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USET Foundation Benefits from Dressage Riders’ Fundraising Event as ‘Celebrity Bartenders’

WELLINGTON, FLORIDA – March 14, 2007 – “Since the USET Foundation has, for the last 10 years, let me go all over the world and paid for the horses to get shipped and ride everywhere, everything I can do to help them I’m happy to do,” declared Grand Prix dressage rider Michael Barisone on Monday evening, March 12, as he bustled behind the bar as a “Celebrity Bartender” at the Wellington Golf & Country Club in Wellington, Florida. Barisone, along with fellow dressage riders Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page and Lauren Sammis, donated their time and their tips from three hours of bar tending at the club to the USET Foundation.

Throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival and polo season in Florida, Wellington Golf & Country Club reserves Monday evenings from 5-8 pm as ‘Equestrian Celebrity Bartender Night’, with bartenders from show jumping, polo, and dressage taking turns serving up spirits to benefit causes. On March 12, when the dressage community turned out to support their evening, more than 150 indulged in the festivities and generously rewarded the hard-working dressage rider/bartenders with gratuities.

For their efforts, the riders earned $500 in tips, which they donated to the USET Foundation. The regular bartenders at the club, who assisted the dressage riders in their drink mixology techniques, noted that it was the most well attended event to date in the Equestrian Celebrity Bartender Series.

Ernie and Marylou Shook with international dressage rider Kathy Connelly organized the event, inviting the bartender participants as well as the dressage community. Wellington Golf & Country Club provided complimentary hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

Tuny Page, who represented the U.S. at the 2006 World Cup Final in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and serves on the USET Foundation Board of Trustees, was delighted to be asked to help with this fundraiser. “First of all, can you say ‘no’ to Ernie Shook? No. Can you say ‘no’ to Kathy Connelly? No. They’re great contributors to the Foundation, so of course you’re going to do it!” Page enthused. “It’s a great cause and it supports every one of our High Performance athletes and we need the help, so why not? It’s a fun way to do it. Monday is the day off in Wellington and everybody’s ready to relax and enjoy themselves by 6 o’clock on Monday night.”

At times the bar was three-deep in customers, and the dressage riders were pouring, mixing, and waiting on customers as fast as they could move. Contributing to the Foundation and the festivities were prominent dressage community members including George and Roberta Williams, Anna Tilman, Diana Miller, Michael Kohl, Reese Koffler, and Jennifer Wills.

“It’s a great fundraiser. It’s a great cause and it’s great that we’re all spending time together as a team,” summed up Lauren Sammis. “It’s a fun way to get everybody together.”

The non-profit United States Equestrian Team Foundation supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance athletes and horses in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. For more information about the USET Foundation or to make a donation, please call (908) 234-1251 or visit its website at http://www.uset.org.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tuny Page and Michael Barisone were “Celebrity Bartenders” at Wellington Golf & Country Club to benefit the USET Foundation. PHOTO CREDIT: Chrissy Lane/PhelpsSports.com.


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