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Challenge of the Americas Announces 2008 Sponsors and Promotional Partners

WELLINGTON, FL - February 25, 2008 - The 2008 Challenge of the Americas (COTA), an annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, welcomes back long-time sponsors and promotional partners as well as new supporters for the seventh consecutive edition of this spectacular equestrian event. Highlighting the Olympic sports of Grand Prix Dressage and Grand Prix Show Jumping, this year's COTA will be held on March 8, 2008, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.

Perennial supporters include Purina Mills, Morgan Stanley, SSG Gloves, Cunningham & Cunningham, Ecogold, Red Barn Feed & Supply, King Ferry Winery, USDF, and Radio Station 97.9 WRMF. New supporters include Dressage at Devon, Equestrian Sport Productions, Hampton Green Farm, Dover Saddlery, and The Horse of Course.

"It's a testament to the value and appeal of this event that so many of our supporters return year after year. I am thrilled to welcome all of them back," said Mary Ross, COTA Founder and Chairman. "I'm also pleased to have brand new supporters join us who are expanding the horizons of this event. I can't thank our sponsors and promotional partners enough for their generosity. The Challenge of the Americas would not be possible without them."

COTA Team Sponsors - Purina Mills, Morgan Stanley, and SSG Gloves

All three COTA team sponsors are returning supporters of the Challenge of the Americas riders, so once again, 27 elite equestrians from North America, South America, and Europe will compete as Team USA Purina Mills, Team International Morgan Stanley, and Team Can/Am SSG Gloves.

Purina Mills, a manufacturer of prepared animal feeds, well known for its equine products, is sponsoring Team USA for the fourth consecutive year. "Primarily, Purina Mills has come back as a sponsor every year because we fully support anything related to breast cancer research or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation," said Purina Mills Event Marketing Manager Nancy Shearer. "We have employees who've had a similar serious condition and we're a company that wants to help support research for cures in any way, shape, or form. When fundraising involves equine, of course we're going to be a part of that sponsorship to help further the cause." Shearer has attended COTA for the past four years and noted, "It's a really fun event. I've come not only to show support for Team USA and all the other countries, but also to see great dressage. Last year to see stadium jumping was just awesome. Adding the jumpers was icing on the cake. It was such an exceptional addition to the whole program."

Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, asset management and credit services, returns for the third consecutive year to sponsor Team International. "Morgan Stanley and the Seley Parker Mandell Group are excited to be involved for our third consecutive year," said Joshua G. Parker, Associate Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Global Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley. "The exposure is great for us and it could not be for a better cause. The Challenge creates awareness of the BCRF while providing a fantastic fun-filled evening of dressage and festivities. We expect this year's performance to be the best yet, and hopefully we exceed last year's fund raising for the BCRF."

SSG Gloves, distributor of more than 40 styles of riding gloves, returns for the second consecutive year to sponsor Team Can/Am. Ed James, founder and president of SSG Gloves, based in Aurora, Ontario, and North Boston, NY, commented on his COTA team sponsorship saying, "Two years ago with Breast Cancer Month coming up in October, we realized the majority of our customers were women and consequently at risk of breast cancer, so we figured that by distributing a 'Breast Cancer Glove' and contributing $2 to the breast cancer association in every country for every pair sold, would have some benefit." Mr. James, a Canadian resident, spends winters in Florida and met Mary Ross last year, which ultimately led to his first year as a sponsor. He attended the 2007 COTA and noted, "I thought it was quite good. It was quite interesting and a pleasant evening. They did a good job of it and it was well worth the involvement for the benefit of the cause." Team Can/Am SSG Gloves claimed victory in the Challenge last year, but the competitive aspect of retaining the COTA title is not what drives Mr. James's sponsorship. "I think breast cancer research wins, and that's my concern and reason for my involvement," he said. "I'll cheer for anybody if the cause is great!"

COTA Team Saddle Pad Sponsors

COTA welcomes three sponsors that are supporting the teams by supplying saddle pads: The Horse of Course for Team USA Purina Mills; Dover Saddlery for Team International Morgan Stanley, and Ecogold for Team Can/Am SSG Gloves.

COTA Official Insurer - Cunningham & Cunningham

Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance, Inc. of Monroe, NY, is back for the seventh consecutive year, covering COTA as the official insurer. Tom Cunningham explained his long-term involvement saying, "First of all, you can't lose sight of the cause. That's number one. The cause is a great cause. But on a lighter note, it's a great spectator event and the reason it's a great spectator event is it exposes the dressage world, and now the jumping world as well, to a large public audience - many who have never seen these sports before. Consequently, that may allow the horse industry to grow. The Challenge is well run and it's a gala event!"

