Hunter Holloway is an accomplished rider and trainer with numerous major victories under her belt. She was riding horses with her mother Brandie Holloway before she could walk. Holloway rode to win the coveted 2016 ASPCA Maclay Championship and the 2016 Washington International Equitation Championships after winning all three phases of the competition. Holloway also won the U25 Jumper Championship at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show the same year. She is one of the winningest young riders, earning respect in national and international competitions on both hunters and jumpers. More recent victories include a CSI5* win in Spruce Meadows and numerous victories at WEF, Tryon and Omaha. Now 22 years old, she splits her time between Wellington and her hometown of Topeka, Kansas, where she is deeply involved in her family’s business.
Lillie Keenan rose to prominence as one of the country’s top junior riders, who swept the championships in the 2007 and 2008 USEF Pony Finals. At age 13, she won the 2010 Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals. The next year, Keenan took home the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, defeating some of the sport’s top professionals. Now 23, she has continued her winning ways. In 2018, Keenan was named to the Short List for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon before heading to Europe to compete in the Global Champions Tour. In 2019, Keenan earned a string of top placings at the Devon Horse Show, where she rode Chaccolette to third place in the $72,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake and fourth in the $36,000 Devon International Speed Stake. At Hickstead, Keenan and Fasther finished eighth in the Bunn Leisure International Stakes and 12th in the famed Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup.
As the son of two trainers, Darragh Kenny, 32, began competing at the age of 10 in his homeland of Ireland. Kenny’s career quickly flourished as he competed in his first Grand Prix at the age of 14 and was invited to compete at the Dublin Horse Show. He soon began working with North Run Farm under the tutelage of Missy Clark and John Brennan. With the help of Clark, Kenny was able to ride on Obelix, a horse that guided him to the top level of the sport with key wins starting in 2009. He had a show-stopping European tour in 2019. With Balou du Reventon, owned by Ann Thompson, he earned two prestigious 5* Grand Prix wins over the summer and also produced two clear rounds in the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona to earn team gold and the coveted final Olympic qualification slot for the Irish show jumping team. When not in the saddle, he operates Oakland Stables with American show jumper Hardin Towell.
Born in Chicago, Nayel Nassar rides for Egypt, his parents’ homeland. He first tried equestrian sport at age 5 and began jumping at age 10. Nassar qualified for the FEI World Cup Finals in 2013, 2014 and 2017, and the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2014. More recently, he competed at the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Paris aboard Lordan, and regularly competes on the international Grand Prix circuit. He is a regular on the Longines Global Champions Tour. Now 29, Nassar graduated from Stanford with a degree in economics in 2013 and is fluent in Arabic, French and English. He had a great season last year in Wellington, where he rode Lucifer V to the win in the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 CSI 5* during the final week of the 2019 WEF.
World-class equestrian sport is back at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington for the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival, which opened on Jan. 8 and continues until March 29.
With more than 70 divisions of hunter-jumper competition featuring everything from short-stirrup up to Olympic-level show jumping, WEF is the premier winter equestrian destination for many of the world’s top horses and riders.
Managed by Equestrian Sport Productions, WEF is the largest and longest-running equestrian festival in the world, with more than 7,000 horses competing throughout the winter circuit and welcoming competitors of all ages to the venue to enjoy the ideal South Florida winter weather.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center has long been recognized as one of the finest equestrian venues in the world. Each winter, riders from 50 countries and all 50 states travel to Wellington to compete at PBIEC. The venue covers 500 acres with 80 acres of competition rings alone.
In November, the venue completed the installation of a newly engineered riding surface in the International Arena and warm-up ring after assembling a team of five world-class equestrian footing experts. The team consisted of Premier Equestrian Inc., Bart Poels of Poels Equestrian, Bill Hawe of iEquiTek, FEI footing expert Lars Roepstroff and Travis Gould of JTWG Inc. The new arena now boasts an innovative drainage system, the OTTO Sport Base Mat system, and a state-of-the-art footing surface that’s both safer and more durable for horses and riders.
