Wellington, Florida - As horses and riders prepare for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the USET Foundation's Road to Kentucky fundraising benefit welcomed owners, riders and fans of every discipline as they joined together in support of the elite athletes on February 5, 2010 at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida. The largest social event of the 2010 Winter Equestrian Festival season, the Road to Kentucky celebration raised a remarkable amount of money in the name of equestrian excellence.
USET Foundation President and CEO, Jane Clark, and Event Chairs Bruce Duchossois and Robin and Gerry Parsky greeted 450 guests as they entered the sold out event. Once the crowd was seated, the USET Foundation presented the highly prestigious Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Award and Whitney Stone Cup trophies as well as numerous USET Gold Medal Club Anniversary Awards.
Each year, the Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy is presented to a Young Rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. After putting in multiple impressive 2009 performances, Jennifer Waxman was chosen as the 2010 recipient of the prestigious award. Waxman, who trains with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Stables in Wellington, FL, graciously accepted the trophy and thanked her many supporters.
Waxman's many accolades include winning the 2009 North American Young Riders Individual Gold Medal and the Junior Jumper Classic at Lake Placid, as well as a second place finish at the Grand Prix of Lexington and top ten finishes at both the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals and the USEF Talent Search -East Finals.
The USET Foundation Executive Committee chooses a recipient for the Whitney Stone Cup each year based upon the Team's ideals and traditions. In 2009 McLain Ward was unstoppable as he not only exhibited consistent excellence in international competition, but also contributed as an ambassador for both the USET and the equestrian sport as a whole. Ward's 2009 accomplishments included winning the world's richest $1,000,000 CN International Grand Prix, the Winter Equestrian Festival Week I World Cup Qualifier, and the Hampton Classic's FTI Grand Prix. Representing the United States in Nations' Cup Competition, Ward posted a double clear at CSIO Aachen. Although Ward was unable to attend, his words of gratitude were heard as Jimmy Torano read his speech and accepted the Whitney Stone Cup on his behalf.
Honoring the USET Foundation's most generous supporters, the Foundation presented 10, 15, 20, and 30 Year Anniversary Awards with sincere gratitude, as supporters' contributions are what have allowed the United States to accomplish what it has within the equestrian sport. Ten-Year Gold Medal Club Anniversary awards were presented to the American Quarter Horse Association, Elizabeth Busch Burke, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, Mr. and Mrs. Mark W.B. Harms, Gene N. Koelbel, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Pingree, Mrs. H.L. Schwartz, Barbara A. Tooman, and Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence G. Tribble. Fifteen-Year Gold Medal Club Anniversary Awards went to Patricia Colagiuri, Mary H. Delton and Robert Boeckman, Mary Ferguson, Dr. and Mrs. M. Craig Ferrell, Sandra A. Frazier, Natasha Grigg, the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. James F. Powers, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Simpson. Twenty-Year Gold Medal Anniversary Awards went to Linda Sue Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. S. Tucker Snow Johnson, and Mary Alice D. Malone. Last but not least, a 30-Year Gold Medal Club Anniversary Award was presented to Jane Forbes Clark, Mrs. Laura Mateo, and Mr. and Mrs. William C. Steinkraus.
After the awards ceremonies, guests enjoyed dinner while listening to the vocals of acclaimed jazz artist, Nicole Henry. The evening continued with an exciting Live Auction, as auctioneer Tony Coppola fielded bids for items donated for the benefit of the U.S. Equestrian Team's 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) ventures. Included among the items were a custom dog portrait by renowned artist Laura Ellis, a bronze sculpture by highly regarded sculpture artist Randee Crisman, a golfing weekend with three-time U.S. Open Ladies Professional Golf Association Champion Hollis Stacy, a Palo Duro Canyon Vacation, and three separate one-week WEG packages for each of the Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing disciplines.
Smiles appeared around the room as friends and family were seen urging bidders to range higher and higher. At the end of the evening, the auction raised additional funds to benefit the USET Foundation. Concluding the night with dancing to the Nicole Henry Combo's music, guests agreed that the USET Foundation Road to Kentucky party was a phenomenal success - a good time was had by all who were in attendance, funds were raised for a great cause, and the United States Equestrian Teams are well on their way to victory at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games.
Photo Credit: Dr. Armand Leone, Jr. presenting the Thirty-Year Gold Medal Club Anniversary Award to USET President and CEO, Jane Forbes Clark. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall/PMG.