News staff writer
June 10, 2006
The 15th annual Hood River Classic starts on Wednesday, and fully loaded horse trailiers from across the western United States and Canada are already arriving in town for the five-day Hunter Jumper equestrian event. Competition will start at 8 a.m. Wednesday and will climax Saturday evening with the $10,000 Hood River Inn Grand Prix.
The Hood River Classic boasts five days of continuous action in five show rings with more than 50 divisions and 200 classes of competition. Located at the beautiful Jensen Mills Meadow, the show has been described as, “The most beautiful horse show outside of Europe.” The meadow is surrounded on all sides by striking views, in particular the overshadowing, unobstructed presence of Mount Hood to the south.
Known as one of the most popular and prestigious shows of its kind in the Northwest, the Classic will draw some 400 top hunters and jumpers to town from British Columbia, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana, as well as from top barns in the Portland, Bend, Eugene, Spokane, and Seattle areas.
The annual event is a benefit for the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation, it is a sanctioned event of the Portland Rose Festival and is A-rated by the United States Equestrian Federation.
Admission to the event is free on Wednesday and Thursday and general admission is $3 per person or $7 per car Friday through Sunday. In addition to competition in the ring, on-site vendors will offer a wide variety of food, drinks, horse-themed specialty items, clothing, equipment and show souvenirs through out the event to keep spectators and riders happy.
In addition to the Best Western Hood River Inn, several other local companies have been longtime sponsors of the show, including Kerrit’s Activewear, Hood River Distillers, and the Hood River News. The local fruit industry has been very supportive throughout the life of the show, and fresh Hood River fruit is always made available to exhibitors. Numerous other area restaurants and businesses donate time and products, or offer discounts to help the show. These contributions make the show possible, and they make the show the favorite that it is.