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Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward to Compete at 2009 HITS Desert Circuit

Thermal, CA - October 7, 2008 - HITS, Inc. will welcome thousands of horses and riders to their eight-week HITS Desert Circuit this winter in Thermal, CA. A new face this year in the High Performance classes will be two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY. The HITS Desert Circuit runs from January 20 to March 22 and includes two major grand prix events each week and four World Cup qualifiers.

Ward has never shown at the new HITS Desert Horse Park and looks forward to making the trip to California this winter. "For me, it's a nice change of pace," Ward said. "I appreciate the efforts that HITS is making and the people they've brought onto their team. Furthermore, for me and the horse dealing business, it's nice to reach out and be in touch with some old contacts and maybe gain some new ones. I think there will be good sport and a well-run event."

Although Ward has not decided which weeks he will attend yet, he hopes to be in Thermal for at least one World Cup qualifier. Ward feels that the HITS Desert Circuit has the best of what horse shows can offer.

"I had some conversations with Tom Struzzieri (HITS CEO and President) this year, and I really think he and his group are trying to go in a little bit of a different direction with their shows," Ward explained. "They are bringing on people in Thermal and hopefully Saugerties to really step up the level and the quality of the shows. Out in Thermal, you have people like Dale Harvey, who have run first-class events. HITS runs their horse shows at the highest level, and I would like to support that."

Ward plans to bring three to four show jumpers to the HITS Desert Circuit. "I'll go out with major horses," he mentioned. "I think it's going to be a great experience."

"I'm very excited that McLain is planning to make Thermal part of his winter show schedule," said Struzzieri. "He's a long-time customer and an exceptional sportsman, so to welcome him to our newest facility is certainly an honor. I also think it's great for the sport and the West Coast riders to have an opportunity to compete alongside McLain. It will be exciting, not only for the high-performance riders but the also the up-and-coming riders."

The 2009 HITS Desert Circuit prize is currently in production and will be mailed in the next two weeks. If you would like more information on the HITS Desert Circuit or to request a prize list, please visit http://www.hitsshows.com.


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.


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


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


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: Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward will compete at the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit. Photo (C) 2008 Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.


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