Category Archives: Benefits

National Horse Show Announces 2018 NHS Bluegrass Charity Benefit Initiative

Photo: Emily Moffitt and Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve.

Lexington, KY – Aug. 17, 2018 – The National Horse Show is excited to announce the 2018 NHS Bluegrass Charity Benefit on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3. Presented by Goshen Hill and Meralex Farm, the inaugural event will host local charities and their participants in Alltech arena at the Kentucky National Horse Park, for a chance to win a cash bonus to support their cause.

In order to participate, 501(c)3 organizations will submit an application and receive a unique ticket code to share with their supporters. This code will give attendees complimentary NHS tickets for either Friday or Saturday night. Through these specific ticket codes, those in attendance can be counted, and the charity with the most supporters in attendance will win the cash bonus. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three charities with the strongest attendance, with $5,000 awarded to first place, $3,500 to second place, and $1,500 to third.

Friday evening’s event will begin at 7pm with the inaugural $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic. Additionally, the charities in attendance on Friday night will be entered to win an additional cash bonus through an Athlete’s draw, where top hunter riders will draw the names of the charities in attendance. Charities that are chosen by the top three placing riders shall receive an additional bonus: First place will receive a $2,500 bonus, second will receive a $1,000 bonus, and third will receive a $500 bonus.

Starting at 7:00pm on Saturday, the charities will be cheering on competitors in the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington.

Winning charities will be announced following each class.

The National Horse Show has a long history of working closely with local charities to help raise money and awareness at the event, including the Grayson Jockey Club and UK Markey Cancer Research Center. If you are interested in applying, you can fill out an application here. The application should include the name of the charity, its website, its 501(c)3 certificate and Tax ID Number, Contact person name, email, and phone number. Charities wishing to get involved must register by October 15.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.

Arredondo Dressage Society to Host Horses Helping Horses Benefit for Horse Protection Assoc. of Fl.

Peter Atkins, one of the clinicians for this year’s Horses Helping Horses Benefit for the Horse Protection Association of Florida. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark)

Newberry, Florida (April 9, 2018) – The Arredondo Dressage Society will host the 9th annual Horses Helping Horses benefit on Saturday April 21st at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace in Newberry, Florida. Several of the region’s most talented dressage instructors will they donate their time and skills to perform a benefit clinic for Horse Protection Association of Florida (HPAF).  The Dressage Society website lists the clinicians, ride times and instructions for bidding on the clinics: www.arredondodressage.org.

The day is a day all about horses, and a day to raise awareness about equine rescues and sanctuaries and the lifesaving work they do year-round to care for the at-risk horses in their communities who have often been abused or neglected.  “Horses are majestic, loving animals, and we encourage our local and loyal supporters will come out so that we can continue our lifesaving efforts for years to come,” explains, Karen Curran the volunteer coordinator for the event.

To support this cause, Arredondo Dressage Society will sponsor events throughout the day.  The clinics offer riders and spectators a chance to see actual dressage training and work. The event will take place rain or shine in the Canterbury Showplace covered arena. In addition, the Arredondo Dressage Society will sponsor bake sales, used tack sale and raffles throughout the day. Equine companies such as Vita Flex, Triple Crown Feed, Omega Alpha, Transformer Equine and others have donated raffles prizes to support the cause.  The clinics offer rider and spectators a chance to see actual dressage training and work.  In addition, Arredondo Dressage Society has an online auction on its website, which will be finalized at the 5:00 pm Wine and Cheese Reception, with a live auction and bidding and a wine tasting sponsored by PRP Wines.

The Horse Protection Association of Florida (HPAF) staff will showcase some of the rescued animals and demonstrate some Parelli work with these horses, and they will be on-hand to answer questions and to educate the public about the work being done on behalf of the equines of Florida.

The following day, Sunday, April 22nd, Arredondo Dressage will sponsor a Schooling Show at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace.  Interested riders can sign up on its website.

Horse enthusiasts are invited to come for a fun day and support a most worthy cause and the schooling show on Sunday is also open to the public.

For more information, contact Karen Curran, Volunteer Coordinator, at 561-542-4448 or email her at kcurranlaw@aol.com.

www.arredondodressage.org

The Challenge of the Americas Going Global March 9

Photo courtesy of Susan J. Stickle.

The Challenge of the Americas (COTA) is busting down borders! Not only is COTA returning after a year’s hiatus to help find a cure for breast cancer; it’s so big, it’s going global.

