Wellington, FL – February 3, 2018 – Victory on the grass derby field in Saturday’s $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 4* went to Daniel Bluman (ISR) riding his veteran partner Sancha LS.
The biggest jumper class of the week was held on the beautiful grass derby field, and 44 entries went to post in the first round over a course designed by Anderson Lima of Brazil. Nine were clear and advanced to the jump-off.
Sixth to go in the jump-off and setting a new leading time was Margie Engle (USA) on the 18-year-old KWPN gelding by Indoctro x Dutchman, Indigo. Looking half his age, they flew around course in a time of 44.30 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
Immediately following in the jump-off was Beezie Madden (USA) on Con Taggio, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contagio x Golliath Life owned by Abigail Wexner. It was the horse’s first ever grand prix, and he rose to the occasion. They recorded a new leading time of 43.48 seconds, and eventually finished second.
Taking the lead as the next horse in the ring, Bluman and Sancha LS, a 15-year-old La Silla-bred mare by Chin Chin x Polydor, brought the winning time down to 43.39 seconds.
Grace Tuton, of Scottsdale, AZ, rode her mount, Sorbet, owned by Nicodemus Farms, to the top of the class on Saturday in the Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 18-35 division. Tuton and the 13-year-old grey mare secured the championship win with a first in the under saddle and a second, third, fourth, and sixth over fences.
Saturday’s championship win was an exciting highlight for Tuton, as this is her first year competing as an amateur and exhibitor at the Winter Equestrian Festival. The young rider impressed throughout the morning and took ribbons on two other entries in the division, Bozeman and Gelato, both owned by Nicodemus Farms. However, Tuton stayed true to character on Sorbet, also known as Soba, and expressed her delight with the mare’s ride today in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter ring.
Celebrities of the Ninth Annual Great Charity Challenge
On Saturday night, Palm Beach County cheered as the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), distributed $1.5 million to local non-profit organizations at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The GCC has become a highlight of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and has distributed over $12.2 million to more than 220 local organizations in nine years.
Wellington, FL – October 16, 2017 – Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to showcase what it truly means to be a star this coming February.
For the past eight years, equestrians and their dazzling mounts have been captivating the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to shine and win up to $150,000.
The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) is inviting all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the event’s ninth edition, a pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.
Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will meet their “lucky star” on Saturday, February 3, 2018, to receive a share of the $1.5 million dollar purse.
The application process opened on October 16, 2017 and will remain active through 5:00 PM on November 15, 2017 via www.greatcharitychallenge.com. All non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County are invited to apply and try their good fortune.
The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $10.8 million from the equestrian community to 220 non-profits in Palm Beach County. What sets this event apart is the fact that 100% of the money raised gets distributed to local non-profits. With 34 participants randomly selected each year, first place is guaranteed $150,000 with a sliding scale to the minimum amount of $15,000 for every participating charity.
Over the last three years, the GCC brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center welcomed, “Superheroes”, “Fairy Tales Characters” and “Animated Characters”. The GCC is proud to reveal this year’s theme: “Hollywood Feature Film”, a tribute to “A Night When Everyone Is a Star”.
Mark Bellissimo commented, “This ninth year honors the local stars of our community. We hope to give them an opportunity to shine and let them redefine what ‘stars’ are truly made of. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Paige Bellissimo, who is actively involved in the community, added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. We hope that this year’s edition will help future generations see what stars are truly made of! We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors, and partners who support the effort.”
If you know of a deserving Palm Beach County-based charity, please have them visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com for full application details and information. Please note that the application process for the 2018 GCC is open from October 16, 2017 through November 15, 2017 (5:00 PM).
The random drawing to select the 34 charities from those that have applied to participate in the 2018 GCC will be held on December 2, 2017 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (Wellington).
Wellington, FL – February 4, 2017 – The team of riders Shane Sweetnam, Lindsey Tomeu, and Sedona Chamblee, team sponsors Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack & Nutritionals earned the top prize of $150,000 for their charity, Urban Youth Impact, on Saturday night in the 8th annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Also competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Saturday, Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Sherkan d’Amaury.
The 2017 GCC donated a record $1.5 million to 35 local Palm Beach County charities, bringing the eight-year total up to $10.7 million distributed through the event to date. The winning charity received the top prize of $150,000, with a sliding scale for the balance of the proceeds down to 35th place, which wins $15,000.
