Let’s Bring the Kentucky Derby style and flair to North Iowa!


The North Iowa Events Center is more than just the home of the North Iowa Fair.  With various buildings on site, they are capable of hosting vendor shows, weddings, and even livestock shows.  Until recently, it was also home of various hockey and ice-skating related activities.  When the new arena in Mason City was completed in 2019, these activities, including the North Iowa Bulls, moved downtown, leaving the Events Center with vacant space.

After a deep look into their revenue streams, they found the largest source of income is from livestock events, especially horse shows.  In 2021, the facility hosted 18 of these such events, resulting in 32,000 participants and countless community spectators.  Visit Mason City estimates about $4.1 million hit the local economy from these events alone.  A combination of hotels, restaurants, shopping and fuel purchases.

We are so accustomed to rearranging our lives, whether that be indoor/outdoor activities or social events, around the unpredictable Iowa weather patterns.  Imagine if there was a place where these horse events could be held all year long?!?!

**light bulb**

As a result, the North Iowa Events Center has undertaken a capital improvement project which will convert the current horse arena so it can be utilized all year long.  This increased accessibility during the winter months to hold horse events will generate an additional estimated $2.1 million into the local economy.

Recently, my husband and I had the privilege of attending the Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

So fancy!

If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it is the premier social gathering for horse racing enthusiasts.

Which we are not, but we were that day!

Photocredit: @KentuckyDerby

Women dress in their finest fashions, donning ridiculously large hats, and place their bets as they sip on a Mint Julip, the official drink of the Derby.  As the Mint Julep contains bourbon (which is a hard pass for me) I stuck to my good ol’ Iowa girl roots with the Coors Light.

Photocredit: @KentuckyDerby

For the men, there is no such thing as too many patterns or colors.  In fact – the more, the merrier!  And having non-matching pieces of clothing is key for the ultimate derby attire.  It’s the one instance in life you can get away with wearing the loudest, most outrageous get-up known to man and people will think you look great!

The entire experience checked off a major bucket list item.  Seeing the horses, hearing the toot of the bugle before each race, it was incredible.  I have been to random races at Prairie Meadows before, but nothing compared to this.  The combination of outfits, drinks, delicious food I could shove down my gullet all day – it was the best!

Personally, I think such sophistication needs to happen in North Iowa.  Horse events in the Midwest aren’t always just about barrel racing and calf-roping.  Some are of the utmost elegance, such as dressage, which is described as the highest expression of horse training.

There is no other event like this in the area, so we would be the innovators starting a new trend.  Bright colors, big hats and bowties, it would be a spectacular show of pure awesomeness in North Iowa.

Raise your pinky, ‘cause we are getting fancy-like up in here!

But first, funds must be raised as the renovation on such a large facility will not be cheap.  It is a huge undertaking for this organization, who’s main goal is to create a recreational complex for North Iowans, tourists and guests.  There is approximately one million dollars left to raise, but they are confident the communities of North Iowa will rally around this project to enhance the North Iowa experience.  Feel free to stop by and visit the facility to learn more about their plans for the renovation.  You can also contact the North Iowa Events Center at 641-423-3811 or email them at office@northiowafair.org.

We can do this, North Iowa!  We can become a premier destination in the Midwest for these horse shows and events, bringing visitors to our area from far and wide.  Together, we can build the North Iowa Events Center into a facility that all North Iowa can be proud of!

To learn more –>  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=725734015500272

Mark your calendars for these upcoming shows in 2022:

May 20-22: Open WSCA Pleasure Show

June 4-5: Cowboy Mounted Shooting

June 8-12: Mid States Summerfest Hunter/Jumpers

June 15-19: Mid States Summer competition

July 1-3: Open WSCA Ranch & Pleasure Horse Show

July 22: Iowa Quarter Horse Show