EVERGREEN INVITATIONAL GOES ON DESPITE RAIN!
BRISTOL, WI, September 18th ---Despite record-breaking rains that flooded homes, shutdown expressways and closed O'Hare Airport, 650 of Chicagoland's most determined made their way to Bristol, Wisconsin to watch the second annual Evergreen Invitational equestrian Grand Prix presented by Wachovia Securities last Saturday.
With proceeds to benefit Northwestern Memorial Hospital, nationally and internationally ranked riders, including several Olympic medalists, took to the course despite water logged conditions that worsened by the minute.
"The riders went out there and did the show because the audience had come to watch them. The weather was terrible, but the spirit and support of the community and the athletes was wonderful," said M.K. Pritzker, event founder, owner of Evergreen Farm and head of the equestrian sports committee for Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid.
That spirit and support raised $900,000 for Prentice Women's Hospital, which will use the funds for innovative patient care programs that benefit infants and women in all stages of life.
Although the Grand Prix was to finish with a "jump off," awarding the $75,000 purse to horse and rider with the fastest time and fewest knocked down rails, this particular Saturday it was not meant to be. The competition was stopped early with finalists Margie Engle (Wellington, FL), Maggie Jayne (Elgin, IL) and Scott Lenkart (Minneapolis, MN) evenly splitting the first, second and third place winnings.
"The rain created poor course conditions that meant greater risk for the horses and riders. It just wasn't worth it. I made the call," Pritzker admitted.
Earlier, the $25,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Classic sponsored by R. Bruce Duchossois of H 'n D Stables was won by Taylor Mc Murtry (Barrington, IL). Second and third place was taken by Laura Linback (Mundelein, IL) and Caty Hope (Barrington, IL), respectively.
Those who braved the elements were richly rewarded with an equestrian sports spectacular for the eye and a feast for the stomach. From tents overlooking the course, the crowd enjoyed a hot and cold buffet catered by Jewell Events Catering with beef tenderloin and turkey breast carving stations, poached salmon, chicken saltimbocca assorted salads and breads. Dessert trays with pastries, tarts and cakes were passed at each table.
Outside, a fabulous "Promenade of Shops" displayed the wares of merchants as diverse as Graff Diamonds, Hoosier Mama Pies, Dennis Basso, Pagoda Red and Moet and Chandon Champagne. An inviting array of Aston Martins, Ferraris and Maseratis, brought in by Gold Medal Sponsor Lake Forest Sports Cars, graced the lawn.
Alan Trick of Nola's Fromagerie had come from Green Bay.
"There's not much you can do about the weather. We got wet like everyone else, but we were totally amazed by the venue and were honored to be invited," he said.
"We did well because cheese is the ultimate finger food," Trick explained. "And we met MK, which was a high point."
"The Foundation is doing work that's near and dear to our hearts. They reach out to everyone. We're absolutely coming back next year."