The largest event in the state that draws crowds from around the world began on Tuesday at the Ohio Expo Center.
The All American Quarter Horse Congress is bigger than the Arnold Sports Festival and Expo and the Ohio State Fair with more than 650,000 people visiting through the month and more than 6,000 horses on the grounds.
“It generates $382 million into the city, which is just absolutely amazing,” said Shawn Flarida, who is the director for Ohio Quarter Horse Association.
The event is free and will be held at the Ohio Expo Center through Oct. 28.
Flarida, of Springfield, is called a legend because of the number of years he has competed in the event.
“… I’ve been showing here for 40 years. My dad started bringing me here when I was 9 years old and it’s just been a great horse show. It’s the largest single breed horse show in the world,” Flarida said.
Flarida said the event has competitions, horse shows, vendors and fair food.
The art of showing horses – it means a lot to people who attend and to competitors like, John Mcpheron, of Marysville, along with his horse Skeeter.
“We work three times a week and spend a lot of time practicing and a lot of effort and a lot of sweating. It’s fun just to go watch them, you know. These horses are athletes. They’re not like your ponies you go on at your county fairs, these horses are serious and highly tuned athletes you need to treat them like any other sport,” Mcpheron said.
Alison Howell, a competitor from Cleveland, Ga., said she and others brought eight horses and two rigs.
“Just to see the quarter horses and all their disciplines that their versatile in it’s just a lot of fun,” Howell said.
Carey Cooper, the accountant for Ohio Quarter Horse Association, said more than $3 million dollars is given in awards.
“You’re going to see some of the best horses and the best trainers and some of the best showman in the world. The whole things just phenomenal,” Flarida said.