“Horse welfare remains the top priority during our 12-week circuit,” ESP President Michael Stone said. “The popularity of the venue gave rise to accelerated wear and tear over the last few years. Based on our review and feedback from the riders, we were in agreement that the surface needed total replacement to meet the caliber of competition that we are hosting. In addition, with the World Cup Finals taking place in the U.S. next April, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics running in August, we expect the world’s best riders to bring their top-level horses to WEF this season to prepare and organize their international teams.”
The four CSI 5* Grand Prix classes, the highest level of international show jumping in the sport, will take place on Feb. 8 (WEF 5), Feb. 22 (WEF 7), March 7 (WEF 9) and March 28 (WEF 12) in the International Arena. These competitions attract top horse-and-rider combinations and include four FEI World Ranking classes during each week. The final CSI 5* competition of the circuit (WEF 12) hosts the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, the most prestigious international class of the 2020 season. This year, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* will once again take place on the final Saturday of the season.
The $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, kicked off the Saturday Night Lights series on Saturday, Jan. 11, pitting males against females in a battle to see which gender reigns supreme. Always a crowd favorite, spectators were encouraged to support their favorite team by wearing either blue or pink outfits.
WEF welcomes Equinimity LLC as a third-year title sponsor of the popular WEF Challenge Cup classes, Thursday’s weekly highlight competition. The Equinimity WEF Challenge classes began Thursday, Jan. 8 and will continue through Thursday, March 26, with distributed prize money ranging from $35,000 up to $132,000.
The CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classics will once again take place throughout the circuit at both PBIEC’s main grounds and the Derby Field at Equestrian Village, culminating with a final class on Saturday, March 21 with the $132,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Classic Final, which takes place under the lights in the International Arena and offers a substantial prize for the overall series winner.
The 2020 winter season will also see a return of the prestigious Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series, showcasing the next generation of talent for five editions of competition. Hosted at both the main grounds of PBIEC and at Equestrian Village, the Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series is sure to impress, once again featuring many of the world’s best riders under the age of 25.
The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, a major philanthropic event hosted annually at PBIEC, is set for the evening of Saturday, Feb. 1. Over the last 10 years, the GCC has raised in excess of $13.5 million for more than 250 well-deserving Palm Beach County charities.
The GCC is a pro-am style relay race between teams of riders in costume. This year’s theme is “Broadway Musicals,” and teams will have the opportunity to represent plays and musicals, along with their traditional customs in costumes and decorations. The winning team will claim more than $150,000 for their paired charity, while all participating charities receive at least $15,000.
The $100,000 USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular during Week 6 of WEF draws eyes to an evening of stunning hunter displays. Riders competing for one of the discipline’s yearly top honors will take to the International Arena for an evening of traditional and classic hunter competition. This week also features a varying group of hunter divisions competing in the International Arena throughout the week, while FEI CSI 3* jumper classes will take place at PBIEC’s Equestrian Village location.
A continual crowd favorite, the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO 4*, featuring a team-format competition between riders representing their home countries, will be part of Saturday Night Lights in 2020 and hosted on Saturday, Feb. 29, during Week 8 of WEF. Last year, the United States team claimed the gold medal after a thrilling jump-off with team members Wilton Porter, Beezie Madden, Adrienne Sternlicht and McLain Ward. This year, the U.S. will look to defend its title. Spectators are encouraged to represent their favorite team and country, as prizes are given to the “most spirited spectators” throughout the evening — so grab your flags and bring the whole family.
WEF concludes on Sunday, March 29, with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Derby Field of Equestrian Village to officially close out the 12 weeks of the season. Top hunter riders will set out on a beautiful course in an attempt to capture the final major prize of the winter circuit. Spectators are encouraged to enjoy the final day of WEF from the berm on the Derby Field or on the adjacent grassy knoll.
