After 35 years as the voice of the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, Nigel Casserley will not be returning to the event at the Kentucky Horse Park this year.
“I’ve spent 35 years getting [that sound system] to the most comprehensive of any four-star event in the world,” said Casserley, who founded National Equestrian Communications in 1976, providing public address systems and announcing services to competitions across the country.
He said he was told of the change in a phone call from Christina Gray, Rolex Kentucky director of competition, on Jan. 14. “I just don’t think you change 90 days before an event when one of the most important things of the event is the sound system,” said Casserley, of Shepherdstown, W.Va. “I was told it was for budgetary reasons; they’ve made some strange decisions over the last three years.”
In addition to announcing at Rolex Kentucky, Casserley is also the voice of events at Red Hills (Fla.), Richland Park (Mich.) and Rebecca Farm (Mont.), as well as many steeplechase races, and has no intention of retiring. "And I'm looking for more work now," he quipped.
“As our event moves forward, we constantly make changes,” said Gray in a statement to the Chronicle. “In 2011, we added tailgating and reining to the event and changed our cross-country course designer. In 2012, we brought in a full-time executive director and added a free public concert on Saturday. In looking ahead to 2013, our board felt that it was time to make a change with our event announcer. We wish Nigel well and offer him our deepest appreciation for all that he did for our event over the years.”
Gray said that British commentator and international course designer Michael Tucker would replace Casserley as announcer, and Brian O’Connor’s Speakeasy Ltd. would be handling the sound system and communications.