Rocker Bruce Springsteen offered up VIP concert tickets at a benefit auction and raised $US550,000 for the US Equestrian Team.
Springsteen, whose daughter Jessica is a rising showjumping star, surprised guests at the USET Foundation’s “An English Country Evening” Benefit by the late addition to the live auction. He had initially offered four VIP tickets to any concert in the United States.
As bidding continued to rise, Springsteen increased the number of passes to 8, 10, and finally 20, and included signed Fender guitars, and a personal backstage tour.
Two bidders, Hunter Harrison and Tom Tisbo were hotly contesting the item, and in the end each offered to donate $275,000 to “The Team” for the opportunity to see Springsteen live in concert with their friends and family.
The benefit event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida had more than 500 guests, and featured honorary chairs NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer and his wife Annette, an avid equestrian. The auction, which raised more than a million dollars, was officiated by Cross Gate Gallery’s Field Ladd, assisted by US Equestrian Federation President David O’Connor, and USET Foundation President Jane Forbes Clark.
Other items that went under the hammer included a Custom Oil Portrait donated by Sharon Lynn Campbell, which sold for $22,000. The London Olympics Eventing Package, donated by JetSet Sports/CoSport, also brought in $22,000, and a generous bidder claimed the Show Jumping and Dressage Package for $155,000. The opportunity to be a Character in New York Times Best Selling Author Tami Hoag’s Next Novel was also up for grabs, and was sold for $13,000. R. Bruce Duchossois donated a once in a lifetime “Trip for Two” to the Kentucky Derby, which was claimed for $67,500. During the live auction, guests also had the opportunity to bid on a “Trip for Four” to the Cat Cay Island in the Bahamas on a Privately Owned 80′ Yacht, donated by David Topping, which was sold for $55,000.
The Special Events Pavilion at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was transformed into a beautiful English country garden by designer Reed McIlvaine (Renny and Reed). USET Foundation President Jane Forbes Clark, Board of Trustee Members Robin Parsky and Bruce Duchossois, and Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins all helped organize the very successful event.
Clark kicked off the festivities by honoring the owners and riders that participated in the 2011 Pan American Games, sweeping the medals for the United States. She then welcomed honorary chairmen Matt and Annette Lauer, who recognized the guests for their dedication to the sport and the Olympic movement, as the USET Foundation prepares for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Following the opening remarks, the awards ceremony began by recognizing Gold Medal Club members who have supported the USET Foundation for 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. Clark then went on to recognize 19-year-old Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, California, the recipient of this year’s Lionel Guerrand-Hermes Trophy, which is presented to a Young Rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. In 2011, Davis set the west on fire, winning four grand prix events in a row at HITS Thermal aboard her brilliant mount Nemo 119, and represented the United States at the CSIO Falsterbo as a member of the Nations Cup Squad.
The final award was presented to Christine McCrea of East Windsor, Connecticutt, the recipient of the Whitney Stone Cup. The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport. McCrea represented the United States on numerous occasions in 2011 with her talented mount, Romantovich Take One, and earned Show Jumping’s Individual Gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games with five clear rounds, and contributing to the Team Gold.
“An English Country Evening” proved to be wildly successful for the USET Foundation, thanks to the generosity of the guests and auction donors, and its goal to help fund the United States Equestrian Team riders as they prepare and compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.