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5th Virginia Equine Extravaganza Attendees Shopped Till the Doors Closed

Richmond, VA: As the 5th annual Equine Extravaganza approached, a tenuous economy caused both show management and exhibitors uncertainty as they awaited the opening gate on October 31st. The question was “How would the economy effect attendance and, more importantly for exhibitors, buying behavior?”

“With John Lyons and Richard Shrake on tap, we expected attendance to be good, but in this economy no one knew what sales would be like. With a sluggish economy and the election not yet decided, attendance at the Oct 31-Nov 2 expo was admittedly uncertain.” said Vicki O’Hara, the producer of Equine Extravaganza, a horse expo held each year in Virginia.

When the gates opened on Friday morning show personnel were greeted with streams of eager horse enthusiasts clamoring for information … and, as it turned out, for deals on merchandise, too! By noon attendees were carrying their first load of loot back to their cars and returning to the show.

“We continued to be optimistic, but with Wall Street woes in the headlines and the down turn in attendance of other recent equine events we just boosted advertising efforts and held our breath a little,” O’Hara explained.

But even this volatile economy couldn’t put a damper on the eager attendees of this year’s event! “It was my best Saturday ever,” said Doug McCrossin of Country Cobbler Company. McCrossin makes quality chaps, handbags, and other custom leather pieces. Young Living Essential Oils had their best show ever. Kegley Trailer Sales sold 8 trailers and was still writing orders at closing time on Sunday amid isles still packed with buying customers.

“We subscribed to the old adage ‘When the economy is good, advertise a lot. When the economy is bad, advertise more.’ Apparently it works! We couldn’t be happier with our 5th Annual Equine Extravaganza,” O’Hara said.

O’Hara feels that the return of “America’s Most Trusted Horseman” John Lyons in combination with the East Coast Trainer Challenge Finals, presented by Alexis Horse Trailers, helped draw serious horse people even in the challenging economy.

In this year’s Trainer Challenge Brock Griffith, Scott Purdum, Aaron ‘Mule’ Thornbrugh and Charles Pellham matched wits with four two-year old geldings from Virginia Sport Horses. The horses were draft crosses, the smallest of which was 16H. Griffith emerged victorious but was followed extremely closely by Purdum.

“All 4 trainers did an exceptional job. Though Brock emerged as the winner, Scott really wowed the audience with his first class obstacle course which one judge called the ‘highlight of the weekend’. Down to the wire I couldn’t have guessed who would win once the judges’ scores were tallied. It was a thrilling competition … easily our best one yet,” exclaimed O’Hara.


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