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Phelps Media Group Announces the Death of Founder and CEO Mason Phelps, Jr.

Phelps Media Group Announces the Death of Founder and CEO Mason Phelps, Jr.


Wellington, Fla. – May 19, 2021 – It is with great sadness and the deepest regrets that Phelps Media Group announces the passing of its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mason Phelps, Jr. Phelps passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home of a heart attack. On behalf of the entire team at Phelps Media Group, we extend the deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

Mason Phelps, Jr. was the epitome of a lifelong equestrian, maintaining an undeniable relevance in the sport that has defined his personal and professional life. His contributions to the equestrian world include being an Olympic athlete, groom, trainer, event manager, governance leader, media executive, and philanthropy organizer.

“With the passing of Mason Phelps, the entire equestrian community has suffered an unimaginable loss,” said Lenore Phillips, President of Phelps Media Group. “Phelps Media Group and our team of dedicated marketing professionals will continue its professional efforts with the passion Mason would have wished and carry his tenacity of spirit in our future endeavors.”

Born in 1949, Phelps’ passion for horses and equestrian sports started early and he was only sixteen when he was invited to participate in his first training clinic with the United States Equestrian Team. In 1968, he was named US Combined Training Association’s Rider of the Year and was alternate for the U.S. Three-Day Team for the Mexico City Olympic Games. His career as a trainer began in 1972, working first as an assistant at Flintridge Riding Club and later developing his own training stable for hunter/jumpers until his retirement from competition in the late 1990s.

With a proclivity for innovation, Phelps paved the way launching dozens of ingenious events throughout his career. Whether they were equestrian competitions or philanthropic fundraisers, his successful events were often the talk of the town with packed attendance. For example, in 1970, he created and produced the AA-Rated Christmas Show in San Antonio, Texas, an annual event that is still an integral part of the Texas equestrian community. In 1976, Phelps founded the American Jumping Derby (later the International Jumping Derby) in Newport, Rhode Island. The first of its kind, it quickly became a major show on the East Coast jumping circuit through 1988. In 1977, Phelps created the New England Horsemen’s Association Hunt Seat Medal, also still a popular event to this day. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Phelps produced a driving event for the Newport Preservation Society. He was also one of the original organizers of the first World Cup Final in the U.S., in Baltimore in 1980.

In the early 1990s at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Phelps created innovative classes including the first equitation class for previous winners of the Maclay Equitation Championship and Medal Finals; an equitation class for past U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games, and Nations Cup athletes; and the first hunter classic for the American Hunter Jumper Foundation, held in the International Arena. Phelps was Director of Equestrian Operations at Palm Beach Polo in 1993. He served several years as President of the National Horse Show, reestablishing its prominence at its new home in Lexington, Kentucky following its stint at Madison Square Garden. In 2012, he also organized the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida.

Phelps was Chairman of American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) Zone I for eight years and served on the boards of the AHSA, USET and Show Jumping Hall of Fame. He also served as President of the New England Horseman’s Council and Rhode Island Horseman’s Association. As an AHSA judge, he judged many horse shows including the AHSA Medal Finals at Harrisburg.

A pioneer and natural leader, Phelps has been instrumental in numerous charity and fundraising events, starting with the famed Newport Roundup in the 1980s. He was one of the founders of the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF) in 1996 and in 1998, he produced the first Denim and Diamonds, a benefit gala for the USET Foundation that he produced again in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2004, raising millions of dollars that supported the USET.

In 2001, Phelps founded Phelps Media Group which has grown to represent many of the most prestigious equestrian events, organizations, companies, athletes, and businesses. By 2011 he was named to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce President’s Circle for building “America’s most progressive and successful equestrian public relations firm.”

Please direct all inquiries to Phelps Media Group at info@phelpsmediagroup.com and (561) 793-3389.

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Virginia Horse Center Foundation Begins New Era with Phelps Media Group

Lexington, VA – May 21, 2014 – The Virginia Horse Center is ushering in a new era with new board leadership, fresh management and most recently, the addition of Phelps Media Group to the Horse Center’s leadership team.

Phelps Media Group’s expertise in public relations and marketing makes the company a trusted partner for the execution of the Virginia Horse Center Foundation’s (VHCF) short-term business plan, aimed at restructuring debt and working closely with local officials to increase lodging tax support in order to stabilize finances and enable the facility to continue to run smoothly throughout the year.

