Funds raised from the event will support U.S. equestrian teams headed to 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games
The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s “Victory inVersailles” Benefit Gala, presented by Lugano Diamonds and co-chaired by Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen, raised more than $2 million to support the U.S. equestrian teams competing at the upcoming 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, France.
Held on Friday, January 19, 2024, at Five Rings Farm in Wellington, Florida, the event attracted approximately 600 guests and featured a live auction and entertainment by Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen. On stage, the pair joined The Legends of The Voice, a premier band showcasing the stars of NBC’s hit show “The Voice,” presented by entertainment sponsor, HUB Private Client.
The USET Foundation’s prestigious annual awards were also presented during the gala. USET Foundation Chairman, President, and CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. was presented with the R. Bruce Duchossois Distinguished Trustee Award; up-and-coming show jumping athlete Zayna Rizvi was presented with the Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy; and five-time show jumping Olympian and Olympic gold and silver medalist McLain Ward was awarded the Whitney Stone Cup.
“Sustaining competitive excellence at the highest levels of equestrian sport on the international stage requires hard work, an unwavering commitment, and significant resources,” said McNerney. “Unlike some other countries, U.S. equestrian sport does not receive government funding. Our teams rely predominately on support from the USET Foundation and the organization’s and sport’s dedicated and loyal donors.
“I’m thrilled that ‘Victory in Versailles’ was an outstanding success and raised more than $2 million for our country’s equestrian programs,” McNerney continued. “In addition to supporting our US Equestrian (USEF) High Performance Programs and elite athletes and horses, USET Foundation funding also supports developing athletes through USEF’s High Performance Pathway Programs such as the FEI North American Youth Championships and USEF’s international developing tours.”
Bonnie B. Jenkins, Executive Director of the USET Foundation, said, “Each and every donor plays a critical role in helping our country’s athletes and teams achieve greatness on the most prominent international stages, and I’m very grateful to our community for sharing in this vision and contributing to the success of ‘Victory in Versailles.’ It truly takes a village. Special thanks to Zacharie and Louis Vinios for hosting this event at their beautiful Five Rings Farm. Inaddition to all of those in attendance, I want to express my sincere gratitude to our benefit chairmen and committee members, presenting sponsor Lugano Diamonds, entertainment sponsor HUB Private Client, wine sponsor Château de Reignac, and event professionals GLDN Events, Creative Edge Parties, and Renny & Reed Florals and Event Design.”
Scialfa and Springsteen were also among those instrumental in making a lasting impact in the event’s success thanks to their live auction donation of a VIP concert experience and travel on the tour plane with Springsteen and the E Street Band, which was ultimately auctioned twice. Notably, a historic villa in Tuscany, Italy, donated by Glen Senk and Keith Johnson, was also purchased two times during the live auction, and Casa de Casas, a Mexican oceanfront escape donated by the Casas family, garnered several enthusiastic bids and support for the U.S. equestrian teams.
On the heels of a successful event, McNerney and the team at the USET Foundation look forward to cheering on the U.S. equestrian squads in the exciting and critical months ahead.
“This is a momentous year with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, held on the grounds of the historic Palace of Versailles, in plain view,” concluded McNerney. “The money raised will ensure our teams have the resources to be prepared for the biggest stage in sport.”
Scenes from “Victory in Versailles”