I'm planning to be there for sure Thursday-Sunday. I want to do and see absolutely everything. I've never done this before, so I figured I'd make a blog about the hows of getting there.
As fellow blogger Pony Express pointed out, advance tickets to Rolex go on sale Tues, November 1, 2016 for the 2017 event. This year's Rolex runs April 28-May 1.
Early bird (11/1-12/8) prices are:
$75 for Ground Admission. My understanding is that this gets you in the KHP and access to XC, but does not get you seats for Dressage and Stadium. There is a price break for groups of 6 or more, but at present, I do not have a group.
I plan to be there for both days of dressage and stadium, so I also need to order those.
Now, I've never been to the Kentucky Horse Park nor have I paid that much attention to it. Here's a diagram and last year's price breakdown (I think). My prices are coming off the RK3DE site for 2017.
Plus you can get up and move around during dressage and stadium doesn't take that long... I'm learning towards uncovered stadium seats on day 1 when it's not crowded, bleacher seats on day 2 when it is, and uncovered stadium seats for show jumping. That makes $11 Thursday, $12 Friday, and $35 Sunday, for a total of $58. Thoughts? Terrible idea? I just want to sit everywhere, ok?
There are hospitality tents and the Kentucky Patron club and all that, but let's be real: people in my income bracket do not drop $700 on tickets.
Another cool add on is commentary headsets. One day is $25, Two is $40, and three is $50. I like commentary on dressage to keep it from getting boring. I don't really see the point for show jumping--non horse people can figure that sport out. Add another $40 here.
You can pay to upgrade to premium parking, but general admission parking is included in your grounds pass. You can also pay for a tailgating package that includes 6 grounds passes, which is super cool, but since I'm not local and don't have six friends with a tent and a grill and prefer to be mobile, that will not be happening this year. There's also an option for "on site glamping", which means you and a friend pay $1800 for the weekend to sleep in a tent with no power. Sorta seems non-glamorous to me, but again, out of my price bracket.
There is a $10 service charge for placing the order, which brings my ticket total to:
$75 grounds fee
$58 individual events
$10 Convenience Fee
$183 in tickets
There are definitely more budget ways to do this. This would get me to all the same events but picking the cheapest options--here's what comes to mind:
$69 early bird grounds fee for group of 6 or more.
$45 individual events, always picking cheapest seats
$0 pass on headset
$10 Convenience fee
$124 in tickets
Or if you want to pass on Thursday entirely, there's the option to do this:
$57 three day grounds fee for group of 6 or more
$37 individual dressage friday and show jumping sunday
$10 convenience fee
$104 for three days of entertainment
Obviously, you can do a whole variety of these. I'm trying to make good choices. I don't want to spend money on things I won't use, but I also don't want to regret missing something on a trip like this. Weigh in, bloggy folks: what's to be done?
PS Show wrap up later!
PPS Apparently it's a holiday.
I still want to go back, but I'm not sure it's going to be in the budget if I want to show a lot in the spring. :(ReplyDelete
Yeah that's definitely a real concern. I'm hoping that by staggering the costs like this, it will be less prohibitively expensive, but we'll see.Delete
I'm in the midst of planning a girls trip there! When I went 3 years ago we got uncovered seating for every day and though we got a bit rained on on Sunday I would still go with uncovered. Also, on Thursday and Friday both we sat kinda wherever we wanted as there wasn't a ton of seats full.ReplyDelete
I know how to work a poncho. Good to know!Delete
I just can't wait to see what kind of deals you come home with....haha.ReplyDelete
hahahaha uh yeah better start saving now i thinkDelete
I'm so jealous!!!! I would totally spring for the headset but that is just me and I've never been.ReplyDelete
1) You should come with!Delete
2) I know I want the headset if I'm watching by myself. If I'm with friends, I think it might be less of a thing? Not sure here.
nah the headset is awesome. pro tip: buy one headset per pair of friends and each take on ear bud. can still chat and hear things outside of the commentary, but the commentary is totes worth it lolDelete
My life is too up in the air for the spring to commit to it this year. Also if my favorite little German (Michael Jung) is there I will love you forever if you get a picture with him (not sure if the me loving you forever is a selling point or not tho...)Delete
100% get the headset, even if you are with friends.Delete
I wish but I can't this year! Wahhhhhh!ReplyDelete
You just described me every year up until now.Delete
I've never been to Rolex, but did WEG at the horse park and it was phenomenal! You're going to love it! Hopefully I'll be able to go in a couple years!Delete
I usually just go for XC, but I'm planning on being there pretty much the whole time this year so I can hopefully come home with a Dressage saddle. I will totally let you spend my money in vendor village. :-D Also, reiterating my offer to pick you up and give you a place to stay for one night if you fly into Indianapolis. + Connor time of course.ReplyDelete
Ok. I'm going to be pricing flights and rental cars here shortly and I'll be in contact. ;-)Delete
If you've got the opportunity to do something you've always wanted, and may not get another chance, then go big. Don't go crazy, but your plan sounds like you'll take advantage of everything you can see.ReplyDelete
You're gonna have so much fun!
