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Equestrian event under a big red tent

April 1st, 2013 / By: / Event Production, Project Briefs

Creative Tent International fabricates big touring structures for equestrian show.

When a touring equestrian show needed a clearspan structure that could handle acrobats flying through the air, tens of thousands of pounds of suspended equipment and more than 2,000 spectators, it turned to Creative Tent International of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., for a voluminous solution.

“Typically equestrian shows are done with large pole tents,” says Brad Kramer, Creative Tent Intl. CEO. “[The client] really wanted a clearspan, so the engineering challenge we had to overcome was the 200-foot-wide structure, 80-feet tall, and we had to be able to suspend 30,000 pounds of acrobats, lighting and sound.”

Nicknamed “Big Red,” the eight-story, 200-by-225-foot structure utilized a red 22-oz. coated fabric by Naizil® and a black interior. Creative Tent also built the aluminum truss configuration to span the 200 feet and provide the utility load requirements.

“All of our trusses were black anodized because it was a show tent that was going to have moving lights,” says Kramer. “They didn’t want to have reflections off the frame structure.”

Because the tent is intended to be installed, taken down and shipped over and over, graphics of 70-foot-tall horses were cut out of black tent material and welded onto the red fabric, rather than being painted or printed, which would have run the risk of cracking or degrading over time.

In addition to the main show structure, the company manufactured an 80-by-240-foot structure for stables, an 80-by-60-foot structure for actors/dressing rooms, an 80-by-120-foot concession tent, an 80-foot-round VIP tent, plus entrances and connecting tunnels to form a tent campus. The project required about five months, including about 60 days in design and 90 days of manufacturing.

“We have made our name in the very large clearspan type structures, and we do a lot of work for the military, but this shows how quick we can move, and we were really proud of this project,” he says.

Kramer says that it is one thing to envision this size of structure on paper, and another to see it installed.
“In the air, it’s kind of breath taking,” he says.

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