Masters brings record crowd

DAVE DORMER

, Last Updated: 2:09 PM ET

With 67,879 fans on the grounds, Spruce Meadows set a new single-day attendance record during yesterday's Masters.

And Mother Nature played a big part in that.

With the temperature reaching a high of 27C and not a single cloud visible in the sky, the conditions were perfect for taking in the biggest show jumping competition on the planet, said Ian Allison, vice president of media services.

"Not only was it clear, it was crystal clear," he said.

"I know the photographers who were up in the helicopter weren't worried about shadows. It was a really comfortable temperature for the sport, there was a light breeze and the fans of Calgary, and Canada, and the world, were treated to exceptional sport, not only in the BMO Nations Cup but in the BP Cup."

Allison said he arrived at the grounds just after 6 a.m. yesterday and was surprised to see the crowds had already started to arrive, hours before the first event.

"There were people sitting in their chairs on the grass, and I looked out off the patio and asked, 'Did you stay here overnight?' and they just laughed," Allison said. "I think it goes to the passion and enthusiam people have, they don't want to miss any of the action."

The stadium was so full, in fact, for the BMO Nations Cup, extra seating had to be opened on the north end of the International Ring to accomodate everyone.

"It was small things like the retirement of Judgement -- there wasn't a dry eye in the house," Allison said on a ceremony for Beezie Madden's mount, the winningest U.S.-born horse ever."

Allison said he's hoping for another record today.

"We're hoping, but 65,000, 66,000, 67,000, they're all great days," he said.


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