Horse Shows In the Sun Tahoe will not return to Minden this year, but organizers won't say why.
"We are not planning on having a horse show in Minden this year," said Mary Creech, public relations representative for the shows. "Our office is not prepared to issue a statement at this point."
The third HITS Tahoe horse show was June 26 through July 21. Last year, Richard Spooner, two-time winner of the final Grand Prix event at HITS Tahoe, appreciated the Carson Valley crowd.
"The spectator crowd was bigger this year than last year. We have a fantastic spectator base here and lots of support in Minden and Gardnerville," Spooner said.
The hunter and jumper horse show featured nearly 300 classes each week for four weeks, including a $10,000 Open Jumper Prix on Fridays and a $25,000 Grand Prix on Sundays. It featured an international roster of exhibitors, including entries from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.
The HITS Tahoe show grounds is on 100 acres off of Highway 395, two miles north of Minden. It is owned by industrialist Don Bently.
"It's news to me," he said. "This is the first I heard."
Bently had a 10-year lease with HITS for use of the grounds.
He said the agreement was loosely worded, and "apparently" HITS does not plan to abide by the contract.
HITS paid more than $500,000 for the all-weather rings to be constructed in late 1999 and early 2000. Bently said HITS did not plan financially for the event.
"They didn't build a grandstand," he said. "And how are you going to keep people out there without a grandstand?"
HITS built the show grounds on a former alfalfa field and brought it to life as a temporary small village. Bently said the first quarter mile of his property was reserved for commercial use, but its main use is agricultural.
However, Bently said he may try and find another horse show for the venue.
"I wish (HITS) luck," he said. "They were a good outfit."
Ticket proceeds from HITS benefited nonprofits, including the Carson Valley Sertoma, Silver State Pony Club, Soroptimist International, Kiwanis Club of Gardnerville and Minden Rotary Club.
Karen Winters, president of Soroptimists, was also surprised about the decision.
"It will definitely have an impact," Winters said. "We got a part of the gate for one day, and it was between $1,000 and $2,000.
"I hope enough people in the community want to see it returned and work together to get it back in the future."
Scott Morgan, community services director for Douglas County Parks & Recreation, said the county "really helped support HITS."
"We tried to make it a community event with Senior Day and Kids' Day," he said. "I thought it was very successful.
"We had seen a slight decrease in (attendance), and last year's purse was not there, but I am sorry to see it go. It was a unique community event."