General admission is free at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the WEF circuit, which hosts competitions from Wednesday morning through Sunday afternoon. Numerous vendors and shops are open throughout the season, showcasing products and services that range from horse wear and tack, to art, jewelry, fine clothing and emerging technologies.
The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 3400 Equestrian Club Drive in Wellington. For more information, visit www.pbiec.com or call (561) 793-5867.
The support and commitment to the Winter Equestrian Festival continues to increase each year, welcoming both new and longstanding sponsors to Wellington for the highly anticipated winter circuit. Each season, WEF welcomes riders and fans of various ages, demographics and origins to the village for three consecutive months.
For sponsors of WEF, presence at the competitive venue offers a valuable opportunity to invest in the growth of the sport, while simultaneously reaching a valuable new market of customers. Competitors and spectators travel from around the globe to attend the 12 weeks of competition. The audience base ranges widely in terms of lifestyle, net worth and interests, which is what makes WEF an incredibly unique hub for acquiring prospective consumers for a variety of brands.
Over the years, new and innovative ways to incorporate sponsor messaging and branding have been woven into the overall development of sponsorship packages. These include arena presence with branded and distinctive jumps and obstacles, branded signage, digital marketing campaigns, custom social media and interactive activations, just to name a few.
The equestrian community is a tight-knit family, with many supporters and businesses continuing their involvement for many years. Without committed and dedicated partners, the sport would not be able to succeed the way it has in recent years at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Several WEF sponsors have been partnering with the event for more than 10 years.
“Sponsorship is a crucial component of our business model, and support is essential to the continued expansion and diversification of equestrian sport,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner and CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions. “We are honored and grateful to have the unrelenting and established commitment from our loyal partners and are extremely motived to continue introducing equestrian supporters to new markets, as the opportunities within this domain are endless.”
With each new year, the sport and the season at PBIEC attracts more riders, horses and enthusiasts, which is a positive sign for the trajectory of the equestrian industry as a whole. New brands and companies are welcomed each season to join the equestrian community, and personalized campaigns and benefits are developed consistently.
The Winter Equestrian Festival thanks the following major sponsors: Adequan, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Fidelity Investments, Horseware Ireland, Lugano Diamonds, NetJets, Premier Equestrian, Wellington Agricultural Services and Wellington Regional Medical Center.
Additionally, the Winter Equestrian Festival thanks the following corporate sponsors: Alessandro Albanese, Always Faithful Equestrian Club, Animo, Antarès Sellier France, the Bainbridge Companies, the Brazilian Court Hotel, Bruno Delgrange, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, CaptiveOne Advisors, Carol Sollak of Engel & Völkers, Celebrity Cruises, Champion Equine Insurance, Chronicle of the Horse, Corro, CCTV Agent, CP, CWD, Dever Inc., Devoucoux, Discover the Palm Beaches, Dover Saddlery, Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty, Equifit, Equiline, Equine Tack & Nutritionals, Equinimity LLC, Equitan by IDA Development, Everglades Farm Equipment, Farm Stand, FarmVet, Free x Rein, Gold Coast Feed & Nutrition, Go Rentals, Griffis Residential, Hampton Inn & Suites at Wellington and Lake Worth, Heathman Farm, Hermès, Hunt LTD, Johnson Horse Transportation, JTWG Inc., Karina Brez Jewelry, Keyes Art Gallery, Maria Mendelsohn of Douglas Elliman, Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Martha Jolicoeur at Douglas Elliman, Nutrena, Omega Alpha, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, Palm Beach Day Academy, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Perfect Products, Platinum Performance, Prestige Italia, ProElite, Puissance America, Restylane, Rosenbaum PLLC, Rushy Marsh Farm, SP Rhodes Equestrian Identity, Sleepy P Ranch, Southern Arches LLC, Sportfot, Spy Coast Farm, Triple Crown Custom by Horseware, Triple Crown Feed, Vestrum, Veuve Clicquot, Vita Flex, Voltaire Design, the Wanderers Club and Wellington Equestrian Realty.
