As I sit here writing this column, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is underway at Post Time Farm on the outskirts of Ocala. I can imagine the level of excitement and anticipation the riders and their families must be feeling. As a matter of fact, one of our own editors, Bonnie Kretchik, is a HITS rider, and the excitement here in the office is palpable.
For another seven weeks, riders and their equestrian counterparts will compete at the HITS showgrounds for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, not to mention a spot in the exclusive $1 Million Grand Prix. And while thousands will travel to the farm to witness the majesty of these horses and riders in person, the HITS impact is felt countywide. Through living expenses, lodging, food and entertainment, our community sees a nearly $50 million dollar boost during the HITS circuit.
We here at Ocala Style are longtime supporters of HITS and are proud to be a corporate sponsor once again this year. In this issue of the magazine, we feature some of HITS’ top young riders. These junior hunter/jumper riders compete in the 17 and under category and are on their way to becoming HITS’ next biggest stars. The life of an equestrian can often be demanding and time consuming, but these teens successfully balance their training with the demands of high school and family life.
And speaking of our youth, you won’t want to miss the Southeastern Youth Fair this month. Through agricultural education, students are provided a hands-on learning experience raising sheep, goats, pigs, cattle and more.Let’s support their efforts and cheer them on.We applaud all of the exceptional young people in our community.
February also kicks off Daytona’s Speed Weeks, including the beginning of the Nascar season and the prelude to the incredibly popular Bike Week, March 9-18. It wasn’t hard to find plenty of hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts right here in Ocala, many anticipating a trip to Daytona in the coming weeks. The couples featured in our “Revved Up Love” story have found a passion for the open road… together.
Every month, I am so excited to hold the finished version of the magazine in my hands. An incredible amount of time is spent planning stories, taking photos, writing headlines and artistically designing each graphic element.I always feel like each new issue is the best we’ve produced yet. Our goal is for you to feel the same.
Until Next Time,