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HITS, Inc. Announces Updates on Improvements to Thermal Facility

Thermal, CA - October 30, 2008 - HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce its latest updates on the improvements happening at the HITS Desert Horse Park for the upcoming season. The site will hold the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit, an eight week circuit of horse shows held from January 20 to March 22. HITS has worked with a committee of horse owners, riders, and trainers that compete at the HITS Desert Circuit to improve their facility and give competitors a way to voice their opinions and concerns. Many improvements have been made since last year's show.

One of the most exciting changes to this year's program are the scheduling changes. These include new classes to be featured in the indoor ring in addition to the four World Cup qualifying grand prix events. These new, special classes will bring excitement and fun to the schedule and give riders outside of the High Performance division a chance to compete in the indoor ring.

A total of 16 grand prix events will be held during the eight week circuit, including the four World Cup qualifiers. The season finale for High Performance riders is the $150,000 grand prix in week eight. In addition to these grand prix classes, the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Classic will return for junior riders, and the highlight for hunters will be two installments of the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

By having regular conference calls with the committee, HITS has been able to prioritize changes and improvements to the horse show grounds themselves. These include berms placed across the property for wind protection. One berm has been built around the perimeter of the west side of the property. Another is nearing completion in the RV park. The berm between hunter rings 1 and 2 is nearly complete. This new area will house a second VIP area overlooking the hunter rings, and credentials from the main VIP Club will provide access to the Hunter VIP tent as well. The new hunter VIP tent will offer continental breakfast and beverage service, while the Oasis Club will continue to offer a full breakfast and lunch service Wednesday through Sunday.

Due to the new berm between the rings, the lights posts and road have been moved to improve traffic flow. All of the berms that are between hunter rings will be given new grass landscaping to match the grand prix ring berm. In addition to artificial grass surrounding the hunter berms, other landscaping projects are underway for the season. The trees and flowers that were planted over the past two seasons have started to mature and are making the HITS Desert Horse Park bloom beautifully.

Hunter riders will be pleased to know that the footing has been updated in hunter rings 1 and 2. The new footing that was installed matches what was used in the grand prix and indoor rings in 2008, to rave reviews.

The VIP Oasis Club will have wind protection as well this coming year since the north and west sides of the building have been enclosed. HITS has worked with the same builder who designed the club, and it will include windows on the west side so that occupants will be able to view hunter ring 1 as well.

New booths for in-gate personnel are currently being built for every show ring. This will help with organization and safety at the rings.

For those competing in the High Performance divisions, new entry procedures have been implemented. The adjusted policies for nominating High Performances horses no longer have penalties for late nominations or changing nominations. Full details on all the entry policies and the new schedules are available in the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit Prize list.

The new temporary stalls and new tents have arrived on the grounds and will be installed and ready for the 2009 circuit. These 2,400 new stalls feature wood and steel dividers and were very popular when they debuted this summer at HITS Saugerties.

Course Decorator Flora Baptiston has been hired for the 2009 circuit. Baptiston was the course decorator at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Hong Kong. She will decorate all of the rings, with a special emphasis on updating the look for the hunter rings. Joining her in the ring for set-up will be a new roster of some of the best course designers from around the world who will bring a new energy and style to the courses in Thermal.

Rudy Leone, owner of Leone Equestrian Inc. in Sacramento, CA, has been a longtime participant at the HITS Desert Circuit in California. He was asked to be a member of the exhibitor committee and has been helpful in bringing exhibitors' suggestions to the HITS management. "I'm on the side of the equestrian industry," he said. "Horse shows don't happen without exhibitors, and they can't be run without managers. I feel that I can try to help both sides. I have been an exhibitor in this country for over 35 years, and I have run shows myself."

Leone feels that the good suggestions that have been brought to the attention of HITS have been acknowledged and improved at the HITS Desert Circuit. "I feel that all of things that were asked for have been made better. How much better can it get? I'm looking forward to showing in Thermal this year," he commented.

HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce as well that the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit prize list was mailed out on Thursday, October 23. It is currently available online at http://www.HitsShows.com.

For further information and to view the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit prize list, please visit http://www.HitsShows.com.



HITS DESERT CIRCUIT FAST FACTS

EVENT: HITS Desert Circuit

WHEN: Tuesday through Sunday, January 20-March 22, 2009

DC I, January 20-25

DC II, January 27 - February 1, CSI-W

DC III, February 3-8, CSI-W

OFF-WEEK, February 9-15

DC IV, February 17-22, CSI-W

DC V, February 24 - March 1

DC VI, March 3-8, CSI-W

DC VII, March 10-15

DC VIII, March 17-22

WHAT: Eight-week hunter/jumper horse show circuit produced by HITS, Inc.

WHERE: HITS Desert Horse Park, 85-555 Airport Blvd., Thermal, CA 92274. The HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California is located just southeast of Palm Springs and is close to many of the area's finest restaurants, spas, hotels and world-class golf courses.

HOURS: 8 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m.

DIRECTIONS:

From points West: From I-10 E. Keep RIGHT to take CA-86 Spur S toward Brawley / El Centro. 6.5 miles. Turn RIGHT onto Airport Blvd. 2.2 miles. End at 85-555 Airport Blvd.

From points East: From I-10 W. Take the Dillon Rd exit toward CA-86S Expressway / Coachella. 0.2 miles. Turn LEFT onto Dillon Rd. 0.7 miles. Turn LEFT to take the CA-86S-Expressway S ramp. 0.2 miles, Merge onto CA-86 Spur S. 5.2 miles Turn RIGHT onto Airport Blvd. 2.2 miles. End at

85-555 Airport Blvd.

PARKING: Parking is free.

ADMISSION: No admission charge Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday admission is $5 per person, children under 12 are free.

SHOW GROUNDS: 13 all-weather hunter, jumper and equitation rings located on 239 acres.

CLASSES: Approximately 250 classes take place each week including multiple Grand Prix classes throughout the week.

ATTENDANCE: Approximately 3,500 horses and 10,500 horsemen are on the grounds, and more than 25,000 spectators attend during the eight-week event.

PRIZE MONEY: More than $2 million

VIP SEATING: The Oasis Club Pavilion is at the Grand Prix ring for VIP seating, and a new VIP area will be added to the berm between the Main Hunter ring and Hunter 1. VIP parking is also available.

FOOD: Prepared and served by HITS food service personnel, a complete and diverse menu of food and beverages is available at three locations on the show grounds every show day.

SHOPPING: The Desert Marketplace located near the Grand Prix arena features dozens of shops offering quality equestrian gear, apparel, jewelry, videos and more.

ECONOMIC IMPACT: Based on an independent study commissioned by HITS from Sport Management Research Institute of Weston, Florida, the total economic impact produced by the Thermal Desert Circuit equates to $121,734,061 per year.

IN BRIEF: HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter-jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York, and Virginia.

ON-SITE SCHOOL: For information on HITS' School Station please contact Mary Cunning 802.318.6924or mycunning@msn.com or schoolstation@msn.com

HITS DESERT HORSE PARK:

Important - use this contact information only during the horse show.

HITS Desert Horse Park

85-555 Airport Blvd.

Thermal, CA 92274

Phone: 760.399.9200

HITS, INC.

319 Main St.

Saugerties, NY 12477

Phone: 845.246.8833

Fax: 845.246.6371

E-mail: info@HitsShows.com

Web site: http://www.HitsShows.com



Photo Credit: Professional show jumper Jill Humphrey, rider for Leone Equestrian Inc., competes at the HITS Desert Circuit. Photo (C) Flying Horse Photography. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.

 

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