Tuesday, September 25, 2018

World Equestrian Games over but Bellissimo back in saddle

Reuters.com - Full Article

September 24 2018
Steve Keating

TRYON, North Carolina (Reuters) - Mark Bellissimo, the man who brought the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) to this bucolic corner of recession ravaged North Carolina is widely viewed as a savior for bringing jobs and hope to the depressed region.

Not so says Bellissimo, deferring to an elderly employee who works in one of the sprawling facility’s kitchens who has apparently taken credit.

“I interact a lot with our staff and a woman who is our baker, she comes up to me and says, ‘I just want you to know I am responsible for the success of Tryon’,” Bellissimo told Reuters.

“I said, thank you and I would love to hear more and she said, ‘eight years ago I prayed that someone would rescue this community, someone with a million dollars and you came and it is because of me’.”

Situated in the U.S. bible belt, all this would seem a very plausible explanation for an equestrian Taj Mahal popping up under the gaze of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What is not plausible is that Bellissimo rode to the rescue with a million dollars.

To get the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) ready for the WEG, Bellissimo and his partners pumped more than $200 million into the effort.

By the end of the year that number will rise to $250 million as he pushes ahead with plans to make the TIEC the world’s premiere equestrian lifestyle destination...

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