“Seven years ago when the Virginia Horse Center became a privately owned, not for profit organization (501c3), its purchase from the state was carried out through a loan to the facility from the USDA, and debt was created,” explained VCHF President Ernie Oare.

The Horse Center Foundation is strategically taking steps to alleviate that debt and further improve operations of the popular, 600-acre horse park that houses over 100 events each year.

“The Virginia Horse Center is an incredible asset to both the equestrian and local community,” said Mason Phelps, president and founder of Phelps Media Group. “With the team that they have at the helm now, it should continue to not only be a vital asset but also to see improvements that benefit all those that utilize the facilities. We’re excited to be a part of this new period for the foundation and look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Leading the VHCF are Interim Executive Director Glenn Petty, the former director of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, VHCF President Ernie Oare and Executive Committee members Gardy Bloemers, Tom Clarke, Buddy Derrick and Ken Wheeler, Jr.

The Horse Center recently welcomed John Nicholson, the former director of the Kentucky Horse Park, as a consultant to the Board. During his 17-year tenure, Nicholson spearheaded the Kentucky Horse Park to its greatest growth and garnered international recognition and acclaim for the facility. Nicholson and his firm Equine Facility Management (EFM) will now serve as valuable consultants to the VHCF.

“The Virginia Horse Center is one of the leading facilities in the country,” Nicholson said. “They have high caliber leadership in place prepared to tackle any of the current obstacles, and I’m honored to be working with them.”

“A ‘dream team’ of experts has been activated, and that team is working closely with the full board to initiate our remodeled business plan,” Ernie Oare said.

The restructuring plan includes handling debt, making maintenance improvements to the horse center and working closely with community officials who understand the importance of the VCHF to the surrounding area and to the Commonwealth.

“Citizens of our State and of the Mid-Atlantic region should be proud of the quality of the facility and accordingly the quality of competitors, both equine and human, that it attracts,” Gardy Bloemers said. “We should be proud and grateful to have this economic engine in our neck of the woods. Increasingly, we see the benefits of agritourism across the state and equitourism is a key component of that important source of revenue.”

“The community has long been supportive as they fully realize what a tremendous economic impact the Center has had on the local economy over the years,” Glenn Petty added. “We look forward to identifying each constituency’s specific goals and managing the Horse Center well beyond everyone’s expectations in the immediate and distant future.”

Stay informed regarding the improvements, events and announcements from the Virginia Horse Center Foundation! LIKE the organization on Facebook here and visit the website at www.horsecenter.org.

About the Virginia Horse Center Foundation:

The Virginia Horse Center Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which owns and operates the Virginia Horse Center. The Foundation is proud to be a part of the Rockbridge community, an asset to the state’s equine economy, and a resource to the East-Atlantic competition circuit. The Virginia Horse Center stands at the forefront of Virginia’s $1.2B equine economy. Founded to promote all disciplines of equestrian sport, its 600 acres of picturesque grounds hold a 4,000 seat coliseum, eight barns to accommodate 1,200 horses, 19 show rings including two large indoor arenas, cross-country and combined carriage driving courses, campgrounds, and full catering and café services. The VHCF also hosts many non-equine events like dog shows, BMX, agriculture programs and the Rockbridge Regional Fair & Farm Show.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Chip McKenney Joins Phelps Media Group International

McKenney (pictured competing in the Amateur-Owner Jumpers) brings to the CEO position a knowledge and passion for multiple equestrian disciplines. Photo by Cathrin Cammett.

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2014 – Phelps Media Group International (PMG), a leading media company focused on national and international equestrian sports, announced today that Chip McKenney has joined the firm as Partner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

McKenney comes to PMG from Troika Design Group, a brand consultancy and creative agency specializing in entertainment and sports media where he was Chief Operations Officer (COO) for over 10 years. Prior to joining Troika, McKenney held the COO position at View Studios in Hollywood, CA. He earned a law degree from Whittier College School of Law.

“Chip’s executive background and organizational leadership experience give him the perfect skills for the CEO role,” said Mason Phelps Jr., Founder and President of PMG. “He has designed and integrated strong teams at multiple media companies during different stages of company growth. I am excited about Chip’s ability to help our company and clients build high performance leadership teams and cultures of success.”

