Jun 22, 2017

USEA Events A-Z: The Event at Archer

The new water complex at The Event at Archer. Allison Murphy Photo.

This week's USEA Events A-Z is a bit different as the Event at Archer is brand new and will be hosting its first USEA recognized horse trial on August 26-27, 2017 at the Archer Equestrian Park a fairground with two large outdoor arenas, 50 covered stalls, 48 uncovered stalls and ample space for trailer and RV parking.

The Event at Archer was born as an idea to create a new exciting event and public cross-country course in Cheyenne, Wyo. We have lost several events in Area IX and we are becoming quite low on options! In the spring of 2016, Windy Wyoming, Mountain States Eventing Association (MSEA) was struggling to gain regular access to their cross-country course in Laramie, due to more stringent Wyoming State Parks and Recreation rules. It occurred to me that we could run an event in Cheyenne with "just a little bit of work." I contacted the county commissioners and we received a 60 acre lease for a very small fee per year and I also contacted James Atkinson, an FEI course designer and course builder extraordinaire, to design and build Archer. James set a fundraising goal for me, and I am well over halfway to that goal!

The initial idea was to move many of the jumps Windy Wyoming had over to Archer and continue to run it as Windy Wyoming. However, that idea was decidedly changed when James and I started talking logistics, the antiquity of the current fences and the creation of a very special 100 percent new and unique event from scratch! As such we have auctioned off the entire Windy Wyoming course as a fundraiser and Area IX as a whole has benefited from the opportunity to buy schooling jumps from Intro to Prelim.

I think The Event at Archer is going to be special because this is going to be an event FOR the competitor. We want the competitors to know, that although there are many events to choose from, we are grateful that the competitors choose to come to Archer. Having talked to several current organizers and successful events around the country, I think that the business model that we have put together and are implementing is going to be unique and very successful. We will offer thank you gifts for each and every competitor, a Revisionist Equestrian Cup for the winners of each division, a great trade fair, and will strive to become a destination event for the West and have tremendous fun on the Wyoming Plains! We have also partnered with The Event At Skyline in sponsoring a series with their fall event and Area Championships, the winners get a sparkly belt buckle!

Some of the unique new jumps at Archer. Allison Murphy Photo.

We hope in the near future to be able to offer two events at Archer, one early summer, one in August. But I think I should get the inaugural show off the ground first!

The county commissioners have been incredibly supportive and excited about a brand new highly visible horse show at the fairgrounds. We have a tremendous amount of generous sponsors and community support. It isn't surprising as Cheyenne is also home to Cheyenne Frontier Days. Our community understands the benefit to businesses and local economic impact with special events.

However, I could not have done this without my fabulous friends and committee members who have supported me and talked me off the cliff when I have been overwhelmed. Melinda Hofmeister for running all things techie, including the website, figuring out Paypal and being a great friend. Tory Poulton for offering to do just about anything during the show and week leading up to it! Vicki Baker for helping with her connections for fundraising and being a terrific trainer to help me reach my riding goals, Deeda Randle for continuing to pat me on the back offering their help and telling me to keep on going. Of course James Atkinson for becoming a trusted advisor for helping me put something tangible to my dreams. Preston Showalter, jump builder, for working hard, building jumps, keeping me real and firmly in a professional organizer roll and pouring beer on me when I get too many big ideas.

This year August 25-27, 2017 will be much like Christmas, we have so much to do yet, with new fences being built almost every day, and in such a short amount of time to be ready for our competitors! However the initial response and growing support from Area IX for the new event, sounds like we will be supporting a huge amount of competitors for our first time out. I am so excited about the new gallop tracks and organizing my first event. We have also contracted some terrific officials that are going to keep me on the straight and narrow.

The arenas at the Archer Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Event at Archer Website.

The wonderful thing about The Event at Archer is that the infrastructure is already in place and they are upgrading and adding to the facility daily, including 140 brand new RV hook ups, there are 58 permanent covered stalls, 48 outside stalls (that will be tented for the show) and the opportunity to have more temporary barns brought in. There are two arenas that will have covered bleachers and a great sound system. The county is also building a brand new HUGE multipurpose building to house indoor events, which might just be the beginning of winter eventing in Area IX to extend our season!

Our cross-country course is about a half-mile hack from the fairground stabling and it is wonderful native prairie on loamy soil. This spring we have had a tremendous amount of moisture and the ground remains spongy and forgiving. The terrain is also very exciting with lovely flat areas to rolling bluffs which will create very fun tracks to gallop. This year, our first year, will offer Intro - Training then we will build Preliminary next year with possibility of Intermediate the following year. Currently we are open for schooling and are building more jumps with our schooling fees. We have a unique water complex and quite a few jumps sets.

This is truly an event for competitors by competitors. Thank you for coming to Archer in 2017!

The USEA is profiling the history behind all USEA recognized events in the USEA Events A­-Z series.

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