Pictured here with a Thoroughbred mare by Favourite Trick, Pete Hormes as the new executive director with the Desert Park Exhibition Society in Osoyoos, says the new board is excited about trying to bring numerous events to town and turning Desert Park into a multi-purpose facility for years to come.
The new board of directors with the Desert Park Exhibition Society are excited about a new spirit of co-operation with Town of Osoyoos council and senior administration and confident they can expand the facility into a multi-purpose venue for years to come.
Pete Hormes, who has officially accepted the position as executive director of the Desert Park Exhibition Society following a recent nomination meeting in Osoyoos, said he’s looking forward to working with the town to make Desert Park an outstanding horse racing facility as well as community venue that would host dozens of events every year.
“We would be more than excited to host car shows, dog shows, big music events, major soccer tournaments and ball tournaments,” said Hormes, who lives in Okanagan Falls. “We realize we can no longer exist to host two horse racing dates each year.
“We have to become much more of a venue for multiple events and multiple sports and we think we can achieve that goal.”
The two horse racing dates for 2015 have been confirmed and will be held only two weeks apart on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Saturday, Aug. 22, said Hormes.
The new board of directors with the Desert Park Exhibition Society include Hormes, Mike Valliere, Tony Thompson, Dean Gauthier, Silvana Huber, Brian Starkey and Granny Quintal.
Osoyoos is one of the most beautiful tourist destination communities in British Columbia – and all of Canada for that matter – and Desert Park is the one facility in town capable of hosting large-scale events to attract visitors from outside the South Okanagan, said Hormes.
One of the top priorities for the society is to try and raise funds so that the grandstand can be repaired as quickly as possible, said Hormes.
While he didn’t want to divulge too many details until it becomes official, Hormes said town council has committed to providing some funding so the grandstand building can be repaired and upgraded in the near future.
That is extremely encouraging news, he said.
“We’re so pleased that the town and town council is prepared to give some money to fix up their own facility,” he said. “I’ve been at this facility on numerous occasions over the past couple of years and always found it curious that we have this grandstand, but couldn’t use it. Hopefully we’re on our way to changing that.’
Among the most loyal supporters of the horse racing events at Desert Park are local snowbirds who leave the community to spend the winter months in Arizona or Florida, said Hormes.
“Many of them will be returning home very soon and I’m sure they will be very pleased that our new mayor and council are supportive of our plans to upgrade this facility,” he said. “Repairing the grandstand is really good news for the town and the people who live here as it will allow us to hold more events and better events.”
The new board of directors features many committed community-minded volunteers who strongly believe Desert Park can become the focal point for a myriad of community events on top of two or three annual horse racing dates, said Hormes.
With the value of the Canadian dollar dipping and Osoyoos being so close to the American border, there’s a great opportunity to attract a large contingent of American bettors to the two racing dates in August, he said.
“We’ve had great success with our horse racing dates over the last two years and we see increased opportunities for even better results this year,” he said. “Horse racing brings all sorts of people to our community who have never been here before and we feel once they come here, they will want to return.”
The Desert Park Exhibition Society is holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Sonora Community Centre.