Wellington, FL – March 10, 2009 – The eighth annual Challenge of the Americas competition and Challenge Gala was held this past Saturday night, March 7 at International Polo Club Palm Beach. Held as a benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the event raised over $200,000.
Following Team International The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch’s dressage quadrille win the annual Challenge Gala got underway with an evening of dinner and dancing, sponsored by Hampton Green Farm. This year’s gala was held in the elegant Grand Marque tent at International Polo Club Palm Beach and featured a sit-down dinner catered by Aaron's Catering. Following the delicious meal guests socialized and danced to the music of DJ Jody McDonald, of Miami, Florida.
Top riders and trainers of the dressage world attended the Challenge Gala, along with generous sponsors and supporters. Party goers not only enjoyed dinner and dancing, but also had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items including riding lessons offered by top dressage trainers such as Michael Barisone, Jane Hannigan and George Williams.
Challenge of the Americas chairman Mary Ross spoke during the dinner, expressing her gratitude for the great turnout. “I want everyone to know how much we appreciate you supporting this event. This is such an important cause and so many people have generously given their time to contribute to this special night,” Ross stated. “Thank you so, so much.”
Ross has had a personal experience with breast cancer, losing her mother to the disease. “This competition is dedicated to all those who face their own challenge in the fight against breast cancer,” Ross expressed. “We all need to work together and support breast cancer research. If we do, we will win the battle.”
Laura Lassman, President of Play For P.I.N.K. also spoke at the gala. Play For P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) is a grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds to fight breast cancer, by creating and promoting awareness of breast cancer through sporting and lifestyle events. They contribute 100% of all funds raised to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
“We are so proud of Mary for supporting such a great cause. This year was absolutely incredible and every year gets better,” Lassman smiled. “The money given goes to 160 of the best researchers throughout the United States to help find a cure for this disease that affects so many. You are giving money to one of the best foundations that ever existed.”
This year’s Challenge of the Americas and Challenge Gala could not have happened without the help and support of so many people. The riders who performed so beautifully in the evening’s competition and opening performances all did a wonderful job. Top dressage riders Susan Jaccoma, Pamela Goodrich, Jon Ingram, Jane Hannigan, Ashley Holzer, and Courtney King-Dye all helped open the competition, performing with their talented horses.
The winning team, Team International The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch was made up of riders Marco Bernal, Patrick Burssens, Heather Bender, Shannon Dueck, Katherine Bateson-Chandler, and Juan Matute. Team Purina Mills USA included Betsy Steiner, Pamela Goodrich, John Zopatti, James Koford, Chris Hickey, and George Williams.
Many companies and organizations came together to help support the Challenge of the Americas through their sponsorship. International Polo Club Palm Beach was the event’s presenting sponsor, with Purina Mills and Merrill Lynch sponsoring the individual teams. SSG Gloves was a Challenge of the Americas and reception sponsor, and Hampton Green Farm sponsored the Challenge Gala. Cunningham & Cunningham provided the official insurance, King Ferry Winery provided the official wine, and Equestriangraphics.com did the program and website design. Palm Beach Equine was the official veterinary clinic for the competition.
Other generous sponsors included: United States Dressage Federation, Back on Track, Dressage at Devon, ViaGen, Neiman Marcus, Tackeria, Dover Saddlery, Red barn Feed & Supply, Ecogold, Palm Beach Farriers, Jamaica Tent, Klassic Kur, and Custom Freestyle, Inc.
For information please visit www.challengeoftheamericas.com.