COTA’s signature six-rider Grand Prix Quadrille Team Challenge will be held live on March 9 at the world-renowned Global Dressage Festival (GDF) show grounds in Wellington, Florida, and for the first time, it’s also being live-streamed via Chronicle TV.

To add more excitement, the competition will break down borders as one of the teams joins the four teams riding live to compete via video from Holland.

Six Dutch Grand Prix riders, Maria Anna Digman, Miranda Hoezen, Sylvia van den Broek, Michelle Westerdijk, Renee Zoomers, and Walda Zwart, are thrilled to join in the first international Challenge of the Americas to help end to breast cancer. Their freestyle will be pre-recorded and they’ll join Wellington-based Team Back on Track, Team MatchNRide, Team Purina, and Team Winged Foot via the big screen in the GDF International Arena.

Team Back on Track riders include Allison Kavey, Jim Koford, Nicole Levy, Sallie Spenard, Betsy Van Dyke, and Noel Williams. Cynthia “Tigger” Montague serves as choreographer and coach for the all-American team.

Team MatchNRide, whose riders hail from Canada, includes Patrick Battison, Jaimey Irwin, Tina Irwin, Harper Mackenzie, Evi Strasser, and Tanya Strasser. They are under the direction of choreographer Eva Pracht and musical creator Karen Robinson.

Team Purina, under the watchful eyes of choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo and coach Bill Warren, is comprised of Americans Charlotte Bredahl, Pam Goodrich, Kim Herslow, Kasey Perry Glass, Betsy Steiner, and George Williams.

Team Winged Foot, an international team made up of Marco Bernal, Raul Corchuelo,

Susanne Hamilton, Bridget Hay, Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, and Ilse Schwarz, is under the direction of choreographer and coach Ruth Hogan Poulsen.

Other global touches include a Grand Prix freestyle performance by top Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén aboard Paridon Magi, a pas de deux by U.S. riders Heather Blitz and Catherine Haddad Staller, and a quadrille showcasing the beauty and elegance of the PRE horse.

“It’s time we went global,” said COTA founder Mary Ross. “Breast cancer knows no boundaries and to help end breast cancer, we need to raise more donations ear-marked for breast cancer research. The best way for us to do this is to reach out to equestrians in other locations for their support.”

Funds from ticket sales, sponsorships and donations will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation through their partner Play for P.I.N.K. The mission of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Challenge of the Americas and indebted to everyone involved in wanting to see the end of breast cancer,” said Stephanie Hamburger, Executive Director of Play for P.I.N.K., a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). “The Challenge of the Americas’ support is critical to the research-funding capability of BCRF. The money raised will impact the lives of countless individuals and families affected by the disease.”

Join us Friday, March 9 at the Global Dressage Festival show grounds, or via live-stream on Chronicle TV. VIP tickets for the Challenge Gala are available at challengeoftheamericas.com. General admission tickets available at the door for $20.

“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” Online Auction Launches with the Awesome Gem

Proceeds from this fashion sale to benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 5, 2018 – The online fashion auction “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” kicked off this week with another beautiful handcrafted Derby chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the ninth year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off exclusive Derby hats online, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s retired racehorses. The fashion fundraiser has raised over $32,000 to date.

This new hat was inspired by Old Friends retiree Awesome Gem. The now 15-year-old gelding, once campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, is a multiple graded-stakes winner and counts among his victories the 2010 GR 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

For this launch, the beautiful chapeau was modeled by Krystal Court accompanied by her husband, leading jockey Jon Court, and their daughter, Aubrey.

Bidding on “The Awesome Gem” can be done between January 1st, 2018 and January 11, 2018 by visiting the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and following the link, or by CLICKING HERE and follow the “click to bid” button.

This new design showcases Awesome Gem’s chestnut coat along with his familiar West Point Thoroughbreds black-and-yellow racing silks.

The hat’s wide, 20-inch, flat-brim design was created out of deep yellow dupioni silk with a black lace overlay and a black taffeta edge. Adornments include a single yellow rose, fashioned out of swirling layers of deep yellow dupioni silk and soft lemon organza, which pays homage to the horse’s Gold Cup win, and a large shimmering button, made of chocolate, crystal, and platinum beads, which adds a final finishing touch.

As always, Steinmann included a physical remembrance of the horse, with strands of Awesome Gem’s tail hair woven into the trim.

