela here this week"
More than 700 horses and riders will compete in the event that runs through Sept. 15 at the Old Salem Farm. Putting on an event of this magnitude is a challenging task.
"This is a big thing for us and we're really excited about it," said Alan Beitsch, manager of the Old Salem Farm. "With advertising, permits, marketing, hospitality tents, and set-up, we've spent almost six months planning for
and setting up here."
With more than 10,000 fans from around the world expected to attend, the American Gold Cup will mean a lot of extra green for North Salem over the
"This a big horse town and we're excited to have the event," said North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas. "A lot of the area hotels in Westchester County have filled up. There are lot of people that have a lot of money. Hopefully, they spend it wisely in different areas of town."
Beitsch added that "This will be attended by riders from all over the United States and Europe. Restaurants will be full and there are estimates that it will pump $6 million into the local economy."
Morrissey likens the American Gold Cup to the playoffs in the NFL, MLB and the NBA.
"There will definitely be a post-season feel and intensity to it, " he said. "If riders want to qualify for the World Cup, this is how they get there."
The NBC Sports Network will air the American Gold Cup on Sept. 22 at 4:30 p.m.