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Bloomberg and Gotham North Join the NAJYRC as Presenting Sponsor

New York, NY – April 5, 2007 – When the CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships returns to the Virginia Horse Center on July 31 through August 5, 2007, it will welcome a new presenting sponsor.

Georgina Bloomberg and Gotham North have joined this important national event for young equestrians as a presenting sponsor. According to Penny Ross, who along with husband Brian serves as event director, the sponsorship comes at a very important time. “It’s a great boost to the program overall to have somebody new come on board, and I’m looking forward to the relationship,” Ross noted. “There’s been a lot of talk recently about riders that have participated in Young Riders in the past, and do we ever see them again. So Georgina Bloomberg becoming part of a program that was so important to her years ago certainly answers that question.”

“The North American Young Riders program was a very important first stepping stone for me in my career,” said Bloomberg. “I'm from Zone 2 and grew up with Ralph Caristo, who was pretty much a father figure to me. His daughter Heather was like an older sister. She was a star on the Young Rider’s team and was my idol. Watching her compete for Zone 2 made me dream of doing the same thing one day.”

Bloomberg said that the event is not only important to her, but to her trainer Jimmy Doyle as well. Doyle himself has long been involved in this special event. “When Jimmy came to train for me in 2002, he stressed the importance of the championships. We worked all summer at home focusing on our training for the championships, and went on to anchor the Zone 2 team to a team gold medal,” she recalled.

Bloomberg went on to explain that during that first Young Rider competition is where she learned some important team values. “That was my first taste of team competition, and it made me want to go on and represent not just my zone, but my country. We weren't a favorite to win, but we all came together and fought for it,” she smiled. “I learned the value of team spirit there, and learned first hand what coming together as a team can mean to your eventual success. This is something that's so important for younger riders,” Bloomberg emphasized. “Especially since so many riders today don't get the chance to compete in any other team sports.”

Despite a devastating injury and the long recovery that followed, Bloomberg still had furthers goals to accomplish at North American Young Riders. “The week after winning team gold I broke my back,” she recalled. “After a long recovery period, Jimmy and I set a new goal for the year of winning the individual gold medal at Young Riders. We trained harder than I ever thought we could all summer and devoted ourselves to accomplishing that goal,” she said. “That August (2003) I went to the NAYRC and won the individual gold. I learned from that experience that when you set a goal and devote yourself to it, dreams can come true. My NAYRC experience taught me about team work, about international competition, and about perseverance and determination,” Bloomberg stated.

“Because the kids ride together for their zone, North American Young Riders is the only competition that teaches them to ride together as a team,” said former Director of Show Jumping David Distler. “It teaches them camaraderie, it teaches them teamwork, it teaches them discipline, Young Riders teaches them the whole nine yards. It’s not me, me, me,” he said. “North American Young Riders is all about us.”

It was Distler that suggested a possible sponsorship to Bloomberg. “I believe in Young Riders, and it’s not an event I ever want to see come to an end. She’s giving the event financial aid, which it desperately needs,” he admitted. “It’s a very expensive event to put on. Extremely expensive because of the three, now four disciplines, and all that they encompass. The Ross’ have gone deep into their own pockets to make this thing work, and it’s become a hardship, so Georgina’s sponsorship is helping to keep the event alive for another year.”

“David Distler approached me about sponsoring the NAYRC, and it was a no brainer for me,” said Bloomberg. “I'm doing this with the money I've earned over the last year from show jumping, and I look at it as a way to give back to an event that I believe is responsible for me being able to earn that money. I hope to be able to continue this in upcoming years, and to help raise money to keep the championships as a vital part of every young rider's career,” she said. “I don't look at this as me saving the North American Young Riders. I look at it as simply giving back to something that I believe we cannot afford to let go.”

“What she is doing is helping to keep the event alive,” Distler estimated. “The boat’s not sinking yet, but it was certainly leaking, and what Georgina’s done is make sure it can continue to sail.”

“In the past when the NAYRC program was at Howard’s (Simpson) Tempel Farms, he pretty much carried the event himself,” Ross went on to explain. “If we want Young Riders to continue to grow, and if we want it to be something special, it’s going to take additional help. Private farms or individual organizers such as Brian and me can’t continue to carry that burden on our own,” she revealed. “When we took the event on, we knew it was our responsibility. Did we have any idea it would cost as much as it has to put it on? No. Not by a long shot. So, Georgina’s sponsorship is a big boost for sure,” she said.

Along with her sponsorship, Bloomberg has other innovations and NAYRC program advancements in mind as well. “In the future, I would like to come up with additional special awards and provide various opportunities for all the riders who compete. I would also like to be able to sponsor riders who may dream of competing at North American Young Riders. Maybe help them to come watch and learn for a few days,” she offered.

“The USET has just restarted the Developing Riders Tour again,” Bloomberg added, “Because of my Young Riders background and experience, I was able to compete on that tour in 2004. I believe that there should be a stronger connection between the Developing Riders Tour and the NAYRC,” she stated. “This is something I plan on working on. I believe it’s important to provide opportunities to the medal winners, not just a medal.”

“The Developing Riders Tour, again another important team competition, is the next logical step up from Young Riders,” agreed Distler. “I’m not sure how to link the two, but I think it’s a great idea and something that should be discussed. The Young Riders is the perfect training ground for the Developing Riders, as the Developing Riders tour is for the Super League and other major worldwide events where the United States Equestrian Team competes,” he said.

Bloomberg concluded, “Jimmy and I have always believed in the importance of doing the North American Young Riders Championships, and I hope to pass that message on to as many young riders as I can. I've learned first hand just what you can learn from the championships,” she said, “And I’ve seen what success there can do for your career in the years following. There is no other experience that you can have that can prepare you as well for international competition.”

The CN North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships (NAJYRC), the premier equestrian event in North America for riders, age 14-21, returns to the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia, on July 31 through August 5, 2007.

The NAJYRC is the continuation of an annual competition that began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between Canada and the United States. In the years since its inception, it has grown considerably with the addition of a Dressage Championship in 1981 and the Show Jumping Championship in 1982. The first complete Championships with all three Olympic disciplines was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982.

Last year’s Championships saw the addition of officially-sanctioned championship divisions for junior riders in all three disciplines for the first time. With the addition of reining, the fourth discipline joining the world-class line-up, the Championships have reached a whole new level of significance.

For more information on the 2007 CN North American Junior and Young Riders Championships, please call (540) 348-1152, email to vht@cfw.com, or visit http://www.youngriders.org.

Photo Credit: Photo One - Georgina Bloomberg, second from the left, on the podium for Team Gold Medal presentation at the North American Young Riders Championship in 2002. Photo ©2002 by Kenneth Kraus. Photo Two – Georgina Bloomberg leads the victory gallop at LaBaule, France, on the Samsung Super League tour in 2005. Photo © 2005 by Frédéric Chéhu


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