Six years ago, a change in leadership brought new and exciting prospects to our fairgrounds. That’s when an idea took shape and behind-the-scenes planning was underway for a grand, new addition.
Fast forward to 2017 when I hear that we are about to break ground on an equestrian show facility! Whhhhaaaaat??? As a lifelong “horse person,” I just knew I had to be a part of this! I trotted (see what I did there) into my boss’s office to see if the rumor was true and asked calmly (ok, not even close to calmly) what I needed to do to be involved. After many discussions about all the boring stuff involved with a new project, I learned that not only was I going to be involved, I was going to be in charge of the brand-new facility! Is it even considered work if it is something you love? My euphoria over the idea of horse-related job duty did not last long, though, before I started to comprehend the scope of the project. This was a massive undertaking and required planning on items I did not even know we needed…until we did.
Throughout the entire process, the amount of collaboration from every department at the Alameda Country Fair has been awe-inspiring. Have you ever been involved in creating a logo? Color Scheme? How about something like just naming your new facility? I went to our marketing Department with a stick figure picture for a logo and they turned into the beautiful thing it is now. I have learned more about the composition of sand than any one person not actually selling the product should ever know. Oh, and do not get me started on staying within budget parameters! The word budget is a bad word in my opinion!
Planning for construction of the facility was another big learning curve for me. We already had the location for the proposed project along with great infrastructure already in place for hosting these types of events. We just needed some small (or major) items to get it up and running. Months were spent researching everything from railings, arena drags and footing, to manure removal and drainage. There were site visits, sample procurement and talking with experts in the industry.
Then, just when I thought everything was on track and coming together nicely, Mother Nature decides to throw life at me in the form of a very wet, although very needed, rainy winter. Months of rain halted all progress. I stalked the weather sites daily and finally we had about five days straight with no rain. In those five days we had to get the ground prepped, staffing coordinated and 58 loads (that’s 1452 TONS) of material dropped.
In the end, however, our amazing and hardworking crew has taken an uneven patch of earth that had been mainly used for parking and turned it into the home of not one, not two, but THREE gorgeous arenas lined by grass berms and trees. The hours upon hours of painting, leveling and maintenance have all paid off and transformed our 600+ stall racing facility into something truly show worthy.
And I am proud to say the wait is finally over; the beautiful new Pleasanton Equestrian Center is now open and ready to serve all of our community’s horse event needs!