Gladstone, New Jersey - The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce The Road to Kentucky Continues... was an immense success on May 8, 2010 at Jamie Dinan and Elizabeth Miller's Staysail Farm in North Salem, NY. Held in honor of the fifteen Long Listed riders for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), the event served as a celebration of both past successes and future endeavors as the United States Show Jumping Team embarks on the final leg of the selection process: the Meydan FEI Nations Cup tour.
Throughout the evening, Honorary Chairman and Chef d'Equipe of the United States Show Jumping Team, George H. Morris expressed sincere gratitude to his fellow equestrians and co-chairs Elizabeth Miller, Jamie Dinan, Becky and David Gochman. Morris explained, "The support you all give us is what allows us to do what we do, to compete on the international stage with great success, and I thank you all for being here tonight."
Located in the heart of historic horse country, Staysail Farm set a picturesque stage that welcomed avid equestrians and supporters alike. USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins greeted the 350 guests in attendance as they entered the stunning red barn atop the hill. Gathering under the exquisite vaulted ceilings, guests spent the cocktail hour mingling with friends, listening to a blue grass band and purchasing balloons for the balloon raffle.
Along with the music and chatter of guests filling the air, the intermittent sound of 110 balloons popping from the Balloon Raffle could also be heard. Assembled by the Junior Committee, co-chaired by Katie Dinan and Jacqueline Lubrano, the Balloon Raffle offered guests the opportunity to purchase a balloon for $100 and then enjoy the thrill of popping their patriotic colored balloon to find out what they had won. Winners were rewarded with everything from Heather Moore jewelry, a framed Hermes scarf, to Chronicle of the Horse and PhelpsSports.com subscriptions, Tailored Sportsman breeches, a LILO - Leather Goods of Spain large leather horseman's bag and much more.
Relocating to the transformed indoor arena, guests marveled at the Meydan Nations Cup themed décor and were seated at long rows of dining tables with roses, topiaries and flags representing the countries of the Nations Cup tour. Prior to the start of dinner, USET Foundation Chairman Armand Leone, Jr. and Honorary Chair George H. Morris welcomed guests and athletes with warm remarks and many thanks. The USET Foundation expressed heartfelt gratitude to co-chairs Elizabeth Miller, Jamie Dinan, Becky Gochman, and David Gochman, and brought the generous quartet on stage to present them with a token of appreciation that was echoed by the applause of the crowd.
Excitement filled the air as identical twins and renowned antique specialists Leslie and Leigh Keno took center stage and began auctioning off a list of items so remarkable that some were sold twice, or even three times.
Let the bidding begin! The first to walk the room was long listed rider Cara Raether, who presented the audience with an enlarged poster describing the Custom 16" x 20" Linda Manion Pastel Portrait. Situated under the spotlight in the center of the stage, the next item was just as it appeared to be: a treasure chest of equestrian's gold - a vintage USET Tack Trunk circa 1960 signed by George Morris filled with blankets worn by Team horses - both trunk and blankets have traveled the world with our nation's best riders and horses.
Following the USET Trunk Set, long listed rider Hillary Dobbs toured the room with the poster for a WEG Show Jumping Package. The package included two tickets to the show jumping events and closing ceremonies, a double occupancy room at the best hotel in town: the four-star Marriott Griffin Gate, access to International Supporters Pavilion, and invitations to the USET Foundation Gold Medal Club reception. Next up was a week at a to die for Park City, Utah, 7 bedroom, 13,000 square foot luxury vacation home in Utah's exclusive The Colony at White Pine Canyon - the item had the spotters and the Kenos pointing every which way with bids rapidly soaring to the moon.
The next two items offered not to be missed learning experiences from only the best. The first was the opportunity to play 18 holes in the LPGA Match Play Championship Pro-Am Tournament at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, NJ, with a top LPGA player. For the second experience, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward joined the Kenos on stage to present the next item, for which he was the main attraction. The North Salem Experience included a formal introduction to Ward's legendary mount Sapphire, a VIP table for Week II of the Old Salem Spring Horse Show, a tour of Double H Farm, a $250 gift certificate for dinner with McLain at 121 Restaurant & Bar, and lastly a beautiful 8" x 10" Tiffany frame to capture the memories.
A set of 4 hunt scene prints were a popular item that no doubt will enhance the beauty of a home or stable as they were of the highest quality and of exquisite taste.
Last, but certainly not least, the week long vacation item at an exclusive St. Barts villa, sold not once, not twice, but three times! The photos of the villa were enough to take one's breath away, and with an infinity pool and spectacular views - the item was simply irresistible. Upon the conclusion of the auction, the Kenos thanked everyone for their support, and joined the crowd on the dance floor.
Whether five years of age or eighty-five, guests took to the dance floor with grand smiles as they danced the night away to the sounds of Total Soul.
The evening was the perfect send off for the United States Show Jumping Team as they head to La Baule, France for the first leg of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup tour. The USET Foundation and its most generous supporters wish them the best of luck as they continue on The Road to Kentucky.
For more information, please contact the USET Foundation by calling (908) 234-1251 or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.
The United States Equestrian Team (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.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Miller and Becky Gochman, Co-Chairs of The Road to Kentucky Continues... Photo © 2010 Jessica Nemzoff/PMG.