Wellington, FL – February 18, 2010 – The Ninth Annual Challenge of the Americas is excited to announce a very unique new dressage and figure skating performance to the Challenge lineup. Held in Wellington, FL on Saturday, March 13, 2010, the evening will get underway at 5:30 p.m. with musical grand prix team quadrilles, four bar jumping and a figure skating dressage exhibition. The event is presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) and will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
The new performance, sponsored by Platinum Seamless, will feature a combination of dressage and figure skating unlike anything seen before. Four figure skaters will perform their graceful moves on ice set on the Polo Club’s main field, with horses and riders performing around them. Featured riders will include Mary Ann Grant and Dr. Michael Kohl on their horses, along with figure skaters Julie Mulvey, Curtis Chornopysky, Jenna Dviervamowsky, and Vinny Dispenda from ‘Incredible ICE’ in Coral Springs, FL. The display will feature two four-minute numbers including a tango and a Latin number performed to Enrique Iglesias. The horses and skaters will dance to the beats of the music in what skating director Nancy Mariano calls, “an absolutely beautiful and elegant dressage and figure skating spectacular.”
“This is a very important evening to support because it helps raise money for breast cancer,” Mariano stated. “It is very posh and it is an absolutely gorgeous event that has all the bells and whistles. The animals are stunning, it is for the who’s who of the area, and I am just thrilled to be part of it.”
One of the dressage riders, Mary Ann Grant, will be competing in the Challenge for the first time this year, but has been involved with the event since its beginning in 2002. She is also a member of the Purina Mills USA quadrille team and will be riding in the Challenge aboard a beautiful gray stallion named Tamaro. Grant is a Lymphoma survivor and views raising money to help find a cure for breast cancer as a very important cause. She looks forward to performing under the lights at IPC with Tamaro, who is a 15-year-old Spanish bred stallion owned by Linda Cramer of Chelsea, MI. Cramer has owned Tamaro for five years and described the horse as a very special teacher. “He has taught me a lot,” she said with a smile. “He has not done the Challenge before, but he loves to show and I think that he will have a lot of fun.”
“I am very excited to be involved,” Cramer said. “This is our third year coming down to Wellington for the season and we are getting more involved with the community down here. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and give to a great cause.”
Carole Grant, Mary Ann Grant’s mother, is a lifelong horsewoman who has been very competitive in the sport of dressage and is good friends with the riders and trainers who have participated in the Challenge throughout the years. “I think it is great for the equestrians to help with breast cancer fundraising because everyone knows that they are riding for such a good cause,” Grant stated. “My daughter is riding in the Challenge for the first time, but all of my friends have participated for many years and I have always admired it. I think it is more competitive each year and everybody wants to be in it more than ever before because it is really growing in excitement.”
Dr. Michael Kohl will be the other half of the equestrian pair with a nine-year-old Spanish stallion named Jazmin VII, owned by Marc Ulanowski. Dr. Kohl helped create the choreography for the performance and looks forward to riding in the Challenge with the talented horse. Jazmin VII recently did a wonderful musical freestyle at the United States PRE Association party and also has experience from performing in Spain as a young horse. “It is in his background and he really gets into it,” Dr. Kohl said. “When you get in front of the crowd people are hooting and hollering and clapping and it definitely makes him get puffed up and perform.”
Dr. Kohl has been involved with COTA since the onset, attending as a donor and observer since the first year it was held. “It is a great event and a great charity and it is an important cause for me, even as a man,” he stated. “I have a friend who died of breast cancer as a man and a lot of men don’t think it pertains to them and it does; the figures are alarming. It is a great cause and we have made a lot of headway in terms of treating it and demystifying the cancer itself, so I am all for helping.”
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 spacious and decorative catering tent off of Piaget Field. VIP COTA/Gala Tickets are available for $250 per person. General admission Challenge tickets can be purchased for $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.