The competition is held as a pro-am team relay with each team made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals. The event also featured a fun theme, as riders (and their horses) dressed up as characters from their favorite animated movies.
Representing Urban Youth Impact, Sweetnam, Tomeu, and Chamblee rode for team sponsor Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack and Nutritionals dressed as characters from The Flintstones. All three riders cleared the course without fault and clocked the fastest combined time of 85.27 seconds for the win. Sweetnam and Tomeu were also part of the winning team in 2016, while Chamblee was competing in the event for the first time.
“It is a fantastic cause, not just for our team, but for a lot of different foundations in the area,” said Sweetnam, who anchored the team as professional rider. “I do not know if there is anything else like it in the country or anywhere really. Every year we try to do our best for whatever cause we are given. Obviously the girls did a great job, and I just finished it off. They were really motoring, so it was great.”
Tomeu (23), who has been competing in the event for the past four years, stated, “Every year we really try hard to win. We put together a good team, and last year we had a great team. We really wanted to step it up and do it again, and we did, which is amazing. We were even faster this year than we were last year, which I did not think was possible. Sedona was fantastic with her switch-off. It was really amazing.”
Chamblee (15) added, “This was my first year doing the Great Charity Challenge, and it was really fun. It was a great experience, and you get to ride for an amazing charity, which is really cool. Like Lindsey said, it was just amazing.”
Representing team sponsor Spy Coast Farm, Lisa Lourie commented on her team’s win for the second year in a row.
“I think it is a great way to involve the community here with our sport, as well as for us to give back to the community,” Lourie stated. “It is a win-win for both the community and for us. When we get to be involved with either educational or urban youth organizations, we are especially happy. We are very happy to be involved with Urban Youth Impact.”
Team sponsor Monica Preston added, “I am so proud to be a part of this group, and it is really wonderful that a small charity can benefit so greatly. I am so proud of the riders, and thank you to Lisa for getting me involved in this event.”
Charity winner Urban Youth Impact’s mission is to love, equip, and empower inner-city youth and their parents to fulfill their God-given purpose. Representing the organization, volunteer Sarah Armada detailed, “It is an organization that provides a safe place for kids to go after school. They get reading support; they get the arts. There is African drumming and ballet. There are things that these children would not be otherwise exposed to. They do so much for the community, and I think this is a great way to get their name out there and just provide them with all of the resources that those kids so desperately need. This is going to make a huge difference.”
Armada continued, “It is all about building their capacity and letting the kids feel empowered and equipped so that they can go out and be successful in their community.”
Adopt a Family was the second wildcard draw of the night, and ended up in second place overall, with riders Sydney Shulman, Lilli Hymowitz, and Hannah Patten representing the charity. Team sponsor the Patten family and corporate sponsor H5 Stables supported the riders, dressed as characters from Lilo & Stitch, with a combined time of 94.02 seconds.
Representing the charity Hepzibah House, Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster, and amateur riders Alexandra Crown and Alexandra Welles, placed third. Dressed as My Little Ponies and riding for team sponsor the Crown family and corporate sponsor Stone Hill Farm, all three ladies jumped their courses without fault and clocked a combined time of 97.47 seconds.
GCC co-founder Paige Bellissimo was thrilled with the success of the eighth annual event and praised everyone involved on a fantastic evening of sport and charitable giving.
“It is really special year after year to have so many great riders participating in the event,” Bellissimo stated. “It is amazing that people donate their time to give back. The executive directors of all of the charity organizations are the lifeblood of these communities, and it is just really amazing that we can all come together to support the community and see it grow. I want to thank the riders and the sponsors. Thank you Lisa and Monica for supporting year after year. It is so cool to see the charities and everyone’s unique way of helping. Urban Youth Impact is empowering our youth, and the youth are our future, so thanks go to them for everything they do.”
Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m
2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington was the winner of week four’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday at the Winter Equestrian Festival riding Sherkan d’Amaury. Jumping a track set by course designer Steve Stephens (USA), Farrington topped a class of 29 entries and an eight-horse jump-off.
Sherkan d’Amaury, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Quick Star) owned by Farrington, Haity McNerney, and Daniel Crown, carried his rider to victory in a time of 39.54 seconds over the short course. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) took second and third place honors, riding the Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt through the timers in 39.92 seconds, and stopping the clock in 40.56 seconds aboard Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC’s Main Road. Canada’s Beth Underhill finished fourth, riding Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In to a clear round over the jump-off track in 40.59 seconds.
