Loxahatchee, FL - The Annual Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center's Benefit Auction Dinner & Dance was held Friday, February 19, 2010. It was a huge success, raising over $300,000 for the organization. The sold-out Benefit had over 490 guests in attendance. The guests had a wonderful time at the event that lasted well into the late evening. Chairwoman Tuny Page, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, and Celebrity Hostess Tami Hoag headed the event that was held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida with the theme "Gone Riding."
This year's Benefit Auction Dinner & Dance focused on an Argentinean Asado, which included the night's highlight event, the "So You Think You Can Ride" Mechanical Bull Riding Contest. There were seven teams that participated and guests had the opportunity to bid and become the owner of their selected team. The owner of the winning team won a portion of the evening's jackpot, which was made up of all seven bids.
One of the judges during the event was Murray Kessler who is involved with the Professional Bull Riding Association. "I think tonight was great, bull riding is the hardest sport in the world and these competitors showed how tough they were," he commented. "I thought this was a great idea and everybody had a wonderful time."
This year's winning team was the "Bad Boy Vets" with a score of 248. The team was made up of Bill Patterson, Bryan Dubynsky, Johnny Jack, and Travis Laas. "Von Martles Can/Am Dressage Team" earned the second place title with a score of 231.5, and included rides Jackie Brooks, Chris Von Martles, Michael Barisone, and Tuny Page. Coming in third place was the "Pound Puppies" team with Nick Della Joio, Sophie Gracida, Julie Cordero, and Weston Gracida. "The Bad Mamma Jammas" placed with the team of Spencer Smith, Michael Bellissimo, Riley Raposa, and Michael Murphy. The fifth place title was presented to "Team Tackeria," which was made up of Jimmy Torano, McLain Ward, Mark Leone, and Peter Pletcher. Team "Nacho Libre" earned sixth place with Robert Bader, Rob Coluccio, and Jennifer Drehan, while the seventh place went to "The Men in Black" with Ryan Beckett, Robert Murphy, Geoff Case, and Hardin Towell.
This year's Live Auction was a huge success. The 12 items available to bid on, including Magnum Magnus wine, Two Tons of Hay from Larsen Farms, Day Cruise for Six by Yacht America, A Private Jet Trip by Green Jets, a set of three VIP tables at equestrian events, a World Equestrian Games Jumper Finals Package, a week in New York at the Sherry Netherlands, the Complete Equine Travel Package, Two 2009 Yamaha Motor Scooters, "The Polo Experience," a VIP Table for Six Weeks at WEF, and a set of three poster size photos of top American riders.
The silent auction was also very successful with gift certificates for restaurants, theater performances, and spa packages. During the silent auction guests had the opportunity to adopt one of VTRC's horses for the year. This important contribution underwrites the care of the horse for an entire year, and is key to the organization's success.
"This event was a huge success," noted VTRC Founder and Executive Director Ruth Menor "We are thrilled that our guests got into the spirit of the evening and tried the bull riding. Along with having all 18 of our horses adopted, Ellin Miller and Steve Martines bought two tons of hay and donated it back to the Center for the Vinceremos horses."
During the evening's event, special volunteers were presented with awards, and two riders were presented with the Rider of the Year Award. This year's recipients were Sasha Brodtman and Melissa Johnson. After receiving her award Johnson said, "Riding has not only been a major help for my physical strength, but also my mental and spiritual strength. Vinceremos is a wonderful place to meet new people and begin wonderful friendships. There are nothing but open arms for me at Vinceremos, and it is somewhere I enjoy going every Thursday. It is a dream come true to be able to ride there."
This annual gala event, which began in 1986, is the main fundraiser for the Center, and has raised more than $2.2 million dollars for therapeutic and recreational horseback riding for special needs children and adults of Palm Beach County. The money raised enables VTRC to provide services to over 350 clients per year through its four different programs: Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy, Horses for Heroes, and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.
VTRC is a nonprofit organization based in Loxahatchee, FL, that provides recreational and therapeutic riding instruction to people of all ages with varying developmental, physical, and psychological disabilities. The organization, founded in 1982, assists more than 350 adults and children every year, helping them gain a sense of accomplishment, greater independence, and a higher quality of life. The VTRC has received a "Premier Accreditation" rating from the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).
For more information about the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.vinceremos.com.
Photo Credit: Chairwoman Tuny Page headed the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center's Benefit Auction Dinner & Dance with Celebrity Hostess Tami Hoag and Reese Koffler-Stanfield. Photo By: Phelps Media Group.