Brandon will host the "best of the best" in Arabian horse breeds this August — and again in 2015 and 2016.
The Keystone Centre announced on Monday it has secured the prestigious international event for two more years.
"We’ve enjoyed an excellent relationship with the organizers and participants of this show and are honoured to be able to continue to host this world-class event," said Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson.
The Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show is one of four premier events put on by the Arabian Horse Association. The other three events are held in Albuquerque, N.M., Nampa, Idaho, and Tulsa, Okla.
Brandon has hosted the event since 2011.
"We like Brandon," Arabian Horse Show Commissioner Gerald MacDonald said in a press release. "The team at the Keystone Centre and many other city establishments have made us feel very welcome, and we’re happy to keep the show here for two more years."
Meanwhile, to prepare for next month’s event, to be held Aug. 11-16, the Keystone Centre will spend $38,000 to spruce up its horse stalls, thanks to a capital grant through the city’s accommodation tax reserve.
"It’s a great event for the city," said economic development director Sandy Trudel. "It is one of those events that was made for the Keystone Centre."
The event is projected to generate approximately 3,200 room nights, a conservative figure based on previous years’ data, according to Trudel.
The event attracts roughly 850 participants, officials and staff and 2,300 spectators from outside Brandon.
But the economic benefit of the event is much more than the room nights, Trudel pointed out.
The horse show has become known for its lavish stalls, as participants spend thousands of dollars to transform them into a home away from home using big-screen TVs, planters and landscaping, sofas — and even chandeliers.
"A lot of that is sourced locally, either through our furniture stores, our retail stores … hardware stores, nurseries … so there’s a lot of activity in that realm," Trudel said.
Restaurants, gas stations and other stores also see a bit of a boost during the event.
Last year, the event featured more than 700 pure Arabian and Half-Arabian horses from across North America in 187 classes.
Classes included hunter pleasure, halter showmanship, dressage, working hunter, Arabian trail and reining.
The funds will be used to repair 300 stalls that are between 30 and 40 years old and are required to successfully host the show. Part of the funds will go toward the purchase of safety material footing to allow horses to move safety through the Keystone Centre.
"There were some issues last year with a couple animals, so we’re just making enhancements to our existing supply of stalls to make sure they’re safer, better quality," Thomson said.
The plan is to replace the aging wood at the bottom of the stalls with a different material to prevent any horses from catching their hooves in the stalls.
This is the first capital enhancement grant through the city’s accommodation tax funding. It was approved, Trudel said, because there are specific enhancements that need to be made in order for the event to be successful, but wouldn’t necessarily be made otherwise.
"The stables and the stalls that the Keystone has, they’re fine. Obviously they’re very aged, but they still function," Trudel said. "But because of the calibre of this event and some safety concerns, we needed to change things up."
While these upgrades are approved for a specific show, Trudel expects it will be a benefit for future events.
"It’s one of those investments, much like many of our capital investments are … you make that initial outlay for a very specific purpose, but then it is used by many other events going forward."
» Twitter: @jillianaustin