Special thanks to EquiSport Photo for the images and video and to the Bella Rose Boutique of Lexington, KY for supplying the beautiful ensembles.

For additional information, contact the Old Friends office at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions – from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can been seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

USET Foundation to Host “Triumph in Tryon” Gala to Benefit US World Equestrian Games Teams

Gladstone, N.J. – Dec. 1, 2017 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce it will be hosting a World Equestrian Games benefit event on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. The “Triumph in Tryon” will help raise necessary funds for the USET Foundation to further support the United States equestrian team riders as they prepare and compete at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina.

During this celebratory evening, guests will enjoy cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. as well as a live auction for a chance to bid on some incredible items followed by dancing. The event will also include the presentation of three of the USET Foundation’s most coveted awards, the prestigious Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy, the Whitney Stone Cup and the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award.

Mark your calendars for the “Triumph in Tryon” and be sure to purchase your tickets no later than Dec. 20. This benefit will sell out! Tables and reserved seating are on a first come, first served basis. When making your table reservation, please indicate the names of your table guests.

You do not want to miss this fun and important event recognizing the USET Foundation’s generous supporters and our country’s top athletes, while continuing to raise funds for the 2018 World Equestrian Games! Invitations are in the mail or you may also purchase tickets and tables.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

“Buck Off” Championship Benefits Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center

Tuny Page, Ann Romney.

WELLINGTON (February 6, 2017) – The Real Bucking Deal showed who was boss as they captured first place in the exhilarating, crowd-pleasing Floridian Community Bank “Buck Off” Championship that benefitted Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.

Their victory on Friday night (Feb. 3) at International Polo Club concluded the largest tournament in the eight-year history of the mechanical bull-riding competition.

The Real Bucking Deal, sponsored by Nadine Allen and Sanjiv Sharma, finished with 296 points. The final used the Nations Cup format, as one rider for each of the four teams made up one round.

Every team had one rider thrown by the bull, adding tension to the spine-tingling competition.

After a first-round 0, Matt Goodman and Donnie Mills each scored 98 points for the Real Bucking Deal and crowd favorite 10-year-old Trent Ferreir, riding the anchor leg, clinched the victory in style with a perfect 100.

The costumed Floridian Community Bank Night Racers, dressed in NASCAR-like driving suits and helmets, finished second with a 288, highlighted by Shah Quereshi’s perfect 100 on the anchor leg with a “hands free” ride.

Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex was third with 280, led by Sam Walker’s 98, and The Tackeria, the youngest team in the competition with Kristos Magrini, Oliver Firestone, Christian Weisz and Harrison Azzaro, finished fourth with 278.

Celebrity judges for the final were Mike Smith and PJ Risvi Taylor Doebler and Juliet Reid.

The Floridian Community Bank “Buck Off” kick-started the 30th Annual Vinceremos Dinner and Benefit Auction, whose theme “Come One, Come All” celebrated the triumphs of man and his horse while highlighting the importance and generosity of the community in the center’s success. The gala was hosted by Mrs. Ann Romney.

Vinceremos is a world-class non-profit therapeutic riding center which has helped hundreds of riders with varying physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. The Vinceremos facility, which includes a large, covered arena, is located in Loxahatchee, directly behind Palms West Hospital.

In addition to title sponsor Floridian Community Bank, major sponsors include Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Tito’s Vodka, Nadine Allen and Sanjiv Sharma, Discount Dirtworks, Palm Beach International Academy, Equisport Division — Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Laas Equestrian Real Estate, Envisian LLC and Carl Schacter with Northwestern Mutual.

Floridian Community Bank has sponsored the “Buck Off” since its inception. This action-packed competition has grown every year, attracting more teams and more spectators. The bank has a history of community service and civic commitment with Vinceremos and other organizations in Palm Beach County.

The Floridian Community Bank “Buck Off” is organized by Eques Solutions (www.equessolutions.com). Eques Solutions professionally handles all aspects of the event, including the promotions and social media, as well as inviting teams and securing the celebrity judges.

About Vinceremos:

Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (www.vinceremos.org) is a non-profit organization that provides equine assisted therapies for persons with varying physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Founded in 1982, the VTRC facility is located in Loxahatchee, Florida, directly behind Palms West Hospital. The “Buck Off” and Annual Benefit play an important role in helping Vinceremos meet its financial goals.