McKenney is a lifelong horseman with extensive show experience in the jumper divisions. He is also a rated polo player.

McKenney playing in the Gay Polo Tournament at Grand Champions Polo Club. Photo by Mark Finerty.
McKenney playing in the Gay Polo Tournament at Grand Champions Polo Club. Photo by Mark Finerty.

“Building corporate infrastructure to support the expansion of Phelps Media’s client services is very exciting to me,” McKenney said. “Phelps holds a unique position in global media dedicated to equestrian sports, and I am thrilled to be a part of this organization’s future.”

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Fine Artist Louise Mellon Joins Phelps Media Group Family of Clients

“Under the Neck Shot” by Louise Mellon.

Wellington, FL – December 23, 2013 – Phelps Media Group is pleased to announce that fine artist Louise Mellon will join its roster of clients. Mellon currently resides in Aiken, SC, and is originally from Middleburg, VA. She is known for her brightly-colored and whimsical portrayals of the equestrian and animal worlds.

“We are thrilled to have Louise join our family of clients,” said Mason Phelps Jr., president of Phelps Media Group. “Her work is fun, bright and positive. We look forward to spreading the word about Louise to an even wider audience.”

Often seen gracing the pages of equestrian publications, Mellon’s work is representative of her positive and enthusiastic approach to life. She prefers to represent the everyday world from an unexpected and high-impact slant. Often, her paintings will elicit a smile or a chuckle. The Chronicle of the Horse selected Mellon’s piece, “Horse on Skis,” for the cover of its Dec. 23, 2013 – Jan 6, 2014 edition.

The Chronicle of the Horse selected Louise Mellon's "Horse on Skis" for its holiday issue
The Chronicle of the Horse selected Louise Mellon’s “Horse on Skis” for its holiday issue

Mellon has served on the boards of the National Gallery of Art, the Collectors Committee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond and the American Academy of Equine Art. She is currently a board member of the Aiken Center for the Arts.

Editors and publishers often reach out to Mellon for cover art and to enhance the pages of their publications. Southwest Art Magazine, Sidelines and the covers of multiple event programs and publications such as the Tanglewood Steeplechase program, Polo America Directory, Barn Book and Aiken Horse have all chosen Mellon’s distinctive work.

Mellon’s work has been presented at solo and juried shows in Washington, DC; Middleburg, VA; Aiken, SC; Upperville, VA; Portland, Maine; Lexington, KY; New Haven, CT; Marietta, GA; Rockingham, NH; Saratoga, NY; and West Grove, PA.

Friend and collector Bruce Duchossois will host a private showing of Mellon’s work in Wellington, FL, during the 2014 winter equestrian season.

About Louise Mellon

Mellon was born to a family of artists who encouraged her creativity early on. She was raised in Middleburg, VA, where she rode and drove horses. Mellon’s keen visual sense led her to a career as a commercial photographer and artist. Her work has been seen branding numerous products and covers of prize lists, racing programs and publications. She moved to Aiken, SC and custom built a very special studio, where she works, welcomes visiting artists and hosts local events. Mellon’s unique view of the world is demonstrated through all her work. Her style is instantly recognizable and certain to bring enjoyment, laughter and wonder.

For more information, visit Louise Mellon’s website at: http://louisemellon.com/.

Carrie Wirth for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Phelps Media Group Now Accepting Dressage, Hunter/Jumper and Public Relations Interns

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92. Photo by Mary Adelaide Brakenridge.

Wellington, FL – November 22, 2013 – Are you ready to experience the equestrian world at a new level and give your resume a boost? Phelps Media Group, Inc. (PMG), one of the foremost equestrian public relations firms, is currently seeking interns for the 2014 winter horse show season.

Dressage and Hunter/Jumper internships are available from January through April at PMG’s base in Wellington, FL. An additional internship with a focus on Public Relations is available beginning December 1.

Dressage interns’ responsibilities include writing daily articles about dressage competition in Wellington. Interns will be expected to photograph events and interview winning riders. They will also have the opportunity to contribute to our new dressage website, PSdressage.com, and help maintain social media accounts.

Hunter/Jumper interns are responsible for writing daily articles about the Winter Equestrian Festival as well as photographing the hunters and jumpers that are competing for PhelpsSports.com.