COTA "Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres" - Hampton Green Farm

Hampton Green Farm, dedicated to the development of the Pure Spanish Horse for the discipline of dressage, joins COTA in 2008 for the first time as a sponsor. Hampton Green Farm is sponsoring the "Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres" reception in the International Club before the Opening Ceremonies. Kim Boyer, owner of Hampton Green Farm, based in Wellington, FL, and Fruitport, MI, has attended every edition of COTA as a Patron for the past seven years. "We've always purchased tables, but this is the first time I've actually had the opportunity to be a title sponsor for part of the event. I am so pleased to be able to offer more support for the Challenge of the Americas and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation," said Mrs. Boyer. "We're dressage people and we love the Challenge of the Americas. Mary Ross has done such a great job in developing this fundraiser. We really want to support her and the Foundation. We're very pleased to be involved and looking forward to a great evening."

COTA Challenge Gala Official Wine - King Ferry Winery

King Ferry Winery of King Ferry, NY, owned by Peter and Tacie Saltonstall, was one of the most appreciated new sponsors in 2007 for the Challenge Gala, and returns in 2008 to provide its delectable whites and reds as the official winery. Tacie Saltonstall explained her commitment to COTA saying, "I'm a breast cancer survivor of a year ago and I just think it's so darn important to keep raising money for research. I went through the whole gamut - chemo to radiation - for six months. It's hugely important that we keep the money coming in for breast cancer research." Mrs. Saltonstall, who is also an FEI level dressage competitor, appreciates the spectacle of the musical rides and the camaraderie of COTA. She noted, "I just love to watch all the guys do all the quadrilles. It's a night of everybody getting together for an awesome cause." Her daughter, Hattie Saltonstall, a student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, is designing dresses with the theme of cancer as her senior project. Two of Hattie's drawings will be in the auction at the Challenge Gala. "She's taking something that's so ugly and making it beautiful," said Mrs. Saltonstall. "We hope auctioning her drawings will add even more funds to the cause."

COTA Challenge Gala Pink Roses Centerpieces

Red Barn Feed & Supply of Loxahatchee, FL, will once again provide the signature touch of pink roses at the Challenge Gala. For the past three years, Red Barn Feed & Supply has flown in more than 2,000 pink roses from Colombia, South America, as centerpieces for the gala dinner tables.

COTA Promotional Partners - 97.9 WRMF and USDF

Radio Station 97.9 WRMF and morning disc jockey Jennifer Ross are returning as Promotional Partners for the 2008 COTA, providing exposure over the airwaves for thousands of listeners.

The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) once again joins COTA as a promotional partner, providing advertising and editorial support in its publication, USDF Connection, for the fifth consecutive year. "The Challenge is a very good fit for USDF because 95% of our members are women, so certainly breast cancer is a very worthy cause that is also of interest to our primary membership," said Stephan Hienzsch, USDF Executive Director. "And secondly, the event itself has grown to be what we believe is a very good event to promote dressage to the general public. So we like it from both perspectives - it's a great cause and very appropriate for our membership, and it's a great event that accomplishes one of our missions as an organization, which is to promote the sport."

COTA Venue Sponsor - Equestrian Sport Productions

New supporter Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) is donating the use of the facilities at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for this year's COTA, including the International Arena for the Opening Ceremonies, Challenge high jump and musical quadrille competition, and General Admission Dance Party; and the International Club for the Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres and the Challenge Gala.



2008 Challenge of the Americas

Schedule Of Festivities

Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

Equestrian Club Road



6:00 p.m. Patrons and Sponsors Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvres - International Club

6:30 p.m. "Salute to America" - Steffen Peters

6:45 p.m. "In Memory of Judy" - Lauren Sammis

7:00 p.m. Challenge of the Americas - Musical Quadrille and Jumper Extravaganza

8:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony

8:15 p.m. The Challenge Gala - International Club

General Admission Dancing - International Arena



TICKET INFORMATION

Gold Table Patron: $6,500

Premier seating for 8 (eight) at The Challenge of the Americas and The Challenge Gala; Patron table signage; Gold Level acknowledgement event programs and on promotional posters displayed throughout the Wellington community.

Silver Table Patron: $4,500

Prominent seating for 8 (eight) at The Challenge of the Americas and The Challenge Gala; Patron acknowledgement in the event programs and on promotional posters displayed throughout the Wellington community.

Bronze Table Patron: $2,000

VIP seating for 8 (eight) at The Challenge of the Americas and The Challenge Gala.

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: Team International Morgan Stanley Quadrille at Challenge of the Americas. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan Stickle

 

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