BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. (Aug. 28, 2001) A self-described "horse show junkie," Ron Blair is one of the more than 250 volunteers who keep The Hampton Classic Horse Show, August 26 - September 2, running smoothly for competitors and spectators alike.
Blair, who lives in Philadelphia, has made the three-and-a-half hour drive to Bridgehampton since 1995 to help out with the 26-year-old horse show, a benefit for the Southampton Hospital. He has brought his organizational skills to the exhibitor party, to the opening day ceremonies and in the press office.
"I use my vacation time to do volunteer work," said Blair, 45, a mortgage underwriter for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Design. Blair also dedicates time to horse events closer to home: the Devon Horse Show, Dressage at Devon and the American Gold Cup, all held in Devon, Pa.
"Volunteering is one of The Hampton Classic's many traditions," said Jean Lindgren, who has shared duties of executive director for the show with her husband, Tony Hitchcock, since its inception. About 150 volunteers with the Southampton Hospital do everything from staffing the information booth to acting as hostesses for the thousands of VIP tent patrons. Another 100 show committee members make sure the show grounds look their well-groomed best.
"The Hampton Classic would not be possible without the volunteers," said Lindgren, fondly recalling local residents who volunteered up into their 80s and 90s. "They add a festivity to the show, and their presence is a tangible sign of the wonderful community support the Classic enjoys." Hampton Classic Co-Chair Agneta Currey and Board President Dennis Suskind oversee the week's activities, with Mary O'Connor and Becky Gaynor organizing the annual exhibitors' party, a highlight of the week for riders.
The Hampton Classic continues through Sunday, Sept. 2, and winds up with the exciting $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix Presented by David Yurman.
Other major highlights at this year's Hampton Classic include: Thursday, Aug. 30 Seniors Day presented by 50 Plus Senior News Friday, Aug. 31: Celebrity Cruises' Fiesta Day presented by Avis;
$25,000 Adequan Fiesta Day Grand Prix Qualifier Saturday, Sept. 1: Cablevision's Kids Day;
$25,000 Sally Hansen Grand Prix; Pony Jumpers Sunday, Sept. 2:
$150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix presented by David Yurman
$50,000 AmeriChoice Eastern Finals of the Young Jumper Championships
$25,000 Calvin Klein Show Jumping Derby
$100,000 New Things Grand Prix Bonus Challenge
Admission to The Hampton Classic is $5 per person, $15 per carload, and children under six are admitted free daily. On Friday and Saturday (August 31-September 1), children under 12 are admitted free, and seniors are admitted free Thursday, August 30. Reserved grandstand seats for Grand Prix Sunday, September 2 are an additional $15 per person. Parking is free during the event.
The Hampton Classic Horse Show benefits the Southampton Hospital, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the United States Equestrian Team. Offering up the best in show jumping, there is no other competition that brings together the hunter-jumper circuit with thousands of spectators, extravagant social events, celebrities, shopping and fine dining in the Hamptons. For more information on The Hampton Classic, be sure to visit the show's web site at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177. Email requests for information may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.