Media Contacts:
Bobbi Rottman (561) 227-1537 or via email at Bobbi@EquesSolutions.com
Y. A. Teitelbaum (561) 373-5424 or via email at yagiants@aol.com

Polo for a Purpose Promotes Awareness, Supports Fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma

Brandon Phillips.

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2017 – The International Polo Club Palm Beach will welcome the first charity event of the year on Monday, January 16, hosting Polo with a Purpose, benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, while showcasing a high goal polo game in conjunction with a Gipsy Sound Revolution concert following the match. The event will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a 24-goal polo match and continue throughout the afternoon with entertainment and family fun.

P.J. Rizvi and Brandon Phillips, co-organizers of the event, alongside Visse Wedell and Penny Bradley, spend their year preparing and planning for the event, which aims to raise funds and awareness for those diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, all different forms of blood cancers.

“We started preparing for this event just a month after last year’s event, so it is something that we work on throughout the year,” said Phillips, a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a renowned polo player. “I’m excepting this year, by far, to be our biggest year yet.”

“The money we raise from this event benefits the local community and patients fighting these diseases. This is why Brandon and I do this event together and have become such good friends,” explained Rizvi. “My sister, Penny, passed away from leukemia and Brandon is a survivor. We hold this event very close to our hearts.”

Through the fundraising efforts of the Polo for a Purpose committee, more than $600,000 has been donated to the mission of finding a cure and supporting emerging treatments. This year, both Rizvi and Phillips are anticipating that number will greatly increase with the tremendous growth of the event.

“We want to create awareness and include everyone. This event is for the community,” continued Rizvi. “I always say that the motto for this event is that we’re chipping away at blood cancer one penny at a time.”

The event, which is not only open to the equestrian community, but also to the citizens of Wellington, will feature an elite polo match ahead of an exciting concert, all hosted on the polo grounds. Rizvi elaborated, “By supporting this event, you’re saving lives. People sometimes underestimate how important this research is. The money we raise goes to covering co-pays, transportation, second opinions, new research and so much more.”

As the event date approaches, event organizers are expecting a large turnout of supporters, spectators, and survivors on Monday, as it is a day of rest for the equestrian community and part of the holiday weekend. This is the first year that a concert has been incorporated into the event timeline and both Rizvi and Phillips believe that it will help to grow the event and add an extra element of fun to an already meaningful day.

“What we’ve been able to do in the last four years has just been incredible. I wish we could have started this fourteen years ago. You know that you want to give back and this event provides an outlet to do that,” added Phillips. “This year is going to be special. The proceeds will 100% go back to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®. It’s going to be a great game and it’s my goal to make these events fun. We want people to enjoy their time while supporting the cause.”

“When someone you love is diagnosed with blood cancer, your entire family is diagnosed,” concluded Rizvi. “We want to help the families in this community and support opportunities for research and treatment that will one day cure this disease.”

To purchase tickets for the event, please visit www.poloforapurpose.com or click here. To learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society®, please visit www.lls.org.

For more information about the International Polo Club, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.

Bull-Riding Teams to Benefit Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center

Dana Glass riding on the Palm Beach Forge team, the Championship winners from the 2016 VTRC Buck Off. Photo © Alex de Armas.

Wellington, Florida – Are you daring enough to be crowned the best bull-riding team for 2017?

Bring your team to the sometimes breathtaking but always entertaining mechanical bull-riding competition presented by the Floridian Community Bank to benefit the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.

The competition to crown the best bull-riding team begins on Thursday, January 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the White Horse Fashion Cuisine in Wellington.

Additional preliminary rounds are Thursday, January 19, and Thursday, January 26, at the White Horse Fashion Cuisine. Teams can compete in all three preliminary rounds in an attempt to qualify for the championships. The winning teams from each of the three preliminary competitions will advance to the championship round which is part of the 30th Annual Vinceremos Dinner and Benefit Auction on Friday (February 3) at International Polo Club.

Entry fee is $100 per team. To pre-register a team, please contact Bobbi Rottman at Bobbi@EquesSolutions.com or just show up ready to ride. Practice rounds are from 6-6:30 p.m. for $10 a ride.

One of the new highlights for the 2017 competition will be a Tito’s Vodka Bar featuring specialty drinks. All the bar’s proceeds will go directly to Vinceremos.