Remarking on his winning round with Sherkan d’Amaury, Farrington stated, “For him, I just did what I thought his strengths were. I think what won the class today was the leave-out to the last fence. He has a very big stride and big scope, and he is so careful that he is actually better if I am catching every jump accelerating, or out of rhythm. I think that is where we got it today.
“I think a lot of this horse,” Farrington continued. “I had him last year, and then he had a terrible colic surgery, and he just started showing this winter two weeks ago. The first class in the week he was third, and then yesterday he was second, and today he won, so he is really on the mend and I’m happy to have him back.”
Sherkan d’Amaury has a fast pace and a unique way of going that suits Farrington’s strengths as a rider.
“He is my style. He is super careful, which I try to find in all of the horses I buy,” Farrington stated. “I try to get extreme quality, and sometimes that works against me, but in the end I think that is the way you get the best horses. They tend to be a little bit the weirdos. They are spooky and not always the easiest to ride, but that often goes hand-in-hand with an extreme horse that has that kind of blood and that kind of carefulness. It is a double-edged sword, but that is what I like to ride.”
Sherkan d’Amaury is just getting back in top form and Farrington will continue developing him throughout the winter circuit.
“I think he can jump anything,” the rider noted. “It is just a matter of building him the right way, and seeing where his confidence is, and what his body is ready for. He came off of a long gap there not doing anything all last year, so we’ll see where he goes. It is a long winter and we have lots of time to build him up, so I am looking forward to it.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Sarah Bagworth and Goldfinder vd Hengstenpoel won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers.
Staszak Captures Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Victory
The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal concluded Saturday morning with Catie Staszak of Boynton Beach, FL emerging as the winner. Staszak shows in the Adult Amateur Medals while also focusing on her career as a multimedia sports journalist. All 11 competitors participated in a jumping and a flat phase.
“Flatwork has typically been my weakness,” Staszak detailed. “The jumping phase felt phenomenal. Everything worked out well and was smooth, which is key. It wasn’t the most technical course, so it was really about position and keeping on a nice rhythm.”
Staszak was aboard Agnes Augusta, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare owned by East Wind Farm, LLC. The pair has been partnered together for about four years.
“We just click,” Staszak explained. “She’s really sensitive, and I’m a very soft rider so we get along well. She’s come so far, especially in the past year. I couldn’t be prouder of her. She’s really special, and I love her to death.”
Staszak rode in the equitation classes as a junior, but took a break from showing to get her degree in broadcast journalism at the University of Miami. She does grand prix commentary for live streaming events, which combines for a career of two of her passions – horses and journalism.
Rounding out the top three competitors were Sara Ballinger taking second place and Elissa Davis being awarded third place.
The fourth week of WEF concludes on Sunday with the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village. The Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division will award championship and reserve honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Animation Ringside Chalk Art Festival Pairs Young Talent and Philanthropy
Wellington, FL – January 19, 2017 – At the heart of the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL has welcomed art departments from local elementary, middle, and high schools for the last four years, showcasing their talents to thousands of spectators during the twelve-week season. With the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival fast approaching, this year’s art initiative has been announced. An Animation Ringside Chalk Art Festival, honoring young talent and Palm Beach County philanthropy, will take place during the 2017 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), on Saturday, February 4.
From horse statue decorations to mini-jump creations, the 12 public schools in Wellington have showcased their diversity and imagination via annual projects at PBIEC over the years. The proposed initiative is available for students in first through 12th grades.
The Ringside Chalk Art Festival will celebrate, inspire, and encourage the creative expressions of the students and their teachers while empowering the participants of the 2017 GCC.
The 2017 GCC will distribute more than $1.5 million to local charities. This year’s event is sure to inspire adults and children alike, as riders will dress as their favorite animated characters and bring beloved movie characters to life at PBIEC.
Each Wellington school will be provided with a 4-foot by 6-foot giant chalkboard and have two hours to bring their animated creation to life. A panel of judges will present the awards as well as cash prizes. Each school is guaranteed a minimum of a $1,000 donation for participating. The public will be invited to cast their vote as well.
“On behalf of Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners, we look forward to welcoming the 2017 participants of the GCC as well as the Art Departments of the Wellington public schools. Highlighting the talent and imagination of the students joining us will remind us all that you do not have to be a child to dream of miracles. The evening will honor those that imagine and dream of a better community, while the event sponsors and riders will make it a reality,” stated Paige Bellissimo.
The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $9.2 million from the equestrian community to more than 200 non-profits in Palm Beach County over the last seven years. The Wellington PTA/PTO is the only group to receive an automatic admission into the event every year and has received well over $350,000 to date.
The GCC competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival will offer free General Admission and will be held Saturday evening, February 4, 2017, at 6:00 PM. Free parking will be located at 13500 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414.
Costumes, like Olaf from the movie “Frozen”, were a big hit at the 2016 GCC. Photos by Meg Banks.
Wellington, FL – October 12, 2016 – What if you didn’t have to remain a child to dream of miracles? Imagination will be getting a chance to shine for Palm Beach non-profit organizations this coming February.
For the past seven years, equestrians and their loyal mounts have been captivating the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to paint a brighter future for Palm Beach County charities in their chance to win up to $150,000.
The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, is inviting all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the event’s eighth edition, a pro-amateur relay show jumping competition.
Thirty-four of these randomly drawn charities will not have to wake up from their dreams on Saturday, February 4, 2017, to receive a share of the $1.5 million dollar purse.
The application process will open on October 15, 2016, and will remain active through 5:00 PM on November 15, 2016, via www.greatcharitychallenge.com. All non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County are invited to apply and try their good fortune!
The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $9.2 million from the equestrian community to over 200 non-profits in Palm Beach County over the last seven years. What makes this event truly unique is the fact that 100% of the money raised gets distributed to local non-profits. With 34 participants randomly selected each year, first place is guaranteed $150,000 with a sliding scale to the minimum amount of $15,000 for every participating charity.
In 2015 and 2016, the GCC made the event even more fun for those participating and watching by incorporating themes. Riders dressed up in costume and decked out their horses to the theme of “Superheroes” and “Fairy Tales.” The GCC is proud to reveal this year’s theme is “Animated Movies.”
Mark Bellissimo commented, “This eighth year is a milestone for the GCC; as of February 4, 2017, we will have officially surpassed the $10 million donation mark. Our theme of ‘Animated Movies’ is a perfect fit to acknowledge those who imagine a better community. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Paige Bellissimo added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. One hundred percent of the funds are distributed to local charities. The event is a dream come true to the heroes that lead these deserving non-profits. We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors, and partners who support the effort.”
If you know of a deserving Palm Beach County-based charity, please have them visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com for full application details and information. Please note that the application process for the 2017 GCC is only open from October 15, 2016, through November 15, 2016 (5:00 PM).
The drawing for the 34 charities that have applied to participate in the 2017 GCC will be held 100% at random in December 2016 (TBA).
Lindsay Tomeu, dressed as Wendy from Peter Pan, and Bonapart.
Wellington, FL – February 6, 2016 – Horses and riders braved pouring rain in the name of giving on Saturday night as the 7th Annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), was featured during week four of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Shane Sweetnam, Kaely Tomeu, and Lindsay Tomeu were the winning team riders on behalf of the George Snow Scholarship Fund, team sponsors Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Fidelity Investments® in the night’s event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
In its seventh year, the Great Charity Challenge awarded over $1.65 million dollars in 2016, with 100% of proceeds distributed in full to 50 Palm Beach County charities, bringing the event up to $9.2 million distributed to date. The competition is a pro-am team relay with each team made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals.
Mark Bellissimo, who founded the GCC with his daughter Paige, said, “We truly saw the dedication of everyone involved in this event tonight. The weather was not on our side, but the horses, riders, grooms, trainers, sponsors, charity representatives, spectators, and staff braved some incredible weather conditions for this special event. We can’t thank them enough. We know how much of an impact the GCC has for Palm Beach County charities, and for everyone to stick through it means so much. Congratulations to all of our riders, charities, and sponsors for a wonderful night, despite the rain.”
Spy Coast & Preston sponsored this year’s winning team in addition to corporate sponsor Fidelity Investments®. The theme of the event was “fairy tales,” and the top three riders dressed the part of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Wendy from the famous children’s story. Lindsay Tomeu (dressed as Wendy) jumped first at the 1.10m height with Bonapart, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Kaely Tomeu (Tinker Bell) was next to go riding Belle Bleu S, a 15-year-old Holsteiner mare. Shane Sweetnam (as Peter Pan) anchored the team at the 1.30m level, flying through the course aboard Darero, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Together, the horses and riders completed the fastest time of 89.55 seconds to win the top prize of $150,000 for their charity.
