Challenge of the Americas is excited to announce the members of its dressage quadrille teams for the 2011 Challenge. Held on Saturday, March 12, 2011, at the beautiful International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, FL, the Challenge is in its tenth consecutive year as an annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Play for P.I.N.K. The evening will showcase equestrian sport with musical grand prix team quadrilles, and a unique four-on-four polo match.
This year’s United States team, sponsored by Purina Mills, will be made up of Betsy Steiner, George Williams, Pamela Goodrich, Bill Warren, Jim Koford, and John Zopatti. The team’s choreography, music and coaching is all being handled by Terry Ciotti-Gallo.
Team International The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch is composed of Marco Bernal, Juan Matute, Yvonne Losos de Muniz, Lou Denizard, Heather Bender and new rider to this year’s Challenge, Jessica McTaggart. Team International is co-coached by Erin Swaney and Ruth Hogan Poulsen. Swaney will also handle the choreography, while Hogan Poulsen of Freestyles from A to C will handle the music.
Team Can/America is sponsored once again by SSG Gloves, and will be composed of Devon Kane, Liz Austin, John Coston, Tine Zinglerson, along with two new team members for this year JJ Tate and Susanne Dutt-Roth. Karen Robinson from Applause Dressage will handle the music for Team Can/America, while choreography and coaching will be handled by Challenge of the Americas native Shannon Dueck.
New for this year is the four-on-four polo match, which will kick-off the 2011 event. Polo patrons include:
1. Marc Ganzi – Audi
2. Melissa Ganzi – Grand Champions
3. John Muse – Lucchese
4. Bob Jornayvaz – Valiente
5. Gonzalo Avendano- Patagones
6. Bo Goodman/Mt. Brilliant or Hutton Goodman/ Faraway
7. Bob Daniels of Pony Express.
8. Victor Vargas – Lechuza Caracas
“This is my tenth year, as I was one of the original team members from the first Challenge,” noted Team Purina Mills USA rider Betsy Steiner. “I continue to support the Challenge and participate in the event because of the amount of money it raises for such an incredible cause. I have many friends in the equestrian community who have suffered from breast cancer, and I just honor their courage. I also participate to support my friend Mary Ross and everything that she has done for this incredible cause. I’m so proud to support her, and honored to ride a great friend of mine, Trisha Hessinger’s horse, who we call ‘Go’ during the Challenge. I can’t wait for the event!”
Team USA will be coached this year by Terry Gallo, who will also handle all of the choreography along with the music. “I have been apart of the challenge since the beginning,” said Gallo. “This is a wonderful event that keeps getting better and better each year which is why I choose to be apart of it. It’s also a great outlet for me professionally as each year I become more involved. This is the first year I have ever coached, as last year I did the choreography and music. The level of competitors is amazing and it is a pleasure working with such talented riders.”
Team Canada is being coached by a woman who has been affected by breast cancer herself, Olympic rider Shannon Dueck. “Breast Cancer plays a big role in my life, and anything I can do to help stop it is amazing,” commented Dueck who recently lost her mother to the disease. “The event raises so much money for research and I know that’s the only way we are going to find a cure. The challenge this year will be very exciting as we have an extremely talented group of riders participating.”
Team International will be co-coached by Erin Swaney and Ruth Poulson. Poulson will handle the music, while Swaney will handle the choreography. “The Challenge benefits a great cause, and Breast Cancer hits home for me because my mom is a breast cancer survivor. She is here in Wellington watching us practice and that is so special for me,” said Poulson.
Poulson, who runs Freestyles from A to C, continued, “I have a huge passion for the sport, and anytime you can ride to music is great. This whole situation is a win win for me, great cause, great event and the quadrilles are just amazing.”
Erin Swaney commented, “This is truly a unique event and one that I am very excited about. It’s a true test for riders and a real pleasure to watch. Not only are they competing at the top level, but team members have to work together and really come together as one, which in our sport doesn’t happen very often. Mary Ross is a great friend of mine and I am excited to be apart of this great event again for 2011. We are still in the early practice stages and so the members always wonder how all the parts will fall into place. That’s my job as a coach and I’m excited to be apart of helping it all come together for a great cause.”
Following The Challenge of the Americas will be an elegant evening of dinner and dancing at the Challenge Gala. The Challenge Gala, always a sell-out, will once again be held in IPC’s new Nespresso Pavilion just off the beautiful Piaget Field. VIP COTA/Gala Tickets are available for $250 per person and general admission Challenge tickets will be $20 at the gate, $15 pre-purchase at the Palms West Chamber of Commerce. Children under 12 are admitted free. For more information, please visit the Challenge of the Americas website, www.challengeoftheamericas.com, or contact Mary Ross at 561.852.2591.