Sep 28, 2021 - Economy

World's largest single-breed horse show returns to Columbus

A cowboy wearing a red shirt shoots pistols while on the back of a galloping American quarter horse.

Photo courtesy of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association

The All American Quarter Horse Congress, the world's largest single-breed horse show, returns to the Ohio Expo Center today.

  • The American quarter horse breed excels at sprinting short distances. The name comes from its ability to run a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse breed.

Why it matters: The annual Congress usually brings about 650,000 people to the Columbus area over the course of the month-long event and generates more than $400 million for the local economy, according to organizers.

What's happening: This year's event might have one of the biggest turnouts yet after COVID-19 canceled the 2020 festivities, spokesperson Taylor Staus tells Axios.

  • More than 5,000 horses and their riders will compete in contests such as reining, roping and cutting (isolating livestock such as cattle).
  • Nearly $3 million will be given away in cash and prizes, including trucks, trailers, trophy saddles, sterling silver buckles and coveted Don Bell bronze trophies.
  • A trade show involving more than 200 vendors begins Friday.

If you go: The 54th annual Congress runs through Oct. 24 at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave., on the state fairgrounds.

Alissa's thought bubble: One of my first assignments as a Columbus reporter was attending a parade to celebrate the Congress' 50th anniversary. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and other elected officials rode horses down High Street in denim jackets, cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats. It was quite the spectacle.

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