Dressage and Hunter/Jumper interns will also have the opportunity to work in the PMG office to assist account executives and their public relations clients.

Candidates should have an equestrian background and strong writing and photography skills as well as experience and an interest in journalism, public relations or marketing. Dressage and Hunter/Jumper internships are unpaid and applicants must be able to provide their own housing and transportation. PMG will assist with anything required for academic credit.

Scott Stewart and Dedication. Photo by Emily Riden.
Scott Stewart and Dedication. Photo by Emily Riden.

To apply for the Hunter/Jumper internship, please email a resume, writing samples, and photographic samples to Rebecca Walton at rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com.

To apply for the Dressage internship, please email a resume, writing samples, and photographic samples to Sue Weakley at skw@phelpsmediagroup.com.

Phelps Media Group is also offering a Public Relations internship. This internship could lead to a permanent position for the right candidate.

The duties of the position are to assist and support the production of client deliverables. Candidates should have an equestrian background with a major in public relations, marketing, journalism, or a related field. They should have confidence, initiative, work ethic, and strong writing and people skills, and they should be ready to deliver the very best to our equestrian clients.

Applicants must be able to provide their own housing and transportation in Wellington, FL, and be willing to travel.

To apply for the public relations internship, please email a resume and writing samples to Carrie Wirth at cw@phelpsmediagroup.com.

Phelps Media Group is the nation’s leader in equestrian marketing, press and public relations. Founded by Olympian Mason Phelps Jr., PMG caters to a wide variety of clients. The talented and well-rounded professional PR team at PMG is ready to roll on any assignment. PMG has built an international reputation for its innovative promotional ideas, thorough and professional marketing programs, timely media responses, and, above all, the proven results it achieves for its clients.

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Phelps Media Group, Inc., International and PhelpsSports.com Support Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships

Lexington, KY – Phelps Media Group, Inc., International and PhelpsSports.com will sponsor the Media Hospitality at the 2012 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC). This is the second consecutive year that Phelps Media Group, Inc. has stepped up to support the NAJYRC, which will take place July 17-22, 2012 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

“We are grateful and appreciative of such continued support,” remarks USEF CEO John Long. “Without it, such a pivotal event would not be possible.”

Phelps Media Group, Inc., America’s leading equestrian public relations firm was founded by Olympian Mason Phelps, Jr. Known for ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, lightning fast media responses, and proven results, PMG has accumulated a star-studded roster of impressive clients in the equestrian world from coast-to-coast and internationally.

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Phelps Media Group, Inc. Welcomes Shapiro-Pertnoy Companies to Client Roster

The Principals of the Shapiro-Pertnoy Companies: Steven Shapiro, Kevin Shapiro, Josh Pertnoy, and Ronnie Pertnoy Photo By: Kim Sargent.

Wellington, FL – November 19, 2011 – Phelps Media Group Inc., (PMG), a leading public relations firm in the equestrian industry, is pleased to announce that the Shapiro-Pertnoy Companies have joined its expanding list of clients. The Shapiro-Pertnoy Companies have been vividly influencing the South Florida landscape for 34 years, designing and building luxury residential estates, communities and state-of-the-art commercial properties. Founders and Co-Presidents, Steven Shapiro and Ronnie Pertnoy, work in tandem with each of their sons, Kevin Shapiro and Josh Pertnoy, to provide an unparalleled standard of service and excellence.

“Having the Shapiro-Pertnoy Companies as our most recent client is an ideal situation,” President of Phelps Media Group, Inc. Mason Phelps remarked. “Not only does each and every one of them have integrity and a true understanding for what it takes to succeed, but they also know how to create an upscale product that is both comfortable and luxurious. We are proud to be a part of their extended family.”

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Mason Phelps of Phelps Media Group and PhelpsSports.com Appointed to President’s Circle of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce is honored to appoint Mr. Mason Phelps to our exclusive President’s Circle membership.  The Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive President’s Circle is a unique and exciting opportunity extended to established leaders of our community, local businesses and entrepreneurs.

A rider, trainer, event manager, governance leader and charity organizer, Mason Phelps Jr. has spent four decades helping to shape the equestrian industry. With the founding of Phelps Media Group Inc. in 2004, Phelps carved a niche into the world of public relations – equestrian promotions by people who understand the sport, the industry and the lifestyle.

