For those engaged in the horse industry, or those simply captivated by the beauty and athleticism of the horse and looking for a great family event, the Cal Expo becomes mecca for three jam-packed days in June each year. This year, those dates are June 13-15, and the event that brings the throngs of attendees is none other than the Western States Horse & Ranch Exposition, or just simply “Western States.”
As the nation’s largest event of its kind, the Horse Expo has a long and rich tradition of combining horses, lifestyle, education, entertainment and shopping in one all-inclusive event.
“Simply put, we’re unique,” said Miki Nelson, the event’s founder and producer. "There are a handful of events around the country with a similar theme, for sure. However, the list of our popular events cannot be found anywhere in the world, not in one place. This is why people come for three days as an annual pilgrimage--to hang with friends, eat, learn, be entertained, listen to live music and relax."
One ticket grants visitors access to all of the daytime activities, all 180 educational presentations, trail symposium, young rider park for kids, Breed Revelation exhibit, horse sale, Rigs & Digs barn and trailer showcases and shopping venues galore. All access tickets are $18 for adults. Expo Bucks good for $3 off a general admission ticket are available at over 723 retailers throughout California.
Two separately ticketed marquee events firmly anchor the overall excitement of the Expo experience. The Magnificent 7 All Around Stock Horse Championship kicks off Friday night at 7:30 p.m. with The Ultimate Super Horse Finale slated for Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Both events are held in the RAM Trucks Freedom Arena.
“The Magnificent 7 is absolutely a scream," said Nelson. "The BEST of the BEST compete for $25,000 in a reined cow horse championship. There are only two of these competitions in the world. This one and another in Texas. Saturday night is the Ultimate Super Horse; another great competition finale showing incredible capabilities of horse and rider in numerous ways.”
For those who enjoy a slower pace of enjoyment, the Equine Art Show & Sale at the Expo is full of one of a kind artworks from all over the country. There are usually over 120 pieces entered in this juried art show. Shopping, for everything from tack to horse trailers, abounds at the event, and in fact, many attendees come just for the shopping. The Rigs and Digs display at the Expo features the largest selection of horse trailers on exhibit for sale in one place in the country, representing models in all price ranges from 15 separate manufacturers.
On Sunday attendees can shop the horse sale and take their own dream horse home with them. Over 100 horses have been consigned to the horse sale, which consistently draws the West Coast’s best breeders and trainers as consignors.
It is the bevy of insightful, imaginative and inspiring educational demonstrations, above any other facet of the innovative event, that lie at the heart of the Expo. This year presenters range from Olympians like three-day eventer Gina Miles to multi-million dollar western riders like Bob Avila. With too many great presenters to mention, the easiest way to describe the lineup is with the old Hollywood phrase “anybody who’s anybody will be there.”
Overall, the event boasts one of the highest economic impacts in the greater Sacramento area of any spectator event all year.
“Horse owners all seek the same thing," said Nelson. "They may ride in a different saddle, have a unique breed and even compete in all the various sports, but, not one rider is going to do anything with a horse unless they have these things...the things that bind this industry; soundness, health, nutrition, saddle fit, proper equipment for the job, housing, land, fencing, tow vehicles, horse trailers, training and knowledge. We’re the one place they can go each year to put all of those pieces together and find the missing pieces they are seeking.
“The thing I would like people to do is come, bring the kids and have a great day, whether they are 'into' horses or not,” added Nelsen.
For complete information on Western States Horse Expo ticketing, exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities call 800-352-2411 or visit www.horsexpo.com.
In its 16th year, the event is produced by Horse Expo Events who also produces Horse Expo Pomona. Sponsors include: RAM, Farnam, Platinum Performance, Kruse Perfection, Triple Crown, Nutrena, Pyranha and West Coast Equine Foundation. Media sponsors include Western Horseman, Horsetrader.com and Young Rider Magazine. More in-depth information, including the event schedule, can be found at www.horsexpo.com.