In years past, the annual Sidelines/Outback Triathlon attracted fans to see their favorite celebrity riders trade helmets and attempt the other equestrians sports, often with amusing results and all for charity. This year was different.
The fifth annual Triathlon, held at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Center in Wellington last Saturday, was a showcase of serious “cross-riding” and intense competition by riders who took their assignments very seriously and who put on a show of equestrian excellence in all circumstances. “Someone’s been practicing” was a comment often overheard in the crowd as rider after rider exhibited versatility and gamesmanship at each of the three major horse disciplines—polo, jumping, and dressage. The crowd of several thousand was thrilled, and a record amount of money was raised for this year’s beneficiary, the Equestrian Aids Foundation.
The Outback/Sidelines Triathlon was conceived four years ago by members of Wellington’s equestrian community as a light-hearted horse sport-themed event that would raise funds for identified needs in their community. In the past, both individuals and charities received significant donations as a result of an afternoon of watching one’s favorite equestrian celebrity try out the horses and challenges of the other disciplines. It appears, however, that this year the riders decided to take the challenge more seriously and to play to win.
Four Teams Fielded
Four teams were fielded, sponsored by Farm Vet, Two Swans Farm, Brek N Ridge Dressage, and R.V. Sales of Broward respectively. Each team consisted of three celebrity riders, one from each of the three disciplines, who were required to compete in disciplines not their own. Each team had a Manager as well as a celebrity Chef d”Equipe, who also served as commentators and coaches during the event.
Participating team members were: polo players Adam Snow, Chris Kampson, Cali Garcia, and Orrin Ingram; jumpers Nona Garson, Candice King, Christian Currey, John Ingram and Chris Kappler; and dressage riders Lynda Alicki, Karin Reid Offield and charter competitor Bent Jensen. Carlos Gracida, Ronnie Beard, and Robert Dover were among the commentators for the afternoon who kept the audience informed of the nature of the events and the rankings as the day went by.
A VIP tent alongside the Grand Prix stadium was full of both the famous and the fanatic from Wellington and the horse world, who were liberal in their donations at the silent auction as well as the wine and gin bars. The adjacent tent offered equestrian gifts and arts and crafts of all kinds. Spectators lined the Grand Prix arena and enjoyed the concession and activities, including a demonstration by the Palm Beach County Appaloosa Drill Team and the Let’s Piece It Together Equine Therapeutic Program, for the better part of the afternoon.
Two Swans Team, Champions of the Day
Yet the center of attention was the competition. Highlights were: jumper Christian Currey riding a beautiful dressage second level test to music on team coach and Olympian Ashley Holzer’s lovely chestnut warmblood; polo player Chris Kampson scoring well over 800 points in the jumps and proving that there “ain’t no fence high enough” for the daredevil rider; and the delicate and graceful dressage rider Lynda Alicki swinging mallets with the men in the midst of a highly competitive polo match.
The Two Swans Team was the high point winner and Gold Medalist for the day, followed by Brek N Ridge, Farm Vet, and R.V. Sales.
Individual Most Valuable Riders were Karin Reid Offield for Dressage, Chris Kampson for Polo, and Christian Currey for Jumpers.
Early accounting indicates that this year’s Triathlon set a new record for proceeds to benefit the Equestrian Aids Foundation. In addition to a significant donation, the Outback/Sidelines Triathlon raised awareness for the need and work of the Equestrian Aids Foundation by the dedication of so many members of the equestrian community who were willing to volunteer and to “Ride for Hope” to help those in need.
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