Ki-Juan Minors Named 2008 Equestrian Idol After an Evening of Fun, Feasting and Fundraising
RELEASE: February 14, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Phelps Media Group
Ki-Juan Minors wowed the judges and the energetic crowd of horse lovers on Saturday, February 9, and walked away with the grand prize and the title of "Equestrian Idol."
The event, benefiting the EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that promotes the positive use of the horse for the benefit of the general public and the equestrian sport as a whole, began at 6 p.m. and was quickly filled to capacity. Newman's Own was the presenting sponsor for the event. Partygoers mingled around the open bar, hosted by SKYY Spirits, and hors d'oeuvres and bid on the silent auction items. A delicious catered buffet followed, and then the entertainment began.
Festivities were opened by Olympic equestrian Robert "Ryan Seacrest" Dover, who thanked all who attended, including underwriting sponsors, Equestrian Sport Productions, Callari Auto Group, Phelps Media Group, Showlife Magazine
and SKYY Spirits, and Medal Sponsors. Gold Medal sponsors included Susan Bloomberg, Callari Auto Group, Mary and Mike Carpenter, Gray and Jerry Fadden, Fairfield Equine Associates, Meadowview Farm, Sandcastle Farm, Split Rock Farm/Bobbie and Derek Braun, and Spy Coast Farm. Silver Medal Sponsors included Ellen and Bob Healey, The Keenan Family, The King-Kaplan Family, Louisburg Farm, and The Robinson Family. Bronze Medal Sponsors included Debi and Lou Dobbs, The Keck Family, Oliynyk Show Stables, Inc., Hiroko and Gregg Polle, Sweely Family Foundation, and Peter Welles.
To get the singing underway, Dover introduced 2007 "Equestrian Idol" winner Taylor Blauweiss. Judges were Mason "Simon Cowell" Phelps, Susie "Paula Abdul" Schoellkopf, Mark "Randy Jackson" Leone, and Celebrity Judge George Morris. Later on in the night, a spot for an additional judge was auctioned off, and Olympic dressage rider Debbie McDonald was put in the hot seat as the guest judge.
Chad Watridge was the first performer, and he was followed by Mary Charette and Casey Hodges. Heather Caristo sang next, and then Minors took the stage. Singing "Killing me Softly" by The Fugees, he stunned the crowd and the judges with his incredible voice. Brian Lookabill, Hillary Dobbs and Patricia Griffith all followed, and the judges made the difficult decision of cutting down the list for the next round. The judges' decisions and audience applause rated the contestants.
By the end of the night, Minors was a runaway for the victory, and Griffith took second place. Caristo was awarded third place for her efforts. Minors sang the National Anthem on Sunday afternoon prior to the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix, courtesy of Equestrian Sport Productions. Minors will also be featured in the May/June issue of Showlife Magazine
. Other gift sponsors included bluhorse clothing, Callari Auto Group, Equalign Chiropractic Systems, Origins, and Summit Hypnosis Centers and Laura King.