Mill Spring, North Carolina – Sept. 29, 2016 – Thousands of exhibitors, owners and spectators joined together at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Saturday evening, Sept. 3, to not only celebrate the 2016 Nutrena® United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Land Rover, but to also support Brooke USA through the “Celebrity Bartender Showdown” and silent auction. The event took place during the “Sounds of Nashville” Concert presented by Coca Cola®, raising $5,000 for Brooke USA’s “Buy a Donkey a Drink” campaign.
As everyone prepared for the concert, the festivities kicked off at “The Brooke Watering Hole” located at the TIEC’s onsite restaurant patio, Roger’s Diner. Brooke USA Ambassadors and Team USA Eventing members Boyd Martin and Lauren Kieffer were joined by Bobby Costello, Allison Springer, and Lynn Symansky, as well as Brooke USA Board Member Jim Wolf, as the celebrity bartenders throughout the evening. They concocted cocktails and raised awareness for the “Buy a Donkey a Drink” campaign, which ensures lifetime access to water for 81,000 livestock animals, including 13,500 equines in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia through the construction of five large, permanent water troughs. The project is expected to lower the equine mortality rate in that area by 45 percent, and benefit 67,500 of the world’s poorest people who depend on those animals.
|Celebrity bartenders Boyd Martin, Bobby Costello and Allison Springer|
“Our team was incredibly motivated to host an event that would generate awareness for Brooke USA and the ‘Buy a Donkey a Drink’ campaign in an engaging and energetic atmosphere,” said Katherine Bellissimo, Brooke USA Board Member and Principal of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “We’re thrilled with the success of this event and are looking forward to continuing our efforts to maximize exposure for Brooke USA and the mission of the organization at TIEC.”
Guests had the choice to sip on a signature orange sangria, Moscow mule, or orangeade while listening to the sounds of “Raised by the Radio” star Mitch Rossell, who has opened for the legendary Garth Brooks, and country music singer Julia Cole, who has opened for country music sensation Hunter Hayes. Each drink and all tips raised throughout the night benefited Brooke USA, as well as a silent auction.
|Boyd Martin and Bobby Costello hard at work mixing drinks|
Starsky, a dwarf miniature pony rescued by The Peeps Foundation and now owned by the Bellissimo family, paraded around “The Brooke Watering Hole” donning a special Brooke USA cooler outfitted with donation pockets. Starsky interacted with guests and served as an ambassador for organization, welcoming attention and contributions.
Brooke USA is now only $9,500 away from raising enough money to construct the fifth and final water trough of the campaign, with the help of the funds raised during the event. For every $9 raised, one working equine will have lifetime access to a water supply, and the campaign will continue to run through the entire 2016 Tryon Fall Series.
|Starsky collecting donations for Brooke USA|
All photos courtesy of Meg Banks.
“We are so fortunate to have the help and support of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, as well as Mark and Katherine Bellissimo and Jim Wolf,” Executive Director of Brooke USA Emily Dulin said. “The evening was filled with fun, laughter and of course, a greater mission-raising awareness for the 13,500 working equines that will benefit from the ‘Buy a Donkey a Drink’ Campaign.”
Each water trough allows as many as 340 horses, donkeys and mules to quench their thirst with each filling, and will allow other livestock such as cattle and camels to receive life-saving water as well.
For more information about Tryon International Equestrian Center please call (828) 863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.