Horse shows are big business for OKC
Oklahoma City is the venue of choice for more than a dozen top national and world championship horse shows, attracting riders from across the nation and the world each year. Oklahoma City has held its standing as Horse Show Capital of the World since the early 1970s, and since that time the number of horse shows hosted here eclipsed those found in any other city. And thanks to ongoing investments in equine event facilities, that title continues to hold true.
“Our ability to repeatedly host major equine events in Oklahoma City is a pillar of the Oklahoma City hospitality industry,” said Mike Carrier, president of the Greater OKC Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The economic impact of horse shows in Oklahoma City is one of the many reasons that tourism is the third-largest industry in our region.”
In 2004, Oklahoma City residents voted to increase the hotel tax to finance a bond that paid for upgrades and improvements to State Fair Park equine and livestock facilities. Providing top-notch showing facilities helps Oklahoma City retain current horse shows and pursue new shows.
Not only do Oklahoma City horse shows provide fun entertainment and a natural connection to Oklahoma City’s western roots, but they also make a substantial contribution to the city’s economy. In the 2018 fiscal year, Oklahoma City’s horse shows lead to direct spending of more than $170 million in the Oklahoma City market and brought more than 795,000 attendees to the area.
Over the past five years, an average of 836,000 horse show visitors have spent $175 million each year in Oklahoma City hotels and restaurants, adding $8.16 million to the city’s sales tax coffers.
“Additionally, those horse show visitors have a positive impact on the local retail scene,” added Carrier.
“Horse show attendees spend a lot of money decorating their stalls and repairing their trailers. Not only do they have to eat, but their horses do, as well.”