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Northern Michigan Horse Shows drive tourism

Urgent Envoy trots in a paddock in 2017. Since 2004, when Gail Ruffu took Urgent Envoy from the Hollywood Park stables, the horse's whereabouts have been unknown to all but Ruffu and her confidants.
Courtesy of Gail Ruffu
Urgent Envoy trots in a paddock in 2017. Since 2004, when Gail Ruffu took Urgent Envoy from the Hollywood Park stables, the horse's whereabouts have been unknown to all but Ruffu and her confidants.

Horse shows are now a major driver of tourism in northern Michigan.

A new report found horse competitions this year added 120 million dollars to the Traverse City region’s economy.

When new owners came on board in 2015, they spent nearly 20 million building structures and putting in Olympic-level grounds at their horse park in Acme Township.

It paid off. Equestrians from across the U.S. and 28 countries spent millions on local retail, restaurants, and lodging, just this summer says Traverse City Horse Shows Co-owner Matt Morrissey.

“So, they’re gaining world ranking points and our prize money for the summer, we’re one of the top offerers of prize money.”

Groups that come for horse shows stay longer and spend more money than a typical northern Michigan tourist… according to Traverse City Tourism.

The show grew this year for about a third of the visitors it was their first time.