Barely open six months, the new Rolling Hills Equestrian Center introduced thousands of people to Tehama County with its successful equine events. Local business leaders believe the increased tourism will help boost the local economy.
According to Equestrian Center Manager Mandy Staley, recent bull riding, barrel races, team roping and cutting events hosted at the center were the biggest shows in their disciplines ever in Northern California. “We had 1300 teams in the team roping competition, and that is huge” said Staley.
“Our goal was to bring in out of town people for two or three days, and we are succeeding,” she continued. “We drew hundreds of people to the area from Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California, and even Arizona. Each event lasts two to three days, and well over 500 people attend an event each day.”
One reason for the Equestrian Center’s success is its convenient location next to Rolling Hills Casino on I-5 and local businesses in Corning. “Everything is right here in Corning: restaurants, hotels, entertainment, golf course, casino, and RV Park, said Staley. “However, while the resort amenities are a draw, the facility’s design is a more important reason for the Equestrian Center’s success.”
The facility was designed for the safety and performance of the horses and their owners. “The most important thing about our arenas is the footing,” said Staley. Each type of equestrian event has its own footing requirements, and the ground in our Kiser-designed arenas provides a thick bed of loam that can be prepared to optimum density from hard to fluffy depending upon the type of event.”
The third reason for the facility’s success is Staley’s ability to leverage her network of associates in the equestrian industry. “In any business, it’s who you know,” admits Staley, a former barrel racer whose parents owned a rodeo company. “I sought out the best people I knew in each of the disciplines for their expertise in putting on big shows. Everyone in the horse world is very excited about this facility.”
The Equestrian Center expects to host about two shows a month. Based on current attendance levels, 20,000 people will attend an equestrian event at the facility this year. Members of the Tehama County Branding Committee and the Corning Chamber of Commerce are very pleased with what this means to local business.
“I’m very excited about the business the Equestrian Center will bring to downtown Corning as well as local hotels and restaurants,” said ValAnn Cardenas of the Corning Chamber of Commerce. Corning hotels quickly sold out during recent equestrian events, which meant that Red Bluff also benefitted from the increased tourism.
“Tourists bring money into a community,” said Kristen Behrens, member of the Tehama County Branding Committee and former Tehama County Chamber of Commerce president. “Studies show that money spent at locally owned businesses multiplies 2 to 4 times. This means that every $100 spent at a local business generates up to $400 in local revenues. This is why tourism is so important to Tehama County.”
“Equine sports cost money and most people who compete recreationally enjoy down time to review the day’s events and to meet with their trainer or riding mates to review their run and what they could do to better their score. Often times this is done over a group dinner, or while meandering shops such as those on Main Street while spending money. They eat here, gas up here, restock their animal feed and needs here. These are all meaningful contributions to our economy,” added Behrens.
Most events at the Equestrian Center are free and open to the public. For upcoming events and more information about the facility, visit http://rollinghillscasino.com/meetings/equestrian-center/