“It feels really good. It is more exciting that it is for a good cause and not just for our own satisfaction,” Kaely Tomeu stated.
Her younger sister, Lindsay, added, “I am thrilled. I honestly thought we would never win it. Every year we think we have a chance and something happens, so I am delighted.”
Sweetnam remarked, “Obviously we had a really strong team this year. Kaely wins a lot, Lindsay wins a lot, and I had a nice horse that has just come into the country and was really good out there. It is nice for the George Snow charity. They told us beforehand that if they went over $60,000, there was a donor that was going to give an extra $100,000, which is really great, so that gave us an extra incentive to give it as much as we could.
“You never know how things are going to go here. There are so many fast riders, we would have been happy to be in the top three,” Sweetnam added. “It is great for the foundation and a great cause. Every year this event gets bigger. Mark (Bellissimo) and the team have done an incredible job.”
The George Snow Scholarship Fund is dedicated to helping individuals in financial need through a scholarship program for residents of Palm Beach County who are continuing their education. Their goal is to help deserving individuals within the community achieve their career goals, an objective which has the added benefit of bettering the community at large. In short, their goal is to insure that no deserving scholar in the community will be deprived of higher education because of a shortage of funds.
Timothy Snow, president of the George Snow Scholarship Fund, was on hand for the evening and proudly accepted the winning check on behalf of his organization.
“We were in the GCC one of the first years, and we have been trying to get back in ever since,” Snow said of the event. “We were thrilled to be chosen this year and the fact that we won it is an amazing blessing. I am essentially speechless.”
Snow went on to speak about watching the team’s winning round and how the money will help his organization.
“First of all, I want to thank every rider that rode in this event tonight,” Snow stated. “With the conditions that we had with the rain, they really had a lot of heart, and they gave a lot to all the charities that are going to benefit here tonight. It was an amazing event all the way around. When our team came out, we did not really know what to expect. We met our team earlier and they seemed very confident, so that felt good. But when they went out and they turned in the time that they did, which was so substantially under everybody else, I could not believe it. It was amazing. They are obviously a very talented team and they showed it tonight for sure.”
Since its inception the George Snow Scholarship Fund has awarded over 7.3 million dollars in educational grants. In the year 2015 alone, the Scholarship Fund awarded $615,791.15 in scholarships and scholar support services to 67 students. This level of support places the Fund as one of Palm Beach County’s largest sources of educational grants. The Fund aims to grant at least one award to each public high school in Palm Beach County. Known as experts in scholarship administration, the George Snow Scholarship Fund has developed a reputation for creating innovative programs, which address the educational needs of those in our community.
“Our organization helps young people in Palm Beach County continue their education on to college,” Snow detailed. “What we look for are young people who have financial need, but are what I like to call ‘rock stars’. They are very talented, they have great academics, they are active in their school and community, but most all have overcome major challenges in their life. There are all kinds of circumstances, and yet they have not allowed those circumstances to impede their success, and they are at the top of their peer groups. We are there for them, and what sets us apart from most every other organization of our kind as scholarship providers, is they become part of our family. We buy them computers if they need them to go to school, we get their college physicals for them, we just wrote a check to a young lady who needed a root canal, so we have an emergency fund for them, and many different programs. We do for them what we would all do for our own sons and daughters.”
Snow also spoke of the extremely generous anonymous donor who gave the charity an additional $100,000 for their win.
“He said that if we had reached the $60,000 level, he would give us an additional $100,000, so tonight is essentially a quarter-of-a-million dollar night for us,” Snow declared. “It is unbelievable. It is so special, and the people who organize this have no idea the good that they are doing in our county. They are a huge blessing to so many people, and we thank them for that.”
Coming in second place was the team for Bella’s Angels, sponsored by EnTrust as well as corporate sponsor Wellington Equestrian Realty. The team of Sydney Shulman, Cloe Hymowitz, and Sophie Rueben completed the course with a combined time of 93.94 seconds to earn $125,000 for their charity.
Kids’ Cancer Foundation finished third for the second year in a row and won $112,500.The team was made up of Ignacio Maurin, Emanuel Andrade, and Victoria Karam, sponsored by Hollow Creek and corporate sponsor Meralex Farm. They finished with a combined total of 94.48 seconds.
