Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 2, 2019 – Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) took spectators on a trip around the world in the 10th annual Great Charity Challenge celebrating “We Are The World.” Twenty-six teams of three riders, one professional and two amateurs raced to complete a relay-style course of 21 fences. Team Holy Ground Shelter for the Homeless emerged victorious, finishing in a fault-free time of 91.904 seconds by riders Madelyn Ruskin, Carly Dvorkin and David Blake. The team represented the country of Ireland, dressed in green, white and orange, as they jumped to first. Second place went to Team Kids Cancer Foundation, while Team Speak Up for Kids PB County took third.
The night benefited over 30 charities, including Quantum House, Danny & Ron’s Rescue and Our Sister’s Place. Over the past nine years, the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, has raised over $12.2 million and has helped over 230 charities in Palm Beach County alone.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Carly Dvorkin on her experience and what it means to win:
“The Great Charity Challenge has always been very unique and special to my family. We have always aimed to win and last year we came in second, so it just means a lot to me to win this year. My favorite part is seeing the look on the faces of everyone who works for the charities. They are always so grateful and appreciative. That just means so much to me because I am doing what I love while helping others. It is the most important event to me.”
Phyllis Turner Jepson, Executive Director of the Holy Ground Shelter:
“Holy Ground shelters and mentors homeless, pregnant and parenting young girls and their children ages 17 to 23. I can’t even begin to put into words what this means to us. This is life changing. This means that several lives will be changed because of this moment and it really is down to [the riders] — they did this for us. We are truly in shock and so deeply, deeply grateful.”
Paige Bellissimo, founder of the Great Charity Challenge:
“Year after year you think, ‘Wow, this is the best year ever,’ but the costumes get better and the energy gets better and everyone gets even more excited. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger! It really is an amazing event that bridges the local community and the equestrian community. I am so thankful for everyone that is a part of it.”
David Blake on the team’s strategy:
“I think the main thing to focus on in this class is the transitions from rider to rider. We really focused on that. I think that is the way to do it — have quick transitions with focused riders. That is really what worked out for us.”