Olympians to Ride in the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade


The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s application to field a squad of 12 Olympic riders in the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade has been officially accepted by the parade’s equestrian committee. The USET Foundation will select four Olympians from each of the three Olympic disciplines (dressage, show jumping and eventing) to ride in the 119th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2008, in Pasadena, Calif. The USET Foundation squad will lead the floral float entered by the Beijing Olympic Games Committee.

The 2008 Rose Parade marks the first time in the event’s 119-year history that all three Olympic equestrian disciplines have been represented.

The USET Foundation’s equestrians will parade in traditional Olympic show clothes representing their disciplines. The show jumpers will wear pink coats, dressage riders will wear shadbellies and top hats, and eventers will wear cross-country attire. The athletes will ride local mounts accustomed to parade work, contributed by USET Foundation supporters.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to showcase our Olympic equestrian sports to millions of people around the world,” noted USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins. “In an Olympic year, this is perfect timing for our athletes to be in the spotlight.”

The Rose Parade on New Year’s Day is viewed by millions of people in more than 75 countries and almost one million spectators line the five-and-a-half mile parade route. The 119th edition of the Rose Parade kicks off at 8 a.m. PST, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008.

The theme of the 119th Rose Parade is “Passport to the World’s Celebrations,” and will feature more than 300 horses representing various breeds, groups and disciplines, plus the pageantry and tradition of floral floats, and outstanding marching bands from around the world.

Mason Phelps, Jr. will coordinate the selection and donation of mounts for the Olympians representing the USET Foundation in the 2008 Rose Parade. Phelps rode in the 75th Rose Parade in 1963 with Mary Mairs and Frank Chapot as a troupe representing the Valley Hunt Club–the founding organization of the Rose Parade. Earlier this year, Phelps’ public relations firm, Phelps Media Group, Inc. International (PMG), submitted the 14-page Equestrian Application to the 2008 Rose Parade Equestrian Committee on behalf of the USET Foundation.

Peggy Phelps, a resident of Pasadena, will serve as onsite logistics organizer for the riders’ housing. Phelps will also host a New Year’s Day celebration for the athletes and guests following the parade.

“We are looking forward to participating in this very exciting and historic event,” said USET Foundation President and CEO Jane Forbes Clark. “The exposure the Rose Parade will bring to the USET Foundation will be extremely helpful to our fundraising efforts on behalf of our high-performance athletes as they head for Beijing.”

The nonprofit United States Equestrian Team Foundation supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance athletes and horses in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.



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