What Happens in Vegas…

Stereotypical Las Vegas... ah, admit it - you've heard it referred to as Sin City. You've heard it's laced with lavish hotels and casinos, non-stop entertainment, fast weddings, fast women, Elvis, blackjack and booze, and the funny Blue Man Group. After all, the city's famous "Strip" is home to 18 of the world's largest hotels and neon lights.Stereotypical Las Vegas... ah, admit it - you've heard it referred to as Sin City. You've heard it's laced with lavish hotels and casinos, non-stop entertainment, fast weddings, fast women, Elvis, blackjack and booze, and the funny Blue Man Group. After all, the city's famous "Strip" is home to 18 of the world's largest hotels and neon lights.

Story originally posted by: Summer Best

More than 100,000 tickets were purchased for the FEI show jumping and dressage World Cup Finals, April 20-24, in glittery Las Vegas.

Stereotypical Las Vegas… ah, admit it – you’ve heard it referred to as Sin City. You’ve heard it’s laced with lavish hotels and casinos, non-stop entertainment, fast weddings, fast women, Elvis, blackjack and booze, and the funny Blue Man Group. After all, the city’s famous "Strip" is home to 18 of the world’s largest hotels and neon lights.

But have you heard that Vegas is becoming known for its more family-friendly ventures? Just a stone’s throw away from the Strip, tens of thousands of spectators flocked to the Thomas & Mack Center for good, clean competition during the April 20-24 prestigious FEI Budweiser World Cup Final and the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, presented by Offield Farms. This is the first time that the show jumping final and the dressage final have been held simultaneously.

More than 100,000 spectator event tickets were sold to individuals in 13 foreign countries and 50 U.S. states, some of them at the rate of $200 each, according to event authorities. More than 96 percent of ticket sales were to enthusiasts who reside outside Nevada.

Ticket holders were not disappointed. Special appearance by Siegfried and Roy and other celebrities (such as Elvis, of course!) added to the ambiance and quality of the event.

And the Winners Are…

The show jumping competition peaked Sunday, April 24, with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Shutterfly, finding their way almost perfectly around the tricky grand prix course. Their earnings were a sweet $84,738 of the total $272,434 purse.

"It’s a great honor to be among fabulous names on this trophy," Michaels-Beerbaum said after the awards ceremony. "It’s a wonderful pleasure to win here in Las Vegas. It’s almost like being at home, since I’m from California and so many people came here to see me that haven’t seen me in many years. I could feel their enthusiasm motivate me throughout the weekend."

During Michaels-Beerbaum’s victory gallop, the Beach Boy’s "California Girls" song blared through the loudspeaker, entertaining the boisterous crowd.

"Shutterfly jumped brilliantly," she said. "This is my biggest win, and it was a wonderful pleasure to win in Las Vegas."

Michaels-Beerbaum, a U.S. native who now claims citizenship from Germany, narrowly led the class in the final round, with Michael Whitaker of Great Britain finishing second with Portofino. Third place was a tie between Germany’s Lars Nieberg on Lucie 55 and his teammate Marcus Ehning on Gitania 8.

In the dressage final, Anky van Grunsven won the event a record seventh time. Riding Keltec Salinero for the Netherlands, van Grunsven marked a record 86.725 percent for the performance. A few days later, she and her longtime partner, Sjef Janssen, got married, Vegas-style, with Elvis presiding, of course.

For a full list of results from the show jumping final and the dressage final, please visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com.

History of Hosting

The World Cup Jumping Final, an invitational-only event for riders and their respective horses, began in 1979, and the U.S. has hosted the event six times now: Baltimore in 1980, Tampa in 1989, Del Mar, Calif. in 1992 and again in Las Vegas in 2000 and 2003. U.S. riders have won the FEI World Cup Jumping Final seven times in the past.

First held in 1986, the Dressage World Cup Final has been held in the U.S. only once, in 1995 in Los Angeles. Germany and The Netherlands have dominated the competition, winning six titles each through 2004. The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho, and her mare, Brentina, emerged as champions.

Televised World Cup Final

You already know who the winner is, but you won’t believe the electricity in the air unless you see it with your own eyes. The FEI Budweiser World Cup Jumping Final will be televised on NBC on Sunday, May 8 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The FEI World Cup Dressage Final, presented by Offield Farms, will be televised on Monday, June 6 at 4:00 p.m. EDT on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN).