The U.S. Eventing Association board of governors have voted to enter into contract negotiations with Equestrian Events Inc. and Mary Fike to host the 2023 and 2024 USEA American Eventing Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
The USEA sent out a request for expressions of interest in June 2021 to host the AEC in 2023 and 2024. Several venues presented attractive proposals, and from those the USEA Board of Governors voted to select the Kentucky Horse Park as the 2023 and 2024 host site pending contract negotiations. The USEA has begun negotiating final terms with the organizing group of EEI and Mary Fike for the 2023 and 2024 AEC and hopes to complete that process within the next few months.
The 2022 AEC will be held at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana from Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2022. The proposed date for the 2023 AEC in Kentucky is Aug. 29-Sept. 3, 2023, followed by the 2024 AEC from Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 2024.
“EEI and Mary Fike are excited to partner with the USEA and welcome the AEC back to Kentucky in 2023 and 2024,” said EEI Executive Director Lee Carter. “The Kentucky Horse Park is a special place and hosting the AEC at this iconic venue creates memories that will last a lifetime. We are beyond thrilled to host this championship and the amazing competitors who will attend
Among the interested venues for the 2023 and 2024 AEC, there was a strong bid from Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina. Ultimately, the board made it clear through its deliberations that the popularity of the Kentucky Horse Park and their trust in the management team of EEI and Mary Fike were central to their decision. EEI and Mary Fike first organized the AEC at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2019, which recorded 925 starters, making it the largest event in North American history. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 AEC was canceled, but the event returned to the Kentucky Horse Park in 2021. The 2021 AEC garnered over 1,200 entries and ran 939 starters, which broke the 2019 record as the largest event in North American history.
“We are truly elated for the AEC to return to the Kentucky Horse Park,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. “Our partners at EEI and Mary Fike have developed a strong working connection with our staff over the previous three years. The USEA Board of Governors had a difficult decision to make and I want to thank all of our bidders including Barry Olliff, Molly Bull, and the entire team from Stable View. We received an overwhelming amount of feedback from the membership about their desire to return the AEC to Kentucky, and we are happy to deliver this news to the USEA members.”