BLOWING ROCK — The long history of horse sports in Blowing Rock will take a giant leap forward at 2 p.m. on Sept. 21, when the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve plays host to the third annual James Fisher International Grand Prix.

Twenty-five horses and riders from the US and six foreign countries will tackle a challenging course of obstacles in pursuit of $50,000 in prize money. In the 96 years of competitive riding in Blowing Rock, this is the largest purse ever offered.

Sponsored by the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation under the direction of Jack Fisher and his family, the event begun three years ago to honor the memory of their son and brother, a nationally recognized jumper rider who passed away in January 2018.

“We are grateful to the Town of Blowing Rock and to the Horse Show Foundation for their kind and enthusiastic reception,” said Fisher. “This is going to be a grand event with some of the finest show jumpers in the country competing at the highest level. My family and I look forward to many years of spectacular show jumping here in Blowing Rock and many years of helping stock the food pantries for those in need throughout Western North Carolina.”

Over the course of the afternoon’s competition, one horse/rider partnership will emerge to claim the winner’s share of the purse. In the end, however, the real beneficiaries of this thrilling afternoon will be those families in Western North Carolina with food and medical insecurities.

A Calcutta held before the event will add excitement as fans “bid” on the riders they hope will win. The highest bidder who chooses the winner will receive use of a Caribbean vacation home. One hundred percent of the Calcutta proceeds will support MANNA in Asheville and the Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone.

The Hunger and Health Coalition exists to protect food and medication insecure citizens from being without hope, particularly during times of hardship. The families who use these programs save, on average, $340 monthly on the cost of food and medicine. Those most vulnerable in the community are able to come to MANNA and the Hunger and Health Coalition for emergency relief and support. In Watauga and Buncombe County, these programs are founded on the idea that no one should have to choose between housing, hunger, or health.

“We are so deeply honored to partner with the Fisher family and all attendees of the Grand Prix to fight hunger in the High Country,” said Elizabeth Young, executive director of the Hunger and Health Coalition. “It is our mission to ensure that everyone in the High Country has access to healthy foods and life-sustaining medications and each dollar raised will allow us to purchase $5 worth of nutritious foods for our neighbors in need! This incredible event is helping our team to not only meet immediate and emergency needs but also create paths for better long-term health outcomes and for that we will be forever grateful.”

Tickets will be available on site the day of the vent. A $75 ticket entitles a spectator to on-site valet parking, a gourmet luncheon and box seats. A $10 ticket includes general admission seating and free parking. Both tickets options are available online at www.eventbrite.com.

Grounds open at 11 a.m. with lunch starting at 11:30 a.m. and the calcutta at 12:30 p.m.

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