The GCC features a sliding scale for the balance of the proceeds down to $15,500 for 37th place, ensuring that everyone is a winner.
GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin said, “Tonight’s class was a true demonstration of sportsmanship and philanthropy. Even with some of strongest rains we’ve experienced this winter, the teams and riders did not back down. Their dedication to these organizations was nothing short of stoic. We can’t thank them enough for braving the weather, all in the name of helping!”
New for 2016, the Grand Prix Society was formed for donors over $50,000 by the Ziegler Family Foundation. This new initiative offers donors the opportunity to designate all or part of their support to a limited list of cornerstone Palm Beach County nonprofit organizations, which resulted in an additional $50,000 of grants distributed during the evening.
More information on the competition and winning charities of the 2016 GCC will be available soon. For more information on the GCC, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.
The 2015 GCC theme of superheroes was a hit with riders and spectators alike. Photo by Lois Spatz.
This year’s Great Charity Challenge returns to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, turning wishes into a reality for 40 Palm Beach County charities
Wellington, FL – February 3, 2016 – For the seventh year in a row, the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) returns to Wellington during the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit on Saturday, February 6, 2016. Adding to the $7.5 million the event has distributed to date, this year’s fairy tale theme will showcase Olympic and amateur riders dressed as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland or even Princess Elsa and will distribute $1.6 million to over 40 Palm Beach County charities.
Founded in 2010 by Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo and his daughter Paige, the Great Charity Challenge has seen the equestrian community take charitable giving to a new level through its love of equestrian sport. The GCC event has impacted thousands of lives with 100% of its proceeds being donated directly to local organizations.
“Our family and Wellington Equestrian Partners would like to invite individuals and families to this true community celebration where we honor local non-profit organizations, their staff, and volunteers, along with the generous philanthropists that make this event possible every year,” commented Mark Bellissimo.
Brand new this year, a Prince and Princess costume contest will give children the chance to dress to impress. A mobile judging panel will determine the lucky winners who will receive a custom gift basket, including a Breyer model horse and WEF Boutique products, a ride around the International Ring in Cinderella’s very own horse-drawn carriage, as well as the chance to choose a lucky charity to receive a $1,000 donation, which will also be matched to their school.
Presentation of the winner is scheduled to take place during the midway point of the event, on the main stage, around 7:45 PM.
Last year’s super hero-themed event brought thousands to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to celebrate the heroes of the community.
To date, the GCC has made incredible contributions to the Palm Beach County community and everyone at Equestrian Sport Productions looks forward to Saturday night. The competition will offer Free General Admission with gates opening at 6 PM. The first team competing in this unique costume class is scheduled to enter the competition arena under the lights at 6:30 PM. Entertainment include on-site dining, live band, a Venetian hand painted carousel, petting zoo, face painters as well as shopping experiences with local vendors.
Off-site parking with shuttle service is offered free of charge at 13500 South Shore Blvd. There is a $20 charge per carload for on-site parking. For more information, including a list of the participating charities and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.
Wellington, FL – February 4, 2015 – Superheroes are taking front stage at the 2015 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC). On Saturday, February 7, 2015, during the spectacular pro-am relay show jumping competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida, 34 lucky charities will be competing for a share of $1.5 million dollars.
The public is in for a treat as this year’s participating riders will be wearing “masks and capes” to help Palm Beach County charities!
The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and their daughter, Paige, has distributed more than $6.2 million from the equestrian community to over 100 nonprofits in Palm Beach County over the last five years. This year, more than 400 local charities applied for a chance to be one of the 34 lucky participants in the running for the top prize of $150,000 with a sliding scale of prize money to the minimum $15,000 amount that every participating charity will win.
Mark Bellissimo commented, “Our theme this year is SuperHeroes, which is directed at the riders who donate their time and their horses, equestrian families and businesses who contribute funds, our staff who donate their time, and most importantly the executive directors and volunteers of these charities whose passion and commitment to their causes elevates and enhances the community.”
Paige Bellissimo added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. One hundred percent of the funds are distributed to charities and put to work immediately. The event gives a ‘leg up’ to the many heroes that lead these deserving nonprofits. We are very grateful for our rider teams, sponsors and partners who support the effort.”