Four-person teams compete in the “Buck Off”, a crowd-pleasing, mechanical bull-riding competition where individual scores are totaled to determine the winning team of each round. Each rider is scored on the basis of traditional bull-riding rules and style and they must keep one hand in the air at all times. Extra points are given to teams for character, team “spirit” and costumes.

Judges for the first round include jumper extraordinaire Jimmy Torano, dressage rider Susie Dutta, Grand Champions Polo Club president and Flexjet patron Melissa Ganzi, jumper judge and Rocco’s Tacos owner Julie Kasle, and Josh Cohen, on-air radio host from ESPN 106.3 West Palm. Our guest emcee for the evening is Juan Ortiz.

Spots are still available for the first round. Anyone of any age is welcome to compete. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required. Riders under the age of 18 need a parent’s signature. If you don’t have a full team of four, the “Buck Off’ crew will help find you teammates.

In addition to Floridian Community Bank, major sponsors include Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Nadine Allen and Sanjiv Sharma, Discount Dirtworks, Tito’s Vodka, Marshall & Sterling Insurance – Equisport Division, Envisian LLC, Laas Equestrian Real Estate, and Carl Schachter with Northwestern Mutual.

Bill Carter, Vinceremos CEO, is pleased with the success of the Buck Off.

“The Buck Off inspires young people and builds legacy supporters for the organization,” said Carter. “We also believe it stimulates additional community participation with helping those who ride at Vinceremos.”

About Vinceremos:
Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (www.vinceremos.org) is a non-profit organization that provides equine assisted therapies for persons with varying physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Founded in 1982, the VTRC facility is located in Loxahatchee, Florida, directly behind Palms West Hospital. The “Buck Off” and Annual Benefit play an important role in helping Vinceremos meet its financial goals.

Media Contacts:

Bobbi Rottman (561) 227-1537 or via email at Bobbi@EquesSolutions.com

Y. A. Teitelbaum (561) 373-5424 or via email at yagiants@aol.com

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com

Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center’s Lexington Movie Night

From left to right: Volunteers Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Stephanie, Carolyn Drover, Catherine Flowers, Volunteer Kristen, Sarah Matl, and Erin Anuzis – all the MMSC employees, interns, and volunteers that were working to greet and check guests in. Photo by Susanna Thomas.

Exclusive showing of Sundance and Toronto Film Festival winning film Dark Horse

Lexington, KY. October 7, 2016 — Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC), a premier non-profit re-schooling facility for adoptable Thoroughbreds located at the Kentucky Horse Park, hosted a movie night featuring the award-winning documentary, Dark Horse.

The Dark Horse Movie Night took place on Thursday, October 6th at the historic Kentucky Theater at 214 East Main Street. The money raised from ticket proceeds will benefit MMSC’s initiatives to find a second career and future homes for off the track Thoroughbreds. Each horse is taught new skill sets through their re-schooling program while embracing the breed’s physical and emotional strengths and limitations.

Dark Horse is a documentary based on a true story about Dream Alliance, a horse born and bred by a syndicate in a depressed South Wales mining village. This horse performed against all odds and conquered the world of racing.

“We wanted to switch into fall gear by inviting the Lexington community to a fun, family friendly evening that we hope will bring both Lexington community members as well as the equestrian world together,” said Director of Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, Susanna Thomas. “With the constant support of our community members, we are capable of sharing our story and mission, which is able to leave an indelible mark in our hearts and transform the lives of Thoroughbreds.”

The event had open seating; VIP tickets provided patrons with access to the complimentary wine bar.

About Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center: The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) is a premier non-profit re-schooling facility and showcase for adoptable Thoroughbreds. Founded in 2004, the MMSC uses its illustrious location in the Kentucky Horse Park to herald the athleticism of this amazing breed by teaching new skill sets to horses of all levels of ability so they can go on to be ambassadors for racehorses in new careers.

Contact: Jessica Greene, Sirota Public Relations
212.486.3319, jessica@sirotapr.com

Barrel Racing Benefit to Be Held in Jacksonville, Fla. for Two-Year-Old Brain Cancer Patient

Photo courtesy of Sheri Wurth Images, LLC.

Jacksonville, FL (August 24, 2016) – “The perfect definition of the phrase ‘All Boy’” is how Brittany Rowland describes her blond two-year-old son Kasen, whose infectious smile is biggest when he’s outdoors playing in the dirt. “His imagination is out of this world,” says Rowland. “He will sit for hours at a time with his toy cars and trucks and have his own story line going.” The little boy was diagnosed with brain cancer just a few months ago, quickly transforming the Rowland family’s life into a cycle of hospital visits, MRIs, and continuous bad news – but thanks to their local Jacksonville, Florida community, a chance to enjoy an evening of outdoor farm life and an exciting barrel race while raising money for Kasen’s procedures is right around the corner.