The 2020 WEF season began on Wednesday, Jan. 8 and will continue through Sunday, March 29. The 12-week circuit features 60 days of top international show jumping, hunter and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The event includes 11 weeks of FEI competition, concluding with the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CIS 5* on Saturday, March 28.
To learn more about sponsorships, visit www.pbiec.com or e-mail Whitney Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Winter Equestrian Festival, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, is the world’s largest and longest-running horse show circuit, with an elite combination of competition, community, social activity and more. Each WEF season brings the best of the best in the equestrian world to Wellington.
Serving as a seasonal home to more than 7,000 horses worth more than half a billion dollars, the 12-week circuit runs from January through March and has something for everyone. Competitors of all ages can participate in a multitude of world-class events, with divisions in hunters, jumpers and equitation available for each level of experience.
Spectators are invited to watch horses and riders from around the world vie for more than $13 million in prize money, with the Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix events being the cherry on top of each week’s exciting competition. Dubbed the world’s premier winter equestrian event, it is easy to understand how WEF entices competitors from more than 50 countries and more than 500,000 visitors annually.
WEF is not just an exceptional competition hub for athletes and spectators, it also provides a luxurious hangout for activities and events outside the show ring. From shopping and casual dining, to exhilarating entertainment and educational opportunities, WEF offers a unique experience for all those who come to visit. General admission to PBIEC is free and open to the public all season long.
Looking to purchase a new top for your night on the town? Searching for the perfect gift for a friend to give them a little slice of South Florida heaven? Maybe you are a few minutes away from competing and forgot your boot socks. Whatever you are searching for, you’ll find it within minutes at the WEF retail shops.
More than 100 vendors occupy the show grounds each week and offer a wide variety of products, styles and sizes. The shops are spread over several locations on-site, including on Hunter Hill, over the iconic PBIEC bridge, in Vendor Row, and around the many competition rings. Best of all, there are new vendors every week, so your fab finds are sure to be up to date as the season progresses.
Vendor Row hosts the majority of vendors in the center of the grounds but be sure to check out the boutiques located by the International Arena. Both areas have shopping that caters to all equestrian and non-equestrian needs, ranging from luxury products to inexpensive merchandise. For those looking to commemorate their visit to the horse show, the WEF Boutique offers clothing, posters and souvenirs with the iconic WEF logo.
In addition to shopping opportunities, WEF also has an abundance of food and drink options, ranging from a quiet lunch to a large private event. If you are searching for a quick bite during the day, visit one of the on-site vendors that offer everything from burgers and fries to salads and wraps. Interested in a taco to go? Swing by the new Don Chepo’s spot on Hunter Hill or Tito’s Mexican out by Pony Island. Another popular choice is the Oasis Café, which offers an assortment of fresh and light meals that can be ordered on-site or ahead of time by phone.
You can also sit down at the Tiki Hut to eat a delicious meal while enjoying panoramic views of the International Arena. Health gurus and riders looking to fuel up before mounting are sure to love the new Farm Stand food trucks stationed by Ring 11, where you can grab a vegan bite on the way over to the Yoga Deck.
If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, be sure to try out Whitehorse Fashion Cuisine. Located by the main entrance to the show grounds, Whitehorse provides the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing and refreshing dinner with a wide range of food and drink choices. PBIEC also caters special and corporate events throughout the season. No matter what type of food or experience you are craving, there is something for everyone at WEF.
Of course, the main attraction to WEF is the high level of show jumping competition. And there is no better night to witness this exhilarating entertainment than on Saturday evening. The Saturday Night Lights attraction has become a favorite for both competitors and spectators.
Beyond watching the best riders in the world, there are numerous attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Pony rides, petting zoos and stilt-walkers are just a few of the many things you’ll see when you walk through the front gates at WEF on Saturday night — and it’s all free to the general public. Saturday Night Lights is not just for the kids, because adults can also have fun at one of the many bars located around the International Arena both during and after the Grand Prix. You can also dance the night away at the Gallery following the equestrian competition. If you can only attend WEF one day a week, Saturday is the best choice.
