Wellington, FL - The ninth annual Challenge of the Americas competition and Gala were held this past Saturday night, March13, at International Polo Club Palm Beach. Held as a benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the event raised approximately $200,000 in support of finding a cure for a disease that has affected so many lives.
Following Team International The Seley Parker Group Merrill Lynch's quadrille victory, the Challenge Gala got underway with an evening of dinner and dancing. This year's gala, a sold-out affair, was held in the beautiful Grand Marque tent at International Polo Club Palm Beach and featured a sit-down dinner, live auction and dancing. Top riders, trainers and judges of the dressage world attended the Gala, along with generous sponsors and supporters.
Held as a benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for the last nine years, the Challenge of the Americas has raised over $1.2 million since its inception in 2002. This year they will once again add a generous donation to that total.
Laura Lassman, President of Play For P.I.N.K., spoke at the Gala and acknowledged all that Challenge of the Americas has done for breast cancer research. Play For P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) is a grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds to fight breast cancer, by creating and promoting awareness of breast cancer through sporting and lifestyle events. They contribute 100% of all funds raised to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Lassman stated, "Challenge of the Americas started in 2002 and every year since it started it has been one of the jewels of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We have to thank Mary Ross and Tamara Gerber for their hard work and continued support each year."
Challenge of the Americas Chairman Mary Ross also spoke, expressing her gratitude for the great turnout. Ross has had a personal experience with breast cancer, losing her mother to the disease, and created the event in her mother's memory.
"This year's Challenge of the Americas and Challenge Gala could not have happened without the help and support of so many people," Ross stated. "The riders who performed so beautifully in the evening's competition and opening performances were absolutely wonderful. Tamara Gerber, my co-chair, has not only provided the event with a wealth of knowledge, but has diligently assisted in the planning and the presentation of the Challenge."
"I also would like to thank our sponsors, who have come out year after year; our honorary chairs Sheriff Ric and Dorothy Bradshaw and John and Toy Wash, whose participation in this year's Challenge has greatly contributed to its success; and the Challenge Committee and the volunteers who work with Tamara and me to bring it all together," Ross added. "None of this would be possible without all of you."
Many companies and organizations came together to help support the Challenge of the Americas through their sponsorship. Generous sponsors included: The International Polo Club Palm Beach; SSG Gloves - Team Canada; Purina Mills - Team USA; The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch- Team International; MatchnRide.com; USDF; Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance; Platinum Seamless; Back on Track; incredible ICE; Palm Beach Equine Clinic; Neiman Marcus; Wellington Classic Dressage; ViaGen, Inc; Dover Saddlery; Ecogold; The Tackeria; Red Barn Feed & Supply, and Armand Professional Services. Honorary Media Members included "The Mo and Sally Morning Show" on KOOL 105.5 and Roxanne Stein from WPTV News Channel 5.
For more information, please visit www.challengeoftheamericas.com.
Photo Credit: The grand stands overlooking Paiget Field at IPC. Photo © 2010 Kanephotography.net.
**CORRECTION: Team International's Lou Denizard was not riding Karola I as noted in the previous competition release - Denizard rode in the quadrille competition aboard his own KWPN gelding Nalando (Caritas x Halanta).