On Saturday, September 24th, horse trainer Jimbo Albritton will be hosting a barrel race benefit for Kasen Rowland at Albritton’s farm, Flying A Performance Horses in Penney Farms (just outside of Jacksonville), at 3900 Paso Fino Rd., Green Cove Springs. The barrel race is being put on by Dreaming of Three, an organization that uses rodeos and other equine-related events to raise funds for children like Kasen who suffer from tragic diseases.

Jackie Harris, the founder of Dreaming of Three, explains, “Dreaming of Three was started after I lost my stepfather to cancer and my dad to a heart attack three months apart. When my stepfather was diagnosed, for Christmas I had no clue what to give somebody who had 12 months to live. So I decided memories would be the best gift. This is what we try to do with the rodeos and barrel races for kids like Kasen – for the families, it’s a night out, not thinking about doctors, treatments, and the illness. It’s just family time; a night with no worries while being treated like kings or queens.”

Everyone’s invited to join in the fun of the upcoming barrel race benefit, which in addition to the barrel race will include pony rides, face painting, a bounce house, vendors, food, a silent auction, and a blood donation bus for anyone willing to help Kasen through blood donations.

Kasen, for one, is looking forward to the event. “I think Kasen will enjoy getting out of the house, being outside, and experiencing something new and different,” Brittany Rowland says. She and Kasen’s father, Chad Rowland, will also enjoy a night of fun with Kasen and his older siblings, Dillon and Allie.

Kasen was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2016. When a 12-hour brain surgery was only able to remove 75 percent of the tumor, Kasen had to begin re-learning everything he had so far mastered in his two years of life, down to re-learning how to swallow. He has recently started walking again, but still suffers from weakness in his left arm and hand and paralysis to the left side of his face. Kasen began chemotherapy in March 2016, with high hopes that he would be cured. Unfortunately, the tumor did not respond to the chemo and instead grew larger. Doctors then predicted only a 50 percent chance that Kasen would survive. Kasen is now currently going through treatment with a different kind of chemotherapy, and will have an MRI in September to see if the new treatment is working.

“There have been many hospital admissions and setbacks since this nightmare began,” explains Brittany Rowland. “We will use the funds raised at the barrel race benefit to go towards Kasen’s medical expenses, gas for traveling to and from his weekly chemotherapy appointments, and his weekly medication costs. Kasen has a long road ahead.

“People ask us how we do it and how we stay strong – but honestly, we don’t do it and we don’t stay strong. Kasen does. He gives us our strength and our will power to keep going. Kasen has one of the biggest and brightest personalities I have ever witness in a two-year-old. Through all of the hard times – the surgeries, the needles, the daily medications, the vomiting, the chemo, the tests and scans, the hours of infusions – he somehow keeps a smile on his face and a belly full of laughs,” Rowland says. “His will to win, his determination to succeed, is by far the strongest thing I have ever seen.”

Albritton, who is the Florida Captain of Dreaming of Three, says, “One hundred percent of the money donated to this benefit – including proceeds and vendor fees – will be used to benefit the Rowland family. Donations to the event can be made through Dreaming of Three, which is a non-profit organization and tax deductible.”

Anyone interested in entering the barrel race to compete for the prize purse can contact Albritton at james.albritton@rocketmail.com or (407) 319-8268. Barrel racing entries are $35.00, and admission for spectators at the event is $5.00 per adult (kids are free!). All businesses are welcome to sponsor the event, or to be a vendor for a fee of $50.00. Advertising and sponsorship packages are available for businesses who would like to sponsor. Anyone interested in sponsoring, vending, donating a silent auction prize, or helping in any other way can contact Albritton for more details. The barrel race will begin at 6:00 pm, so be sure to come by and join in the excitement.

To donate to Kasen Rowland and his family, a check can be made out to Dreaming of Three, 5700 Corporate Dr., Suite 455, Pittsburgh, PA, 15237. Dreaming of Three will send the donations to Albritton to be presented at the benefit.

Contact: Jimbo Albritton
james.albritton@rocketmail.com
(407) 319- 8268