Last week the FEI issued a press release filled with invisible smiley emoticons about the Bromont bid proposal they ever so graciously heard in Lausanne. The first thought that crossed my mean little mind was that, just a few years ago, someone from the FEI (I think it was Alex McLin but it might have been his shaved-head doppelganger Richard Johnson) said to a room full of media – actually it’s coming to me now, it was during the Olympics in Hong Kong – that the fact there was only one bidder at that moment (Normandy) for what the FEI calls its ‘flagship’ event (WEG) was an indication that the FEI brand needed a lot of work. Here we are four-and-a-bit years later, and oh my heavens look! There is only one bidder again. Oh sure, there were bids a-plenty in the early days, from the likes of Morocco and Welly World no less. But not one bidder made it past the sign up sheet. Bromont is the last man standing, but it’s been a short horse race.
I love Bromont. It’s in the middle of a heartbreakingly beautiful part of Canada (think Vermont with poutine). Not only that, when you drive through Bromont’s petite downtown on a warm summer’s eve, there’s a half-empty bottle of wine on every restaurant patio table. The place just begs to be enjoyed. Bromont has much to offer in terms of culture in the same sort of style that made Jerez (for me, at least) the most wonderful WEG experience ever. Accommodations in Jerez were limited and people just coped with commutes to the competition every day. Montreal is my second favourite city in Canada, after Vancouver bien sur. People who commuted from Montreal to Bromont for WEG would suffer little in return for enjoying the richness of that belle ville every evening.
To the Bromont Bid Committee, I wish you success. You need to lasso Mr. Harper if you are to have a cowboy’s chance of making this happen; if I weren’t so Conservative-averse I’d personally offer to swing the lariat.
If you manage to convince the FEI that they shouldn’t give Frank Stronach (yes, a technically Canadian businessman was in competition with Bromont until he decided he had more political fish to fry) a second chance to host in Austria, and that they shouldn’t consider Dubai’s Palm Islands as a last-minute venue (lots of water jumps!), then for goodness’ sake put some effort into getting Canada’s equestrian community on board. And rich sponsors, both corporate and otherwise. You’re going to need us all.