About half the students who attend Howard Community College rely on financial aid to help pay their tuition and other expenses. On Saturday, Sept. 22, some horses are going to see what they can do to help.
The American Cafe Columbia Classic Grand Prix is scheduled for Sept. 22 at the college, to benefit the school's scholarship fund.
Last year, despite terrible weather that included temperatures inthe 50s, the show raised $15,000 and drew approximately 2,500 spectators.
But this season, event officials hope to raise $75,000 and draw 5,000 to 6,000 spectators.
"There has been a more concentratedeffort on the part of the college and the Grand Prix advisory board to increase attendance and financial support from the community," Grand Prix Chairman Evelyn Bolduc said.
Four businesses, including primary sponsor American Cafe, already have donated $15,000 each.
"To get this much support early on is very encouraging," Bolduc said. "This is an indication that the goal of $75,000 is realistic."
She added that other attractions at the show should increase attendance and help raise money. Those attractions include pony rides for kids, miniature horse petting (with photographs available) and an exhibitionarea with antiques and artworks.
The horse-jumping show benefits the HCC Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and educational services for community college students.
Tickets are $5 and $20. Tailgating spaces and free general seating are available.
The event features professional and amateur riders from throughout the United States.
Michael Matz, the leading all-time money winner on the Grand Prix circuit, and Debbie Shaffner,last year's winner, will attend.
Two races are scheduled for Sept. 22: the $25,000 Grand Prix, which starts at 3:30 p.m., and the $5,000 junior amateur event, which begins at 1 p.m.
AMERICAN CAFE COLUMBIA CLASSIC GRAND PRIX
Professional and amateur riders will race their horses through a course that includes hurdles and perhaps a water hazard.
When: Sept. 22
Where: Howard Community College