BLOWING ROCK — World-class competitors from multiple countries will be invited to Blowing Rock for the $50,000 James H. Fisher International Grand Prix on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the L.M. Tate Show Grounds, starting at 2 p.m.
“We are grateful to the town of Blowing Rock and to the (Blowing Rock Charity) Horse Show Foundation for their kind and enthusiastic reception,” said Jack Fisher, chairman of the event and father of James H. Fisher. “This is going to be a grand event with some of the finest show jumpers competing at the highest level.”
The 2019 edition is the third annual event, with the previous two having taken place in Marshall. Event manager Vick Russell of Tryon, who has attended the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show since 1961 as a rider, trainer and owner, hopes to keep the event in Blowing Rock for years to come.
“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,” said John Vann, local volunteer and liasion with the BRCHS Foundation. “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 of James Fisher and his love of show jumping.”
The grand prix was started in 2017 as Jack Fisher’s way of giving back, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the MANNA FoodBank in Asheville and the Hunger and Health Coalition in Boone. Fisher said he will cover all the expenses, including the $50,000 purse, which Vann says is the largest prize ever offered in a Blowing Rock horse show.
After the inaugural edition, the show was renamed for Jack’s son James H. Fisher, who died in January 2018 two days before turning 22. Jack said his son’s death was due to “an opioid issue.”
“He was champion of the country as a junior, he was a really accomplished rider, he rode with me in his teenage life and he was on his way,” Russell said.
The Fisher family has been involved in horse competitions for years, with multiple family members riding show horses around the country.
The one-day, single-class show will feature between 20 and 30 jockeys, who are limited to one horse entry, and feature a mix of amateurs and professionals. Information about the riders will be released at a later date.
“They’re handpicked for their character and for their reputation of being good horsemen,” Russell said. “There are several of them who’ll have represented their countries in all types of international games such as the World Cup, Pan-American Games, the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games.”
“This is really a chance to see really excellent riders, horses and the format is great because you don’t need to know anything about horses to follow it,” Vann said. “It’s just, how fast did you go and did you knock any rails down.”
The day will feature action on the track, but also a Calcutta auction, with the winner receiving several prizes that will be announced later. All Calcutta proceeds go to charity. Also featured will be live music and food trucks.
Tickets are $75 for premium seats, which includes a special luncheon at 11 a.m., reserved box seating and valet parking. General admission is $10.
For ticket information, visit fb.me/JHFisherfdn or email info@JHFisherfdn.com.