Articles: Press Release
Team International Wins 2009 Challenge of the Americas
Photo Credit: Team International The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch wins the 2009 Challenge of the Americas over Team Purina Mills USA. Photo By: Sue Stickle.
Rebecca Walton for
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Wellington, FL - March 9, 2009 - It was a beautiful evening at the
International Polo Club Palm Beach, where Team International The Seley
Parker Group of Merrill Lynch performed a stunning quadrille under the
lights at this years Challenge of the Americas. The Challenge of the
Americas is an annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,
and is sponsored by the International Polo Club Palm Beach and SSG
Gloves. Team International beat Team USA by just half point, with Team
International scoring a 95.5 over Team USA's 95.0. The teams were judged on
impact on the audience, spacing and alignment, choreography interpretation,
Team International The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch was comprised of
Marco Bernal riding Diogenes owned by Teresa Davidson, Patrick Burssens
riding Dance of Joy owned by Alejandro Gomez, Shannon Dueck riding Siciliano
owned by Enterprise Farm, Katherine Batesone-Chandler riding Rainier owned
by Jane Forbes Clark, Heather Bender riding Winwood, and Juan Matute riding
Team Purina Mills USA featured Betsy Steiner riding Sentimiento owned by
Tamara Gerber, Pamela Goodrich riding Lamborghini owned by Jocelyn Wiese,
Chris Hickey riding Al Pacino owned by Jennifer Huber, George Williams
riding Marnix owned by Joann Smith, James Koford riding Don Princite owned
by Maryanne Haymon, and John Zopatti riding Mitchell.
The winning team completed passages, tempi changes, half passes, and
pirouettes all in perfect harmony with one another. They performed to an
original melody of rock 'n roll music. The opening song was Come Sail Away
by Styx, followed by Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith. The team also used songs by
The Beatles, Journey, Steve Winwood, and John Denver.
"I am very happy and very excited. It is a new group of horses and the
lights and the sound were a surprise for them in the beginning." explained
Marco Bernal, a member of Team International. "Then the horses came into the
routine and started to settle down. The more we rode the better it got, so
it was a nice feeling."
He continued, "I liked the choreography. There was a good degree of
difficulty and I think we got it. At the end, we got the points that we
needed, so every thing was very good and I really love performing."
"It was a lot of fun for all of us because the team got along so well and
every practice was a great chance for a bunch of friends to get together,"
smiled Team International member Heather Bender. "It gave us a very good
excuse for us to get together and have something fun to do in a very crazy
time. If we didn't have such a worthwhile cause to support we might not be
here because we are all so busy and you can think of a thousand reasons not
to do it, but we had a great time and it is great to be able to do something
that helps promote such a worthy cause."
Team member Shannon Dueck has participated three times and added, "It is
kind of personal for me because my mom is fighting breast cancer right
now. The first two times I participated that was not that case, but it is a
woman's disease primarily and now it has become very personal. I am really
happy to help in any way I can."
In addition to the Team Quadrille performances the night featured many other
exhibitions, including a freestyle by Jane Hannigan entitled "For the
Girls," a tribute to breast cancer survivors. Hannigan rode her horse
Maksymilian to music by women who have been touched by breast cancer such as
Melissa Etheridge, Jennifer Lopez, and Anastacia.
The evening's other exhibitions included "A Salute to America" freestyle,
performed by Susan Jaccoma aboard Donatella, a dressage and reining
exhibition by Pamela Goodrich and Jon Ingram, and a Pas de Deux performed by
Olympians Ashley Holzer and Courtney King-Dye.
After the night's competition and awards ceremony guests proceeded to the
elegant Challenge Gala for a fun night of dinner and dancing. The Gala was
sponsored by the Hampton Green Farm, and featured a silent auction with
riding lessons offered by top dressage trainers such as Michael Barisone,
Jane Hannigan, and George Williams. This year's Gala offered a fun evening
for all in attendance.
"I'm thrilled with the success of this year's Challenge. The Challenge teams
and the exhibitioners did a fabulous job and the crowd had a wonderful
time," said Chairman Mary Ross. "It is wonderful that we can come together
to help fight breast cancer and raise money for such a good cause."
For more information on Challenge of the Americas, please visit www.challengeoftheamericas.com.