MINDEN - The final week of a five-week horse competition began Wednesday in Minden.
Capping the week will be the $100,000 Grand Prix on Sunday. Mary Tyng, winner of the last two grand prixs, said that she will be back with both horses, Baccarat and Don't Worry.
Sunday's highlighted events will begin at 12:45 p.m. with country western singer Lacy J. Dalton singing the national anthem, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Posse Color Guard presenting the American and Nevada flags. This is the final salute to the riders and the show as HITS Tahoe wraps up the five-week circuit that began June 28.
The $100,000 HITS Grand Prix begins at 1 p.m. with admission at $5 and children under 12 admitted free.
Tyng won the $50,000 Coldwell Banker ITILDO Grand Prix, and the $50,000 Cosequin Grand Prix at HITS Tahoe.
With 20 riders entered, it was the biggest Grand Prix in the first four weeks of HITS Tahoe, and brought home $15,000 for the horse's owner, China Blue Farm of Santa Ynez and Los Angeles, Calif. Tyng also placed fourth in the Grand Prix on Don't Worry, and earned $4,000 for owners Indigo Farms.
The Grand Prix capped off another successful week of HITS Tahoe at the showgrounds north of Minden, with more than 1,300 people crowding the stands for a better look at one of the premier events of show jumping.
Course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio, a Grand Prix rider and trainer from Red Hook, N.J., built the 13-jump course to maximize spectator enjoyment.
"I do think of the spectators when I'm designing. I try to find something interesting to place by the spectator pavilion or grand stand or both," said D'Ambrosio.
With jumps as high as 5 feet and widths as much as 4 feet, 9 inches, the standing-room-only crowd cheered on the equestrian teams.
"I think Baccarat has a unique style. He's very expressive over the jumps, and that is certainly fun to watch and exciting because he shows a lot of exuberance," said Tyng, who competed against show jumping superstar Richard Spooner and Robinson, fresh from the World Cup and the Olympic trials.
"I think the better the competitors you compete against, the better you do. So for me, it was great. I'm appreciative that he was here," said Tyng.
Nine riders cleared the first phase of the Grand Prix, and Tyng and Don't Worry were second in order for the abbreviated jump off, and the first to clear all of the obstacles. She held the lead until Spooner, from Glendale, Calif., and Robinson captured the lead with a time of 44.011 seconds. Tyng then blistered the course with Baccarat in 42.214 for the win.
Spectators are welcome to visit the show grounds for all events through Saturday at no charge, with the show grounds open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.