Equine shows bringing in millions to Oklahoma City’s economy

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OKLAHOMA CITY - They call it the Super Bowl of reining horse events.

Horses fly in from all over the world to compete in the 10-day NRHA Futurity competition.

"We have about 600 riders. They're coming from 20 different countries, so we have people from Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Canada, Mexico," said Christa Morris-Stone with the NRHA.

It is also a hot spot for celebrities like Lyle Lovett, William Shatner and even jewelry maker David Yurman.

Big names and big money to go into the city's pocket-book.

"The equine industry's always going to be one of our leading, if not the leading, attributes here in terms of tourism revenue for the community,” said Michael Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

More than a dozen equestrian events come to State Fair Park every year, generating $185 million into the city's economy.

That money going into hotels, restaurants and retail.

"From the 1st of August to the 15 of December, we will have six major shows, and those six shows generate about $125 million of that $185. This show is about $19 million,” Carrier said.

The NRHA opened its new headquarters last year, proving it's planning on staying here.

Simona Diale moved to Oklahoma from Italy to work for the NRHA.

"My dream has come true, which is working for the NRHA and actually living in Oklahoma City. I'm thrilled,” Diale said.

Diale said she feels more at home here than she did in Italy.

"Million-dollar riders will help even the very first-time, rookie riders and I love that, and they're not scared to help each other," she said.

Thousands flocking to see the top horses in the world circle, slide and roll at State Fair Park.

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