Only two days before a bid meeting in Switzerland, the United States has withdrawn from the bidding process for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, leaving a Canadian site one of the final three candidates.
Bromont, Que., is now up against only Rabat, Morocco, and Vienna.
Last November, Equestrian Sport Productions put together a bid to stage the World Equestrian Games in Wellington, Fla., which offers the largest and longest-running equestrian tournament in the world, attracting 5,000 horses and 1,000 riders from Canada, United States, Europe and South America.
Wellington bowed out of the contest, according to a release from the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), because of a change in local government that prompted ESP president Michael Stone to say that "we have a responsibility to the local community, equestrian sport and the FEI World Equestrian Games not to waste the time, effort and resources of all parties involved in the international selection process."
Stone did not return phone calls Monday but Roger Deslauriers, general manager of the Bromont complex, said he thought Wellington was a longshot, because the U.S. staged the most recent World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., two years ago. He also feels that Morocco is a longshot to win the bid, too.
"This bid is for the whole country," said Deslauriers, who is the father of top show-jumping rider, Mario Deslauriers.
The final three bidders will meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday to ask and answer technical questions about their bids. Deslauriers and a group including Pauline Quinlan, mayor of Bromont, left for Switzerland Monday afternoon.
The event has been held outside Europe only once, in 2010 when it was staged near Lexington, Ky. In 2014, the event will be held in Normandy, France.
The World Equestrian Games, which serves as the world championships for eight equestrian disciplines, including the Olympic ones of show-jumping, dressage and three-day eventing, is held every four years.