Outside the ring, the Winter Equestrian Festival continues to offer several learning experiences and activities for everyone. Come take a tour of the world-renowned facility followed by a catered lunch. Explore all 12 of the competition rings, the stabling area where horses prepare for competition, and a stroll through Vendor Village and Trailer Row.
Perhaps you’d like to forgo the tour and sit in and expand your knowledge at one of the popular Lunch & Learn events. Hosted on Thursdays weekly during WEF, the Lunch & Learn series provides educational platforms for horse enthusiasts to learn more about a variety of equine-related topics, including management and maintenance, horsemanship and care, as well as emerging technologies and treatment methods available in the equine veterinary industry. Speak with experts in their respective industries and enter to win fun, end-of-season prizes.
Whether staying for the entire 12 weeks of competition or just passing through for a few days, there is plenty to do at WEF. You can witness the world’s best riders compete daily, dine at a variety of restaurants, shop until you drop, entertain the kids, enjoy an adults-only night out and learn more about various equine topics — all without leaving the showgrounds.
For more information about the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, visit www.pbiec.com.
The Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, will be returning to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the 11th year on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Founded in 2010 by Mark and Paige Bellissimo, the event has distributed $13.5 million to more than 240 Palm Beach County charities to date. The exciting event hinges on the generous support of the equestrian community and local business partners. Donations and sponsorships from local families, foundations, businesses, vendors, exhibitors and spectators, ranging from $50 to $50,000, are what make the event reach its fundraising goal of more than $1 million every year.
Over the last five years, the relay-style show jumping competition has brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes into each yearly celebration. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “Broadway Musicals” will pay recognition to the wisdom commonly found in these plays.
“We look forward to kick-starting this new decade of the GCC, along with the start of our 12-week season, in the company of such outstanding and diverse organizations,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and co-founder of the Great Charity Challenge. “This year’s applicant list is a true reflection of the amazing work they do to make Palm Beach County a better place. We are very grateful for them and for the continued support of the event sponsors. We hope that the GCC will become the legacy of our partnership and this facility.”
A total of 69 Palm Beach County-based organizations benefited from the 2019 GCC event. Based on a community-needs assessment with partnering agencies, the team and its board have established that a minimum of two agencies will represent the following seven categories during its upcoming 11th annual event: access to education, access to work and economic growth, child welfare, ending poverty, fighting hunger, good health and well-being, and partnerships for community development. With more than 350 applications received for a chance to participate, organizations were selected in a lottery-style drawing in early December.
“The encouragements and true camaraderie witnessed on social media between nonprofits during the selection process was heartwarming and inspiring,” Paige Bellissimo said. “We look forward to working with many of the organizations in the months to come in an effort to amplify the event’s impact. Our objective is to not only give them a financial leg up, but also increase their visibility and provide the opportunity to connect with each other to better serve the community.”
Jeff DeMario, CEO of Vita Nova Inc., one of this year’s selected charities, is enthusiastic about the opportunity.
“This is so fantastic, we could scream. In fact, we did! Thank you for this opportunity. It is because of people and teams like those from the Great Charity Challenge that gives us hope that there are still people who believe in helping others and joining causes like ours,” DeMario said. “Thank you for that. We thank you from each and every homeless and older foster youth we serve.”
Equestrian Sport Productions, PBIEC’s operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, donates the facility, staff and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event and guarantees that all of the funds raised are redistributed in the community.
The GCC competition will offer free general admission and will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 starting at 6 p.m. at PBIEC during WEF’s Saturday Night Lights. Free parking will be located at 13500 South Shore Blvd., home to the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds. An art contest and gallery involving all 12 Wellington public schools will highlight #NationalFreedomDay using recyclable materials. Displayed in the Wellington Club Gallery at PBIEC, the event will be open to the public free of charge. For more information, visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.
