GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For six weeks now, the Harrison County Fairgrounds has housed the annual Gulf Coast Winter Classic horseshow, drawing in thousands of equine athletes from across the county.
"It was a lovely horse show. We had a great two weeks of competition," trainer Christian Rogge said. "The weather was not always as nice as today, but all the rings were in great condition and the show management did a great job in providing a very good show environment."
To create that environment took months of hard work, training, and preparation. Trotting down the arena may be an amazing sight for many of the spectators, but for the trainers and organizers, those quick moments had been in the making for a while.
"When we plan, we plan the event for the whole five weeks. Each week is its own separate entity, but there's a lot of planning and you do it all kind of at the same time. Right now, I'm planning for next year. So this may be over, but next year we're going to bring an even bigger, better, nicer event," Event Coordinator Janet McCarroll said.
While they hope to only get better, this year's spectators say they're already pleased. The show, which has become one of the premier horse shows in the country, has a fan base that's growing.
"We had a huge crowd of spectators. The biggest crowd we ever had. We gave away a lot of prize money, $50,000. Great turn out, I couldn't think of a better wrap up," McCarroll said.