75-year tradition may end for Boone County Horse Show

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BOONE COUNTY - Horses trotted into the arena at the Central Missouri Events Center preparing for the opening of the Boone County Fair Horse Show on Thursday.  

Northern Boone County Commissioner Janet Thompson says the event has been around since the 1800s.

"Since the fair itself started in the 1800s, there has always been a horseshow," she said. "One of the most famous horses, Rex McDonald, was owned by a group of people in Boone County." 

Today, the horseshow and fair have separated. The fair is annually held in July, and the horseshow in October.

The historical home of the horseshow, the Boone County Fair Grounds, also known as the Central Missouri Events Center, will be closing at the start of 2015. 

This comes after EPIC, a proposed eight cent sales tax to support the event center, failed on the ballot in August by a 2-1 margin. 

Local stable owner and horseshow competitor Anna Marie Knipp said the show this year is a last ditch effort to demonstrate the enthusiasm the county and horse industry has for the event. 

"Not only is it important for the horse industry in Mid-Missouri, but the economic impact of the horseshow is huge for Columbia hotels, restaurants, and businesses."

Knipp said stalls and reserved seats have both sold out for this week's event, but that bleacher seating is still available.

Knipp has lived in Mid-Missouri for over 30 years and said she can't imagine Boone County not having a horse show.

"If the Central Missouri Events Center really does close, as it's planned to, next year will be the first time in over 75 years that we won't have a horse show," she said.