When I last wrote about this saga, the 22nd DAA had awarded a contract to West Palm Events to manage and run Horsepark, but I cautioned that the complex job of negotiating an operating agreement would take a while.
And that is what has happened. After over three months, West Palms finally just received a first draft of a contract to manage Horsepark. Because of these delays, West Palms does not expect to be able to run horse shows there in 2022.
Meanwhile At The Fairgrounds
For about two weeks, the fate of the summer San Diego Fair was in jeopardy. A San Diego judge issued a preliminary injunction on April 5th to stop the 22nd DAA from awarding a midway contract to Ray Carmack Shows (RCS) due to a lawsuit from Talley Amusements which charged that the midway bid was illegally rigged in RCS’s favor. Read this excellent article from the Voice of San Diego for background on this lawsuit and the injunction.
Over this past weekend, however, a marathon negotiation session resulted in an agreement that both RCS and Talley would divvy up midway contracts for this summer’s fair. Details are still to be worked out, which no doubt will continue to consume 22nd DAA staff attention for a while yet. 85% of fair staff were let go during the last two years, leaving them with barely any ability to do one thing at a time, let alone two.
Which means, West Palm’s negotiations regarding Horsepark will likely be relegated to the back burner again.
Nilforushan Equisports’s Winter Circuit
A big shakeup is coming in the show circuit next winter. Nilforushan Equisports has signed a contract with the 22nd DAA to run a seven week show circuit at the Fairgrounds starting in late January 2023. Preliminary plans are to have three weeks of hunter jumper, one week of dressage, and then three weeks of hunter jumper.
Interestingly, this circuit will directly compete with the Desert International Horse Park that typically runs an eight week show in Thermal, CA at around the same time.
Ali Nilforushan plans on introducing some big changes over the usual fairgrounds shows that have taken place there in the past.