Haha yeah definitely trying to balance my miser "do it on the cheap" self with taking full advantage of the experience.Delete
i wannnnnna gooooooo!!!!ReplyDelete
DOOOOO EEEEET EMMA THE CAVE TROLL LIVESDelete
DOOOO EEEET EMMA. I am going too and am feeling the need to meet peoples!Delete
I sat in covered seating in 2014 and had no issues with the pillars (I don't even remember seeing them?). It paid off - I managed to avoid getting sunburnt on SJ day.ReplyDelete
I sat in 104 for both dressage days, and either 209 or 210 for SJ. The dressage ring is so far away, that I'd opt for front row of the first section if you want to watch. Up higher for SJ was better so it was easier to see the whole course. Absolutely get headsets for Dressage, by the time I realized I wanted them, they were sold out. The pillars aren't that bad, but it is luck of the draw. Expect to not be able to move (and to kick people out of your seats) on SJ day.ReplyDelete
Hang around after the first dressage day to see the second day horses do ring familiarization.
I organized a group of 18 (which was crazy, but I got mad points on my CC for a $2000+ order!). I got a group discount for us (note that a group is like 6 people).
You don't need premium parking, just get there early on Saturday and Sunday. You'll need to if you want to stake out a specific spot for XC day. Walk XC at the end of the Dressage day 2 and pick where you want to be (water? or a spot you can see 5-6 jumps?)
Umm if you want to know anything else, you know how to get a hold of me!
Oh, do your shopping on Thursday. I hemmed and hawed about things and decided to see if they went on "better sale" at the end of the weekend. They didn't. In fact, most things were sold out. So don't hold out for weekend-last-day deals.Delete
Thanks!! Good tips for sure.Delete
I don't know how people found better deals on Sunday (as they're commenting on here). Maybe I wasn't looking for the right items, because most everything I was interested in was completely gone.Delete
Do a majority of your shopping on Sunday because that's when the best deals are going. Enter all the giveaway's at vendors. They take forever but I have friends that have won them! I love dressage but I'd never buy tickets for both days again, just me. They usually stream it on the big screens and you can hear whats going on. See the actual park on Thurs/Friday if you can or if you never have. Venture away from the Park too, Lexington is the best :)ReplyDelete
I will put Alyssa's name on all the giveaways. That girl wins everything.Delete
I am actually going to Rolex as well, from my last experience in 2013 I would say buy dressage seats only if you really want to see it. The ring is not close to the seating and eventually is as exciting as any other dressage horse show. I ended up watching only about an hour of tests and then shopped. I sat in bleacher seats for SJ (Fun note, if you look at video of the last jump in 2013 and see a yellow blur in the background, that is me!) and I am buying seats this time. You have to pick your spot EARLY for bleachers and space does run out and you would have to stand. We had to park in the bleachers at 10a and there were already people there. The bleachers were "full" about an hour before SJ started.ReplyDelete
You don't need premium parking, you are going to do a lot of walking all day and paying for premium parking seemed silly to me. YMMV.
Bring your own lunch. Grabbing food from the vendors is great and all, but expect to spend apx $10-20 per person per meal. $10 is on the extreme low end. I packed a lunch meat sandwich each day and it worked wonderfully. Use the vendors for snacks.
I am seriously on the fence about the headset as well, I am not sure what I will do tomorrow when they go on sale. Woohoo! Rolex!
Oh good to know about the bleachers and the food. No sense diverting tack $ to eating!Delete
The lines for food are also insanely long when you actually want to eat something.Delete
We did the cheap bleacher seats for stadium last year and it was MISERABLE. Sunday dawned hot and humid, and we sweated and sunburned on those stupid bleachers. (The tan lines from Rolex stuck around all summer long!)ReplyDelete
So glad you're getting to go!!
Haha I'd way rather have it be cold and rainy than hot and humid.Delete
I've only been once and we got seats for both dressage days and jumping. No head sets which I wish I had gotten. We got bored pretty fast with dressage because even being in the 100 range of seats, we were far away from the dressage court. We ended up hanging out by the warm up rings and being so close you could reach out and touch them if you wanted to risk your fingers being ripped off by a coach or groom. The better pairs went on Friday, so my recommendation would be to get seats Friday only and hang out at the warm up ring a bunch.ReplyDelete
As for shopping, the deals are better Sunday but the crowds are huge and the vendor areas tiny. I can't do pushing and shoving and watching people tear away at bins. I'd recommend shopping Thursday and if you want to wait for the better deals, make a list of what you want to go back for.
There will be professional course walks posted at various vendor booths that they sponsor. We ended up getting to walk the course with ML (her first year at Rolex and before the blood issues of late) and Michael Pollard. It was a great experience. Check out the booths on Thursday and Friday for who is walking and when and tag along. You wont regret it.