This year’s event features a family-friendly evening on February 7 which includes many dining options, shopping, a petting zoo, magicians, street performers, face painters, carousel rides, children’s fair, and more. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION AND FREE OFFSITE PARKING (shuttles to the main grounds provided): 13421 Southshore Blvd. Wellington, FL 33414
Wellington, FL – December 12, 2014 – Celebration was in the air at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Saturday night, December 6, 2014. Families enjoyed the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest featuring musical performances by Vanilla Ice and The Voice’s Michaela Paige, exciting show jumping, and a great night of philanthropy where over 400 Palm Beach County charities applied for the chance to participate in the 2015 Great Charity Challenge (GCC) presented by Fidelity Investments®. To date, the event has distributed over $6.2 million to more than 100 Palm Beach County Charities.
The excitement level was high as 28 lucky charities were randomly drawn throughout the evening’s festivities. Event Founders, Mark Bellissimo along with his wife Katherine and daughter Paige, were assisted by Vanilla Ice, The Voice’s Michaela Paige, David Sacks (from Fidelity’s Palm Beach investor center), Mayor and Mrs. Margolis, Councilwoman Anne Gerwig, Michela Pirello-Green (Executive Director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Randy Laurich (The Wellness Experience) and Rick and Sarah Mershad (Team Sponsors).
Mark Bellissimo, who founded the GCC with his daughter Paige, commented, “The GCC has truly become the signature event of our 12 week season. It is rare that you get the opportunity to touch so many lives in such a unique way. We hope that the event will become the legacy of our partnership and this facility.”
The GCC is an exciting pro-am show jumping event that brings together over 34 equestrian families and companies that each sponsors a team for $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. Each team is randomly assigned to compete for one of the 34 randomly selected charities and offers amateur riders the chance to compete side by side with their Olympic and world-class professional equestrian heroes and role models. With additional donations from local families, businesses, sponsors, vendors, exhibitors and spectators, the GCC is on track to exceed its $1.5 million fundraising goal. Prize money for these lucky charities will range from $150,000 to $15,000, to ensure that every charity is a winner.
PBIEC is also home to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) which runs from January 7 to March 29, 2015, one of the largest and longest running horse show in the world. The PBIEC operating organization, Equestrian Sport Productions, donates the venue, its staff and infrastructure for this charitable event.
Mark your calendars for the 2015 GCC which will be held on Saturday February 7, 2015 at the PBIEC during WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights” series.
Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, commented, “Our goal was to do something that was different and that involved horses and equal opportunity. We are excited for the 2015 GCC and look forward to introducing the sponsors and riders to their charities.”
The theme for this year’s event: Superheroes! After all, the true heroes in the community are the charities. The superheroes (the sponsors and riders) will fight to help their randomly assigned charity in accomplishing their missions.
Future charity drawings will be held at the $125,000 Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex show jumping event at The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach on January 4, 2015, and two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the GCC on February 7, 2015.
The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has 12 weeks of world-class competition running from January 7 through March 29. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. All 12 weeks are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, with more than $8 million in prize money awarded.
About Fidelity Investments®
Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion as of October 31, 2014, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping 23 million people investing their own life savings, 20,000 businesses to manage their employee benefit programs, as well as providing 10,000 advisors and brokers with technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 41,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
Two Paws Up for Danny & Ron’s Rescue! Lyle Lovett Teams Up with Danny & Ron’s Rescue. Vote Today!
Many nationwide equestrians know Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta as founders of Danny & Ron’s Rescue, a non-profit dog rescue they established in 2005 as a result of traveling to New Orleans to rescue stranded animals after Hurricane Katrina. Through their tireless efforts, Danny & Ron have rescued and re-homed over 7,500 stray dogs in just 8 years!
We are asking our friends, fellow equestrians, and dog lovers to help give a leg up to Danny & Ron’s Rescue, and help them support the 2014 USA World Equestrian Games Reining team! We just need your vote! It’s so simple! No forms to fill out, no names or emails to provide!
Danny & Ron’s Rescue is one of 32 charities participating in the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge on February 1, 2014 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Fans can compete for their favorite charity by voting for them online in the $50,000 FTI Charity Challenge. The top three fan favorite charities will win a portion of $50,000. Fan Favorite: $25,000; Second Runner Up: $12,500; Third Runner Up: $12,500.
It’s easy peasy! Simply click & vote! You may vote repeatedly – one vote per IP address every 24 hours. Voting will close at the end of the FTI GCC competition on Saturday, February 1st. Voting is restricted to U.S. participants only.