Peters to Perform “Salute to America” Musical Freestyle
WELLINGTON, FL – February 6, 2008 –
Olympic Team Bronze Medalist Steffen Peters of San Diego, CA, will ride a musical freestyle for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Challenge of the Americas on March 8, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Peters has participated in the Challenge as a ‘Celebrity Judge’ for the past three years, but this will be his first time to take part as a rider.
Peters is looking forward to his Challenge debut performance. “Judging by the past three years that I’ve seen the Challenge, it’s an amazing turnout,” Peters said. “It’s always fun to see how many professionals get involved and it is even more special to see how many spectators come and how much the public gets into it. To be a part of that is a big honor. It will be a lot of fun.”
Opening Ceremonies are a brand new feature of the Challenge, which is in its seventh edition as an annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Challenge showcases international team competition in high jump and musical quadrilles, plus a gala dinner/dance.
In honor of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a patriotic “Salute to America” is the theme for Peters’ inaugural performance. Peters will perform his freestyle to a soundtrack created by Terry Gallo of Klassic Kur. Peters’ mount for the exhibition will be Wholio, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Warkant owned by Vivian Pichney of New York, NY. Wholio is a Grand Prix horse trained and shown by Elizabeth Niemi of Elizabeth Niemi Dressage in Wellington.
“My special thanks go to Wholio’s owner, Vivian, and his rider, Elizabeth,” said Peters. “That’s very generous of them to allow me to ride their horse and it’s much appreciated.”
Peters has performed world-class freestyles around the globe, representing the United States Equestrian Team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, where he helped earn the Team Bronze Medal; the 2002 World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, where he placed fourth individually and helped win Team Bronze; and at the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Las Vegas where he earned third overall in this World Championship and was the highest placed American.
Peters said he appreciates the opportunity to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by riding in this fundraiser, and noted, “Any time you can be a part of a cause like this makes it very special. I’ve been involved in a few fundraisers and if we can make a difference with our sport and with our performances, then it’s obviously a very nice feeling.”
Mary Ross, founder of the Challenge of the Americas, conceived the Opening Ceremonies format and is enthusiastic about Peters’ participation. “I am absolutely thrilled to have Steffen Peters as our premiere rider in the first Opening Ceremonies for the Challenge of the Americas,” said Ross. “Since the Challenge features two Olympic sports at the Olympic level, it is great timing in an Olympic year to provide a “Salute to America,” especially with an Olympic rider. To have Steffen Peters ride a freestyle to kick-off this year’s Challenge is going to electrify the International Arena!”
Following Peters’ performance, Opening Ceremonies will feature “In Memory of Judy,” a musical exhibition ridden by three 2007 Pan American Games Team Gold Medalists – Lauren Sammis, Chris Hickey, and Susan Dutta. Judy Guden, who owned Sammis’s Pan Am Games mount, Sagacious HF, died of breast cancer in November 2007. Sammis and Sagacious, who won the Individual Silver Medal, will perform their freestyle from the Pan American Games.
Segueing from the U.S. equestrian team members’ opening performances, the exciting evening of Challenge of the Americas competition ensues featuring the crowd-pleasing high jump and incredible musical quadrilles. Showcased are 24 world-class riders on three international teams comprised of two jumpers and six dressage riders each. An exciting Awards Ceremony to congratulate the winners and celebrate the teams will cap off the Challenge competition.
The evening then swings into the Challenge of the Americas Gala dinner/dance in the International Club with catering by the Equestrian Club Tavern on the Green. In addition to the International Club dance floor, everyone at this year’s Challenge, including General Admission ticket holders, is invited to the dance party in the International Arena with refreshments available. Disc Jockey Jody McDonald of Miami will provide the music.
2008 Challenge of the Americas
p.m. Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres
Table Patron: $6,500
Table Patron: $4,500
Table Patron: $2,000
Individual Patron: $250
VIP seating at The Challenge of the Americas and The Challenge Gala.
General Admission: $20
Tickets available at the PBIEC entrance gate on the night of the event; seating is in the blue flip-up stadium style seats overlooking the International Arena. Dancing following the competition is included.
For tickets, table reservations, and information about the 2008 Challenge of the Americas, contact Mary Ross at 561-852-2591.
PHOTO CAPTION: Steffen Peters and Floriano at the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Final earned third place with their freestyle to music and were the highest placed American duo. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Stickle
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com