James Fisher, the Grand Prix's namesake, participates in horse jumping in his youth.

James Fisher, the Grand Prix’s namesake, participates in horse jumping in his youth.

At 2 p.m. on Sept. 21, the 3rd Annual James H. Fisher International Grand Prix will be held at the L. M. Tate Show Grounds in the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve in Blowing Rock. The two prior events were held in Marshall, near Asheville. The Grand Prix is sponsored by the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation and its chair Jack Fisher, father of the late James Fisher.

The Grand Prix is moving to Blowing Rock because of the charm and appeal of this unique mountain village, the traditions of horse sports, the availability of an historic facility and the wide support the people in Blowing Rock give to many community charities. The beneficiaries of this year’s Grand Prix are two food banks: MANNA in Asheville and The Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone.

Twenty-five to thirty riders, six from foreign countries and two dozen U.S. riders are expected to compete for $50,000 in prize money. It is the largest purse ever offered for an equestrian event in Blowing Rock. Riders can bring as many horses as they wish, but can only ride one horse in the competition. Scoring is simple. The rail is up, the rail is down and the clock determines the winner.

The event manager is Vick Russell of Tryon who is expected to have several family members competing. Tickets are $75 for premium tickets which includes a special luncheon, reserved box seating and reserved on site parking. General admission is $10 and includes grandstand seating. There will be food concessions available on the grounds.

Horses and riders will begin arriving on Friday, Sept. 20. Festivities begin with a luncheon for Premium Ticket holders at 11 a.m., followed by a Calcutta. At 2 p.m., the competition will get underway.

The Calcutta provides the opportunity for all Premium and General Admission ticketholders to “bid” on the riders they hope will win the competition. There will be a meet-and-great with riders and bidders after the luncheon. The Calcutta will follow. A week at an elegant Caribbean vacation home will be awarded to the highest bidder who selects the winning rider.

“Even though this event is not part of the annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, the objectives of the Fisher Memorial Foundation fit perfectly with our own. We are privileged to host this extraordinary event at the Broyhill Preserve and are working hard to make this an exceptional day to honor the memory James Fisher and his love of show jumping. We look forward to a long relationship with this wonderful event and with the generous Fisher family,” said John Vann, a local volunteer and liaison with the annual Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation.

“We are grateful to the town of Blowing Rock and to the Horse Show Foundation for their kind and enthusiastic reception. This is going to be a grand event with some of the finest show jumpers in the country competing at the highest level,” said Jack Fisher. “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.”

Tickets can be purchased online at www.jhfisherfdn.eventbrite.com.

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