Wellington, FL – January 30, 2012 – On Friday, January 27, 2012, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation hosted a benefit event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. With over 500 guests in attendance, “An English Country Evening” featured honorary chairs NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer and his wife Annette, an avid equestrian. The celebratory evening included award presentations, an elegant dinner, and a lively auction, which helped raise over one million dollars for the USET Foundation.
“An English Country Evening” was held in the Special Events Pavilion at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, which was transformed into a beautiful English country garden by designer Reed McIlvaine (Renny and Reed), and included an exquisite dinner by Ken Rose catering. USET Foundation President Jane Forbes Clark, Board of Trustee Members Robin Parsky and Bruce Duchossois, and Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins all helped organize the very successful event.
Clark kicked off the festivities by honoring the owners and riders that participated in the 2011 Pan American Games, sweeping the medals for the United States. She then welcomed honorary chairmen Matt and Annette Lauer, who recognized the guests for their dedication to the sport and the Olympic movement, as the USET Foundation prepares for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Following the opening remarks, the awards ceremony began by recognizing Gold Medal Club members who have supported the USET Foundation for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. Clark then went on to recognize 19-year-old Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, CA, the recipient of this year’s Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy, which is presented to a Young Rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. In 2011, Davis set the west on fire, winning four grand prix events in a row at HITS Thermal aboard her brilliant mount Nemo 119, and represented the United States at the CSIO Falsterbo as a member of the Nations Cup Squad.
The final award was presented to Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, the recipient of the Whitney Stone Cup. The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport. McCrea represented the United States on numerous occasions in 2011 with her talented mount, Romantovich Take One, and earned Show Jumping’s Individual Gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games with five clear rounds, and contributing to the Team Gold.
After dinner, the United States Equestrian Federation President David O’Connor, as well as Clark, took to the microphone to assist Field Ladd, the auctioneer from Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, KY. They began the live auction with a Custom Oil Portrait, donated by Sharon Lynn Campbell, which eventually sold for $22,000. The London Olympics Eventing Package, donated by JetSet Sports/CoSport, also brought in $22,000, and a generous bidder claimed the Show Jumping and Dressage Package for $155,000. The opportunity to be a Character in New York Times Best Selling Author Tami Hoag’s Next Novel was also up for grabs, and was sold for $13,000. R. Bruce Duchossois donated a once in a lifetime “Trip for Two” to the Kentucky Derby, which was claimed for $67,500. During the live auction, guests also had the opportunity to bid on an absolutely amazing “Trip for Four” to the Cat Cay Island in the Bahamas on a Privately Owned 80′ Yacht, donated by David Topping, which was sold for $55,000.
The benefit really started to rock when Bruce Springsteen surprised the guests with a late addition to the live auction. The icon himself initially offered four VIP tickets to any concert in the United States. As bidding continued to rise on this big-ticket item, Springsteen increased the number of passes to 8, 10, and finally 20, and included signed Fender guitars, and a personal backstage tour. Two bidders, Hunter Harrison and Tom Tisbo were hotly contesting the item, and in the end each offered to donate $275,000 to “The Team” for the opportunity to see Springsteen live in concert with their friends and family.
“An English Country Evening” proved to be wildly successful for the USET Foundation, thanks to the generosity of the guests and auction donors, and their goal to help fund the United States Equestrian Team riders as they prepare and compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.
For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.
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