Aiken, SC - February 25, 2011 - The first annual 'Salute to Driving' event hosted a beautiful Dinner & Live Auction on Saturday, February 19, 2011, to benefit the United States Equestrian Team Foundation and, ultimately, USEF High Performance Combined Driving. The successful evening was held at Wendy O'Brien's Trout Walk Farm in Aiken, SC. The goal of the event was to help raise funds for the USET Foundation that will be dedicated to helping fund and train the best drivers and equines to represent the USA in World Driving Championships to bring home Team and Individual Medals.
The dinner began at 6:30 pm, and during the evening's Live Auction attendees helped raise funds for the USET Foundation. Auction items included two lessons with top driver Michael Freund at Little Everglades or Live Oak 2011, two lessons with Chester Weber during Live Oak 2011, a dinner for eight presented by Jack Wetzel at his new log cabin in Aiken, a week long vacation in a large Victorian home on the beach in Cape May, NJ, a week long vacation in Block Island, RI, a print, "Patriots Barn" by Jamie Wyeth, signed and remarqued by the artist and brunch for four at the Green Boundary Club. There were also over 20 raffle items given away through the night that ranged from a professional photo shoot to dancing lessons.
"The Salute to Driving weekend was wonderful!" said Bonnie Jenkins, USET Foundation Executive Director. "I cannot say enough about the enthusiasm and hard work that so many people put into organizing and hosting this weekend-long event. Wendy O'Brien opened up her beautiful Trout Walk Farm to over 250 people and Bev Lesher and Lisa Singer, and so many others all contributed to the organization of the clinics and fun. We are most grateful to the entire group for their efforts."
The Salute to Driving was a three-day event, featuring multiple driving clinics with some of the world's top trainers, and a Combined Test Competition for all on Monday. The exciting festivities kicked-off Saturday morning with clinics by Michael Freund and Larry Poulin at Chateau Log and Courage to Lead Farms. The clinics continued throughout the day Sunday, and throughout the course of the weekend shorter clinics were also given by advanced navigators Fran Doto and Jay Breggia, as well as Suzy Stafford.
Finally, on Monday, February 21, the Salute to Driving weekend wrapped up with the thrilling Combined Test Competition in front of judges Michael Freund, Martha Hank-Nicoll, and Craig Kellogg. Guests were treated as well to a wonderful "Pas de Deux" dressage demonstration featuring Eventing Olympic Gold medalist Phillip Dutton riding and Shelly Temple driving her National Champion pony.
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.
Photo Credit: Bev Lesher, Lisa Singer, and Wendy O'Brien at the Salute to Driving. Photo By: Vicki Long.