The AdventHealth Grandview Invitational will showcase incredible equines, and sponsoring partners, over three days of arena shows and special events.
Encountering a towering and impressive draft horse, such as a Clydesdale, Percheron or Belgian, often elicits comments such as, “They are so big,” and “They are so beautiful.”
The equines are highly regarded for their strength and power, and their personalities. And if one horse can inspire swooning, imagine seeing nearly 200 of them in one place.
That is what visitors to the third annual AdventHealth Grandview Invitational can expect when the event takes place February 5th-7th at the Florida Horse Park.
This year, 24 hitches—or teams—have signed on to deliver a spectacular and majestic display of power and excitement.
Karen and Shannon Cobbs, owners of Grandview Clydesdales in Marion County, one of the largest Clydesdales breeders in the world, are the power couple behind the invitational.
“The word got out that this Ocala show is just exploding,” Karen says. “Last year we had 11 hitches.”
“They are coming from Canada, California, Wyoming, Vermont…” explains Shannon. “Ours will be one of the largest shows in the world.”
Visitors will be able to go into barns and talk with drivers and hitch personnel, and see the equines up close before they go thundering into the arena.
The gates will open at 8am each day, with shows starting at noon.
Karen says the show would not be possible without year-round sponsor relationships.
“It’s a true partnership,” she affirms. “The show cannot happen without our sponsors and our community. This is where Shannon and I live; where our family is growing. It’s something I want to build and build.”
A video of last year’s invitational shows several big rigs in the show ring at the same time. Majestic music fills the air and you can see the awe on peoples’ faces. As each wagon circles the arena, sponsor insignia can be seen on the back and, quite often, someone from the business is perched alongside the driver. Sponsor banners ring the arena.
“Each hitch is sponsored by someone from the community,” Karen offers. “We get them very, very involved.”
That can include tickets for holiday tours of the farm, taking advantage of corporate meeting/retreat/team building space at the venue all year long (which can include petting Clydesdales) and representation at shows around the country in which the Cobbs compete from July through October.
“In our tack stalls when we travel, we have roll up banners, a station with logos. My partners come with me all across the country,” Karen enthuses.
And, she adds, “Who knows how many people have bought farms locally because of our show.”
“When we started this, we said it’s going to be more of a partnership,” Shannon adds. “Anything we can do to help our sponsors out, we do.”
Some of those benefits are sponsor packages Karen puts together for visitors during farm tours. There also is a loyalty program through which sponsors receive gifts such as additional tickets for tours or the show, which they can use as rewards for their customers. And, proving to be one of the most popular benefits, is a chance for one or more of the majestic Clydesdales to make an appearance at a sponsor-organized event.
Among the top sponsors of this year’s Grandview Invitational are AdventHealth Ocala, Ocala Electric Utility (OEU) and Showcase Properties.
“AdventHealth Ocala is excited to continue our multi-year partnership as the exclusive title sponsor for Grandview Invitational,” offers an AdventHealth Ocala spokesperson. “This partnership provides us with an opportunity to showcase the rich and storied history of the horses and horse farms in our community.”
“Ocala Electric Utility has been providing reliable and cost-effective electric energy to the Ocala community for 122 years. One of our goals is to build strong relationships within the community and we partner with local businesses through event sponsorships,” notes Tony Clayton, OEU Supervisor, Public Education.
He says the invitational is an opportunity for OEU to be a part of an event that not only brings local recognition to those involved, but also participate in Grandview’s nationwide events that “showcase our amazing Ocala community.”
Broker, owner and realtor, Valerie Dailey, with Showcase Properties of Central Florida, says the firm has “been a proud sponsor of Grandview since its inception and we’re excited to see such a unique equestrian event develop and grow.”
“There’s nothing quite like it in Central Florida,” she adds. “We have such a wide variety of horse shows that showcase so many breeds and disciplines. The invitational and its Clydesdales is an important part of that diversity. Bringing all types of horse events to the area is what being the Horse Capital of the World is all about.”
As for social distancing at this year’s invitational, Shannon and Karen both assure prospective guests that the Florida Horse Park is the perfect venue.
“There are open arenas, open barns,” Shannon explains. “It is all covered, but it is all open air. We also are setting up hand sanitizing stations and more washrooms. We are doing our part that way.”
“It’s amazing the draw the show is getting,” Karen adds. “It’s exploding. People love it. It’s not just a horse show.”
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, call Karen Cobbs at (260) 388-4279.
Ocala Electric Utility
Jeep Dodge Ram
Koontz Furniture and Design
Miller & Sons Plumbing Inc.
Equine Performance Innovative Center
Chick-fil-A Paddock Mall
Angie Lewis – State Farm Insurance
Melisa L. Militello, P.A.
Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital
Kelly’s Auto Repair & Service Inc.
Big Daddy Unlimited
If You Go
Florida Horse Park, 11851 SW 16th Ave., Ocala
Gates open 8am; shows begin at noon
Ticket options range from single day to three-day passes, with options for box and VIP seating and camping.
A Casino Night fundraiser will be held February 5th, with games, entertainment and food. The Grandview Gala will take place February 6th, with a meal, special live performance and dancing.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to grandviewinvitational.com