As founder of Phelps Media Group Inc. International, Mason Phelps has been innovative in promoting not only his clients but also the equestrian sport industry in general. PMG Inc. represents clients, including horse shows, farms and athletes throughout the country, and keeps a presence nationwide. Staff work from venues in California, New York, Kentucky and Texas as well as the headquarters in Wellington. With the creation of PhelpsSports.com, a subscription-based website, the equestrian world was given an exclusive “channel” for access and promotion.

With a 30,000-name database of equestrian contacts, farm owners, sponsors and media professionals, Phelps’ access to key stakeholders, equestrian industry leaders and potential patrons is unmatched. In 2008, Phelps facilitated the entry of a new equestrian unit into the Rose Bowl Parade – something that hadn’t happened in nearly a century. The new unit was the United State Olympic Equestrian Team. Through a lifetime of involvement at multiple levels, key industry leaders are not just contacts. They are often close personal friends

Continue reading Mason Phelps of Phelps Media Group and PhelpsSports.com Appointed to President’s Circle of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce

Ireland’s Louise Parkes Joins Phelps Media Group Team for Alltech National Horse Show

Louise Parkes, pictured aboard her pony after winning the Connemara class and the Reserve Supreme title at her Riding Clubs Championships in Ireland. Louise is pictured with her husband, noted equestrian photographer, Tony Parkes.

Wellington, Florida – June 30, 2011 – Phelps Media Group announced this afternoon that they have reached an agreement with distinguished equestrian writer Louise Parkes to join the PMG team for coverage of this year’s Alltech National Horse Show, 128th edition, to be held from November 2-6, 2011, at the beautiful new Alltech Indoor Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

“We’re bringing the entire Phelps Media Group team to Lexington for the Alltech National Horse Show,” said Phelps Media Group President Mason Phelps. “Louise Parkes has worked with PMG in the past and we felt this year’s event would be the perfect time for a reunion. To be honest, the show wouldn’t be complete without her. Her exceptional and wonderfully written reports from the equestrian world add a special international flair to our already first class coverage.”

Parkes reports on major equestrian competitions around the world, including the FEI Nations Cup series, the World Equestrian Games and the Olympic Games, for the FEI, the governing body of equestrian sports.

Married to photographer Tony Parkes, Louise inherited her passion for horses from her father who spent many of his happiest years in the hunting field. In between her busy cycle of assignments she competes at amateur level with the second-greatest love of her life – her Connemara ponies.

Having abandoned the camera for a pen back in 1994, her intuitive writing skills were quickly recognized by the FEI and she has been working on a contract basis for the governing body for equestrian sport ever since. She is also Equestrian Correspondent for the biggest-selling daily newspaper in Ireland, ‘The Irish Independent’, and her distinctive writing style has made her a much-sought-after contributor to top-selling equestrian publications. She has also worked in radio and TV and for media organizations and press rooms around the world. Last year, a book she co-wrote with author and commentator Michael Slavin, which details the history of the Irish Army Equitation School, was a big seller in the Christmas market.

Continue reading Ireland’s Louise Parkes Joins Phelps Media Group Team for Alltech National Horse Show

Phelps Media Group Honored with Business Excellence Award by Wellington Chamber

Wellington, FL – February 24, 2011 – Phelps Media Group, Inc., America’s most progressive and successful equestrian public relations firm, and a Wellington fixture for nearly a decade, has been awarded the Wellington Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award. The award will be presented at the Chamber luncheon on March 16, 2011 at the Wanderer’s Club.

Launched in 2002 by Olympian Mason Phelps, Jr., Phelps Media Group began service to the equestrian industry with promotion of the National Horse Show, which was moved to Wellington following a one hundred year plus run at Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. The PMG promotion of that event drew such record crowds to the show grounds in Wellington, that some were quoted as calling it the “Woodstock of horse shows.”

“It was amazing,” recalled President Mason Phelps. “There were so many people that weekend that we ran out of food, ran out of portable toilets and overwhelmed the roads leading into the equestrian complex. It was like Woodstock,” he laughed. The success of that promotion prompted Phelps to continue the PMG venture for other events. Word spread rapidly throughout the industry about this new company that offered ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, lightning fast media responses, and proven results. Since that time, Phelps Media Group, Inc. has rapidly accumulated an amazing number of impressive clients in the equestrian world from coast-to-coast and internationally.

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