Feb 15-24, 2024
The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has been a prominent and beloved signature event in Scottsdale since 1956. Over the years, it has evolved in location and scale, but its dedication to showcasing Arabian horses has remained unwavering. One constant throughout its history has been its reliance on volunteers who contribute to its success. As part of the Scottsdale calendar, this event celebrates Arabians and has also been committed to community service from its humble beginnings.
The foundation of Scottsdale’s passion for Arabian horses can be traced back to around 1940 when several Arabian owners relocated to the city. Pioneers like the Merle Cheney’s, who owned Arabians at their ranch north of Scottsdale, and Anne and Fowler McCormick, who established a ranch here, played pivotal roles. Anne McCormick even raised renowned Arabians like Naborr.
In 1954, the International Arabian Horse Association approached Ed Tweed to help start the first Arizona Arabian Horse Association. In 1955, Tweed, along with Helen Wrigley and Anne and Fowler McCormick, sponsored the inaugural All Arabian Horse Show. Held at the Wrigley’s mansion stables and arena, the show featured around 100 horses and was commentated by Tweed from the bed of a truck. The following year, the show moved to the McCormick’s ranch in Scottsdale before finding a permanent home at Paradise Park, near the current intersection of Shea Boulevard and the Loop 101 Freeway.
During the late 1950s and 1960s, the association and its annual Arabian show gained more prestige as additional Arabian farms and ranches opened north of Scottsdale. Esteemed individuals like Tom Chauncey, Eugene LaCroix, and Dan Gainey became volunteer leaders in the Arabian Horse Association.
As the McCormick ranch was sold for development, Paradise Park relocated to 85 acres on Bell Road west of Scottsdale Road, where it hosted the Arabian Horse Show for over 15 years. However, as urban development encroached on the show’s site, the City of Scottsdale secured a long-term lease with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to establish an equestrian park north of the Central Arizona Project Canal and Bell Road. In February 1989, the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona moved the annual show to Scottsdale’s Horse World, which was later renamed WestWorld. For the past three decades, WestWorld has been the cherished home for the annual show and other Arabian Horse Association events.