I completely forgot about course walks!! Good call.Delete
you can always tailgate with us! Here's to hoping it doesn't pour down rain AGAINReplyDelete
Def planning on crashing that shindig.Delete
Best day for shopping is Thursday unless you enjoy elbow to elbow crowds. Worst day is Saturday because everyone rushes off XC at the exact same time. I'm only about 2 1/2 hours away so we usually go down on Thursday to shop. Depending on how much dressage you like you can catch it all in the corners of the ring for free in between shopping runs. Also, the food. And do make a trip to the Liquor Barn.ReplyDelete
Good point about Saturday.Delete
I've been doing Thursday -Sunday for the last 4 years. I have a huge group of events friends that kinda plan and coordinate /party together. And get the group rate together.ReplyDelete
My 2 cents
Skip dressage Thursday and shop and find a good course walk. Best shopping day. they have the jumbo screen in the arena. You can see the rides better anyway and hear the commentary for free ;). If you want to experience dressage do it Friday. Keep in mind you may want to find a course walk Friday too. Also Thursday if there is the occasional rider you want to see you can always stand under the Rolex sign and watch a couple rides.
Definitely no commentary Sunday. I'd much rather talk about stadium rides with the person next to me than have a head set on. Though for dressage I get why it would be useful. Stadium We always get covered seats for rain or sun. Pillars aren't really a big issue. Xc we walk and walk and occasionally stop at a friend's tent especially if it's raining they have food and alcohol. No rain mostly walk from jump to jump.
Other suggestions, find a friend who is rich enough or a good enough actor to actually consider buying something from dubarry and hang out with them getting drunk on all the free champagne you can handle. This is typically a Friday activity for us. Thursday is truly hard core shopping. You have space and time to check everything out make solid thought out purchases. We leave Friday and Saturday for the "things we really wanted but couldn't talk ourselves into sober but now we're drunk so buy all the things" impulse buys. Keep in mind that there are done good deals here and there Rolex shopping isn't to save a bunch it's for touching feeling and trying on every horse item imaginable all in one place.
Great advice. Thank you!Delete
Oooh! I should start looking at tickets/planning here soon. My good buddy from college has a house in Lexington and I've been meaning to visit her. I might not be able to swing Thurs-Sun, but I'm thinking Friday-Sunday.ReplyDelete
I wish I could go this year. I recommend the audio for show jumping in addition to dressage. The commentary is really good and I always learn a lot from listening to it. My husband and I split the headphones and then we can talk to each other as well as here the general announcements in addition to the commentary. I really like getting Kentucky Club on Saturday and it's not that much, but it's definitely expensive. As it has poured all day on XC day the two times I've been and I liked having cover. Oh, and buy the program on your first day. It's helpful.ReplyDelete
ERMAHGERD, THE JEALOUSY IS BURNING MY SOUL!!!!!!ReplyDelete
I went in 2013 and despite not being up to a ton of walking (newly-diagnosed AI disease, yay, better now) had a super time! I was there for the weekend only having enjoyed watching dressage on the live-stream before I left home. XC day was dreary and drizzly but still oh, so much fun. You just can't believe the size of the jumps until you stand next to/in them!ReplyDelete
There's a reason Dubarry sells a crap ton of boots - tall waterproof boots are ESSENTIAL. I didn't have any and managed to completely soak my feet the first five minutes. I did go to the Dubarry tent, gawk at the handsome tweed-glad Irishmen, drink a glass of champers and try on boots. Luckily (?) they were ridiculous on me (too wide) so I was spared from spending $400 I didn't have anyway. The rest of the shopping was a BLAST. Since I don't currently own a horse I was in a different mode than you'll be, but I was still in heaven!
I sat in a covered seat for SJ and also don't remember any pillars. I was pretty high up but could see fine. It will be packed... as someone else said, be prepared to do battle with someone who thinks your seat is better than theirs. OTTH, it is possible to sneak down into a closer seat yourself towards the end.... ahem. I wound up right next to the rail when some folks in mega-$$ box seats packed up and left early to beat the crowd.
Honestly, some of my biggest thrills came lurking by the warm-up ring on SJ day. I got to see a ton of big names practically within touching distance, just being alone, quiet and staying well out of the way. I can report that WFP is truly insanely tall especially in his black velvet British hunt cap with about a 10" peak. I heard DOC lecturing his Canadian team and Sir Mark talking to his groom after a round.
Really glad you're going and I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time!
This will be our 4 year to go - first advice: reserve your hotel NOW! Georgetown hotels are most likely already sold out.ReplyDelete
Shop on Thursday for best deals/best selection.
I prefer the open seating for dressage for the best view and hubby taking pics but rain happens. Yes - you might end up behind a pillar sitting in the covered seats and you won't know till you get there.
Food is pricey so take snacks and water bottles. Ask the local where to go for dinner :) We like Red State BBQ - not far from the horse park but be prepared to stand outside and wait for a table and Galvin's in downtown Georgetown - they have a great lineup of local craft beers on tap!
I'm still debating if I am going this year. I normally go all 4 days, shop Thursday/ watch without seats, buy a ticket Friday, wander around Saturday, buy seat for Sunday. :)ReplyDelete