Gladstone, New Jersey – Today, the United States Equestrian Team Foundation (USET Foundation) announced that the Festival of Champions would not be held in 2005. The main reason for the decision was the need for the USET Foundation to focus its efforts and resources on a new fundraising campaign to be launched in 2005. Foundation officials stressed that, while the fundraising efforts must take precedence over the Festival of Champions, steps are being taken to properly plan for a 2006 event in New Jersey. A special committee will be formed to evaluate and consider issues relating to dates, format, competition schedule, marketing, and community involvement.
“While we are disappointed about not holding the Festival of Champions, we intend to take steps toward bringing back the event in 2006,” said Bonnie B. Jenkins, Executive Director, USET Foundation. “Toward that end, we will form a special committee to assess all aspects of the Festival of Champions to determine how to best manage some of the logistical challenges that contributed to our decision not to hold the event in 2005.”
The USET Foundation stables, dressage arena, and Pine Meadow competition areas comprise an extraordinary facility for equestrian athletes and the community. The USET Foundation fully intends to utilize the historic building and grounds in Gladstone to hold equestrian events, such as training sessions, pony club camp, fundraising events, demonstrations, and the Somerset Hills Riding for the Handicapped Horse Show – all of which are important to the equestrian community.
“We are excited to take on the challenge of properly financing our athletes to compete on a world stage where competitors are often better equipped and have greater financial support than us,” said Jenkins. “The Festival of Champions is a great event, and we want it to return, but, at this time, all of our energy and resources must be directed to the fundraising effort for our equestrian athletes and high-performance programs to make competitive excellence possible now and in the future.”
Last year was the first time that the Festival of Champions was not held in Gladstone since its inception in 1992. The event was moved to multiple locations in California for show jumping and dressage in conjunction with the Olympic Selection Trials and Oklahoma City for reining in conjunction with their National Championship.
About the United States Equestrian Team Foundation
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the nonprofit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel, and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.