Lexington, KY--The first day of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games came to a close Saturday (Sept. 25) with a total attendance of 23,081 and an opening ceremony unlike any other.
The opening ceremony brought audiences to their feet throughout the program with hundreds of talented equestrians, singers, dancers and an orchestra all coming together in tribute of the Games’ debut in the United States. Throughout the nearly three-hour show, performers – both two-footed and four-footed – created memorable moments that honored the reason for the world’s convergence in Kentucky – the majesty of the horse.
|Photo by Dirk Caremans|
|Humanitarian, global icon, boxing legend and Kentuckian Muhammad Ali makes a rare, special appearance at the opening ceremony of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.|
In declaring the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games officially open, FEI President HRH Princess Haya commented, "For the first time, the World Equestrian Games have crossed an ocean to bring the best of our sport to another continent. We are witnessing a new beginning that will help spread the magic of horse sport and inspire young equestrian athletes to aim for the top.”
From a Thoroughbred race reenactment to Western roping and riding to a Broadway-style quadrille performed by Freisian horses, audience members were witness to the majesty and versatility of the horse. Other moments offered poignant interplay between horse and human performer, including a stirring West Side Story scene featuring Mario Contreras and the Lexington Ballet.
Forty acts were showcased in the program including Kentuckian Wynonna Judd; opera stars Denyce Graves, Cynthia Lawrence and Ronan Tynan; Sara Lee Guthrie; Cherryholmes; and Jazz at Lincoln Center among other notables. Ronan Tynan brought the ceremony to an emotional finale as he was joined in singing “The Impossible Dream” by a Haitian Harmony children’s choir organized by title sponsor company Alltech.
Equestrian entertainers included Culver Academies, Mario Contreras, Stacy Westfall, Tommie Turvey, Dan James, Vince Bruce, the California Cowgirls, Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls, Eitan Beth-Halachmy and more. Actor William Shatner, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, and Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron made surprise appearances.
The ceremony featured the traditional parade of athletes from 58 countries, which was made complete moments later by the appearance of the “Greatest” of athletes – humanitarian, global icon, boxing legend, and Kentuckian Muhammad Ali, who rode via convertible around the stadium accompanied by Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.
A MP3 voiceover is also available for free download via the link below:
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games continue through Oct. 10. To experience it in person by securing your tickets today, please visit www.alltechfeigames.comor call 1-888-934-2010.
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