Equestrian Aid Foundation Honors Mark Bellissimo and Pays Homage to Superstars of the Stage at “A Night of Legends”

Friday, February 27, 2015
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Mark Bellissimo with EAF Luminary Award (Photo: Julie Unger)
Mark Bellissimo with EAF Luminary Award (Photo: Julie Unger)

Wellington, FL. - The equestrian community and Palm Beach residents gathered together on Sunday, February 22, 2015 for the Equestrian Aid Foundation’s “A Night of Legends.” An evening of cocktails, dinner and unique entertainment, the event was held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and raised money to support horsemen and equine-related professionals suffering from illness or catastrophic injury. White Horse Catering provided a delicious buffet with Mediterranean cuisine, assorted cheeses and dips, crab cakes and more available for VIP members, and local food trucks showcased their best offerings for purchase. Coti Collins and Ted Brightwell brought smiles and joy to guests when they took the stage as Judy Garland, Reba McEntire, and Barbara Streisand for the surprise musical performance. They opened with a magnificent spotlight on the songs of Judy Garland by Collins that included a duet with Brightwell as Barbara Streisand. Then Brightwell dazzled during a Funny Girl blend of “I’m the Greatest Star” and “My Man.”
During intermission, EAF President Stephanie Riggio Bulger bestowed the 2015 Luminary Award upon Mark Bellissimo for all his positive efforts to enhance and enlighten the equestrian community, becoming the sixth person honored since 2012.

“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” said Bellissimo. “The Equestrian Aid Foundation serves as a lifeline to horsemen in need, and with all the wonderful work that they do to support our community, it is humbling to be honored for my contributions.”

A live auction allowed patrons to bid on an exclusive list of packages, which included an African safari, a trip to a movie premiere, an all-inclusive yacht excursion for six, and more. One lucky Diamond Drop raffle ticket purchaser went home with a diamond donated by Jose Aman at Diamante Atelier.

Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand Bring the Legends to Life!
Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand Bring the Legends to Life!

Following the break, Collins and Brightwell returned to the stage for the second set, delighting the audience with some modern Barbara Streisand melodies and culminating with a Reba McEntire mix by Collins that brought down the house.

“For this year’s annual benefit during the Winter Equestrian Festival, we decided to focus on fun and allow our guests to relax in a rewarding, concert atmosphere,” said EAF President Stephanie Riggio Bulger. “The organization is incredibly grateful to Mark for the remarkable opportunities that he creates within the horse world, making it efficient and welcoming. Shining a light on his success and how he helps with the Equestrian Aid Foundation was our way of thanking him.”

Kimberly Van Kampen Boyer hosted the event along with co-chairs Robert Ross, Stephanie Riggio Bulger, Monique Huntington Ketiz and Missy Luczak Smith.

Guests headed to The Grill after the conclusion of the event for a private after party with a percentage of profits benefiting the Equestrian Aid Foundation.

About the Equestrian Aid Foundation:
The mission of the Equestrian Aid Foundation is to provide grand-based assistance to horsemen and equine-related professionals suffering from illness or catastrophic injuries. The EAF is dedicated to helping people of all ages and from all backgrounds and disciplines, offering funding for medical, rehabilitation and essential expenses. The goal is to empower recipients and provide necessary tools to overcome adversity. Learn more at, or @ride4hope