USET Foundation Raises $280,000 at "One Team, One Dream—A Salute to Hong Kong" Olympic Benefit
RELEASE: July 3, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Mary Hilton
The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation announced that "One Team, One Dream—A Salute to Hong Kong," an Olympic benefit held on June 28, 2008, at the Oaks Blenheim Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA, raised $280,000 to benefit the USET headed for the Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
"On behalf of the USET Foundation, I thank everyone who attended and all those who contributed so generously at this event," said USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie B. Jenkins. "It was an extraordinary evening and the funds raised far exceeded our expectations. Our donors at 'One Team, One Dream—A Salute to Hong Kong' showed the depth of support our athletes have in the equestrian community and we are thrilled that we were able to present such a successful fundraiser and truly fun evening."
Approximately 275 guests attended the party and enjoyed the evening's entertainment, internationally themed dinner menu, extraordinary environs, and exciting live auction.
Upon arrival, guests walked down the red carpet lined with Chinese lanterns to the dramatic party tent entrance, which was flanked by Asian-costumed performers and two huge posters with Chinese opera images. Inside the massive tent, which was open on three sides, amazing Asian-themed red, black, and gold decor designed by Academy Award Nominee Jeffrey Beecroft awed guests and inspired everyone to get into the Hong Kong-themed mood of the night.
Starting at 7:00 pm, the party program kicked off with cocktails served outside around the dance floor, featuring a spectacular double ice bar sponsored by Ketel One Vodka. Beautifully costumed Chinese Ribbon Dancers performed. Guests also had the opportunity to have a fan hand-painted by a calligrapher with words of their own choosing.
USET Foundation President Jane Forbes Clark delivered welcoming remarks at the outdoor podium. "Tonight is a celebration of your support for our equestrian athletes as they prepare for the 29th Olympiad in Hong Kong this summer," said Clark. "Tonight is also an opportunity for the USET Foundation to recognize and honor our athletes and owners for their accomplishments and in their final selection for the 2008 Olympic Games." Clark invited the riders competing in the Olympic Selection Trials to join her at the podium to be honored by the appreciative crowd.
In a special recognition tribute, Clark called Elma Garcia-Cannavino to the podium to thank her for serving as Event Planner for the evening. Clark noted that at the 2004 Olympic Games benefit, Garcia was one of the three high bidders for the Debbie McDonald Training Package. Clark presented Garcia with an official USET Blanket Set and USA Flag Saddle Pad signed by the 2008 Dressage Olympic Candidates.
The program proceeded with Lillibeth Bishop, Publicity and Promotions Manager for the Hong Kong Board of Tourism, introducing the "Dotting of the Lion's Eye Ceremony." The Lion Dance is an important part of Chinese culture and tradition, symbolizing the bringing of good luck and prosperity. Steffen Peters and Debbie McDonald 'dotted the eye' of each 'tiger', awakening them to begin their dance performance.
Following cocktails, guests enjoyed the international dinner menu catered by BeachFire Bar and Grill set up at four different food tables. The wonderful variety included sashimi and sushi, a wok station, a Parisian bistro buffet, and a paella buffet. A dessert buffet and coffee service was also provided. Guests were encouraged to move around the beautiful environs of the tent and sample all of the food stations.
After dinner, guests viewed a spectacular USET Foundation "One Team, One Dream" video produced by Carr-Hughes Productions, which was showcased on two screens flanking the stage and featured equestrian Olympic highlights from Sydney and Athens. The video brought excited cheers whenever dressage riders were featured as al