WIHS Welcomes Chester Weber

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Underwood of Phelps Media Group, Inc. International at (561) 753-3389 or at info@phelpsmediagroup.com

Seven-Time U.S. National Driving Champion to Perform at 50th Washington International Horse Show

Washington, D.C. – October 9, 2008 – The 50th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to welcome top international driving star Chester Weber, who will perform a driving demonstration with his four-in-hand team of bay Dutch Warmblood horses at the show on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Weber is a silver medalist in the competitive world of carriage driving and a seven-time U.S. National Driving Champion. He is known for producing exciting performances that involve the audience. Relatively few competitions are held worldwide, so for many, this will be the first time they will see this sport. Weber will show the many different maneuvers his team is capable of, such as tight turns at a high rate of speed, and other movements executed in perfect synchronization.

“In Europe, driving is a mainstream sport,” said Weber. “They get spectator crowds that reach 60,000. With the World Equestrian Games coming to the U.S. in 2010, I want to introduce people to this exciting sport, and I hope my demonstration will inspire people to come out and watch us more.”

The Washington International, one of the top equestrian events in the country, will be held Tuesday through Sunday, Oct. 21-26, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. WIHS is host to the best horses and riders in the world, including many Olympic medalists, who compete for more than $420,000 in prize money.

Highlights include the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, Puissance (high jump) and the WIHS Equitation Finals, a junior championship that often produces riders that go on the represent the U.S. in international competition.

In this landmark year, WIHS is presenting a number of special events reminiscent of the show’s early years, including four-in-hand driving, Celebrity Hunt Teams, dressage and terrier races. Fashion guru and accomplished equestrian, Carson Kressley, will headline an exhibition of elegant and high-stepping American Saddlebreds, last at the show in 1972.

WIHS, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is proud to partner with the National Capital Area Chapter of Autism Speaks to raise awareness and funds for this devastating disease that affects 1 in 150 children.  WIHS and Autism Speaks will host a Day of Champions on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 2:00-4:00 P.M. 

For more information about the WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org
For more information on Chester Weber, please visit www.chesterweber.com

WIHS FAST FACTS

WHAT:
50th anniversary Washington International Horse Show, a championship equestrian event

WHEN:
October 21-26, 2008 (Tuesday – Sunday)

WHY:
Horse-crazy or not, if you like championship sport and fast-paced entertainment and fun, this is the event for you. An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show brings top horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad, including Olympic champions, to the nation's capital to compete for more than $415,000 in prize money and championship titles. More than 500 horses participate in show jumping, hunters and equitation during the six-day show. Special exhibitions, unique shopping in 55 boutiques and a Pony Pavilion with free pony rides (Sat.) round out this family-friendly show.

WIHS, a non-profit organization, is proud to partner with the National Capital Area Chapter of Autism Speaks, an organization working to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.

Since its debut, the Washington International has been a popular Washington D.C. fixture visited by presidents, first ladies, celebrities, business and military leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages.

WHERE:
Verizon Center, 601 F Street, NW (7th and F Streets, NW), Washington, D.C., home of the Washington International Horse Show since 2000, as well as professional and college sports teams including the NBA Wizards, the NHL Capitals, the WNBA Mystics and the Georgetown Hoyas, concerts, family shows and sporting events.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Take Metrorail or Metrobus to Gallery Place-Chinatown for an easy trip to the show.

HIGHLIGHTS:
$100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, Sat. evening
$25,000 Puissance (high-jump), Fri. evening
Saddlebred Exhibition with fashion guru Carson Kressley, Fri. evening
Celebrity Hunt Teams, Thurs. evening
Dressage Exhibition with Ashley Holzer, a member of the 2008 Canadian Olympic Team
Terrier Races
Pony Pavilion with pony rides (free event), Sat. 11:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M.
Autism Speaks “Day of Champions,” a special needs riding exhibition (free event), Sun. 2:00-4:00 P.M.

TICKETS:
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or call 202-397-SEAT

Group Ticket Sales: Contact the Verizon Center Group Sales Department at (202) 661-5061.

Two performances are held daily except Sunday. Day (Tues-Sat): 7:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.; Sunday 7:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M; Evening: (Tues-Sat): 7:00-10:30 P.M. (ending times approx.)

SPECIAL MOMENTS:
Over the years, notable guests included Alice Roosevelt Langford, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, President Gerald R. Ford, General William Westmoreland, Christopher Reeve, John Cleese, Bruce Springsteen, William Shatner, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Arthur Godfrey and many more.

Show memories abound, including in 1970, a carriage marathon with horse-drawn vehicles parading to the White House to give Mrs. Nixon a carriage ride around the South Lawn of the Executive Mansion.

The standing North American indoor Puissance (high jump) record of 7 feet 7 1/2 inches was set at Washington in 1983 by Anthony D'Ambrosio and Sweet N' Low.

In 2003 Christopher Reeve, in his last public appearance, made a memorable and moving speech at the show, receiving a six-minute standing ovation.

HORSE SHOW CONTACT:
Washington International Horse Show
16063 Comprint Circle
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-987-9400

301-987-9461 Fax
info@wihs.org
www.wihs.org

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Equestrian:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
13833 Wellington Trace
Unit E-4 #221
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389
Fax: 561-753-3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
www.phelpsmediagroup.com

Local:
Bendure Communications
Vicki Bendure
1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-756-7729
bendurepr@aol.com
www.bendurepr.com