Western States Horse Exposition to Draw Large Crowds to Rancho Murieta

RANCHO MURIETA -- This weekend is the Western States Horse Exposition and for the first time in 20 years, the event will not be held at Cal Expo.

After two decades in Sacramento, the rare breeds at the Western States Horse Exposition will be performing dressage in a new corral, at the Murieta Equestrian Center -- much to the delight of riders.

"Murieta is a really fun, exciting facility, so I think it’ll be a lot better than Cal Expo," said Cassie Siesser with the California Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team.

"Four arenas packed solid with clinicians and demonstrations," said Miki Nelsen, the president and founder of the Western States Horse Exposition. "Shopping from boots to tractors to barns and horse trailers for days."

Nelsen said the event is considered one of the largest horse shows in North America and she expects to draw in crowds from across the West Coast.

"You know, probably 15 to 20,000 would be our guess just based on pre-ticket sales," he told FOX40.

But Highway 16 only has two lanes for most of the drive from Sacramento. So over the weekend, some drivers may be using only one horsepower.

That risk of a slow trot didn’t seem to bother most Rancho Murieta residents FOX40 spoke with.

"I think it’s a minor traffic delay issue, a weekend, compared to the benefits to the community," said resident Jim Hyde.

Those benefits include attendees eating and sleeping in an area often overlooked by tourists.

"Yeah, helps the hotel, helps restaurants," said resident Fran Mason.

Nelsen said the CHP is assisting with traffic and the public won’t enter the show at the main entrance off the highway. Instead, drivers will turn right at the light at Murieta Drive and enter through the back.

"The owner of the facility built parking for 5,000 cars and it’s being professionally run," Nelsen explained.

Those going wine tasting in Amador County should be prepared to pull back on the reins heading through Rancho Murieta.

"I think just plan an extra five to 10 minutes, that’s all," Hyde said,

The event runs through Sunday and the busiest day is expected to be Saturday.

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