Friday, April 12, 2024
60.0°F

Grant County Fairgrounds sees increasing equestrian events

by JOEL MARTIN
Staff Writer | November 27, 2023 4:04 PM

MOSES LAKE — There’s a lot going on at the Grant County Fairgrounds. There’s the annual fair, of course, and assorted festivals, trade shows, fundraisers and private parties, just like any fairgrounds hosts. But in recent years the fairgrounds in Moses Lake have stood out front and center as the most popular venue for equine events in the state.

“We have got two big indoor riding pavilions,” said Fairgrounds Manager Jim McKiernan. “We've got the 5,000-seat rodeo arena, we've got a huge outdoor practice arena, a lot of facilities that cater well to horses.”

The Grant County Fairgrounds covers 187 acres and offers 446 horse stalls, 456 RV sites and state-of-the-art lighting and sound, as well as Moses Lake’s central location and 300 days of sunshine a year. All this goes a long way when you’re hosting large events. In 2023 the fairgrounds hosted the Washington High School Equestrian Team finals, in which students from 45 schools around the state compete in drill riding, dressage, barrels and more. The Washington State Junior Rodeo finals were also held in Moses Lake, and the Pacific North West Invitational Championship, which alternates venues between Washington and Oregon, will hold its competition in Moses Lake in 2024.

“A lot of fairgrounds don't use their facilities more than a few times a year,” McKiernan said. “We have 110 events in 2023. And my guess is that it'll be slightly higher in 2024; not just horse events but  weddings, quinceañeras, RV shows, monster trucks, tractor pulls.”

In the off-season, the fairgrounds offer open riding five days and two evenings a week in one of the pavilions, for people who want to get in the saddle but don’t want to ride in the cold winter weather. 

“We are becoming pretty well recognized as one of the top equestrian facilities in the state due to our grounds, the arenas, our crew and staff and their ability to groom the grounds and our accommodations for horses, between wash racks, restrooms for people, amazing camping facilities,” McKiernan said. “We're pretty much the largest venue that anybody could possibly hold an event at.”

Joel Martin may be reached at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com. A resident of Moses Lake, he has worked at the paper for more than 25 years.