2020 Participating Charities
Admirals Cove Foundation
Back to Basics
The Children’s Home Society
The Cultural Council
of Palm Beach County
Dress for Success
of the Palm Beaches
The Equestrian Aid Foundation
Feed the Hungry Pantry
of Palm Beach County
The Hanley Foundation
Help Our Wounded Foundation
Morningday Community Solutions
The Spirit of Giving Network
The Step by Step Foundation
Wellington Public Schools
The Young Singers of the Palm Beaches
Additional charities will be selected in the weeks leading up to the
event and on the day of the event.
Matthew Otero’s life is all about helping year-round residents and visiting equestrians to accomplish their fitness goals and athletic aspirations. Through continuing education to address unique physiological needs, personalized nutrition and specific strength-training programs, he works with each client in developing universal principles.
Otero earned his 2019 drug-free Mr. Universe Bodybuilding title using his four valuable principles of success.
“I use intensity, consistency, motivation and experience while upholding the highest level of integrity,” said Otero, an Ohio native who has lived with his wife Liz in the Wellington area for the last dozen years. “We are both professional fitness trainers, as well as parents of two young children. We run the Mighty Oaks Equestrian Farm boarding and training facility in Loxahatchee Groves, as well as Results Personal Training where we train many equestrian athletes and other fitness and strength-related modalities.
Otero lives a high-quality, healthy lifestyle and was ready, at the age of 40, to begin training for a Pro National Gym Association drug-free bodybuilder title in the 2019 Mr. Universe Bodybuilding Competition, just 18 weeks before he would make his debut at the competition and ultimately bring the title back to the United States.
“As an NGA Pro Bodybuilder, we submit ourselves to not only a drug test, but also to a polygraph test about not using any performance-enhancing drugs,” Otero explained.
For the concentration and intensity necessary for competition preparation, what better motivator than to have a baby or two? “We have two beautiful kids, Blaise and Mia, who are within 15 months of each other,” Otero said. “Blaise will be 2 years old in February, and Mia was just born July 30.”
Before opening Results Personal Training 13 years ago, Otero always felt his true passion was to help people physically and mentally. “At that time, I met an amazing baseball coach, trainer and Christian, Bruce Charlebois, from Highlands Christian Academy,” Otero said.
Charlesbois asked Otero to help his team with speed and strength, and that year was the first time the school went to the state regionals. “From then on, I haven’t stopped helping people, whether it be athletes or general fitness clients,” Otero said.
He also teamed up with Tony Cabrales at Tony Fit4life, which was a huge opportunity for him to start training more equestrian athletes.
“One thing I have learned throughout the years is that there is opportunity all around if you stay honest to your true passions,” Otero said. “For me, it is all about helping people do things they never thought they could. Also, when that opportunity presents itself, you must be willing to do the work. You can be presented with the greatest opportunity, but if you’re not willing to put in the time and passion, then that opportunity is completely meaningless.”
Workouts at Results Personal Training are personalized. “We believe in one-on-one customized training specifically for our client’s level, sport or goal with customized diet and fitness programing,” Otero said. “We are able to work around injuries or any restrictions.”
Clients have direct access to fitness professionals who have lifelong experience dedicated to competing in high-level athletics and fitness.
“We provide nutrition for weight loss, and services for general fitness to competitive bodybuilding, fitness for persons with disabilities, sports specific (football, baseball, wrestling, soccer) fitness, strength sports, powerlifting, bodybuilding, speed development and mass building,” Otero said. “We are really proud when we change our clients’ lives, or we help them do something they never thought they would be able to do.”
Otero loves the western communities and the Wellington area. “The Village of Wellington and the surrounding communities are such a unique place,” he said. “Not only do we get to enjoy the beautiful South Florida weather and lifestyle… the local economy is also fortunate enough to be involved in a very unique equestrian atmosphere.”
Otero’s hope is that through Results Personal Training, clients can reach their own goals to better themselves.
“They don’t have to get on stage or on the powerlifting platform, but it would be cool if they did,” Otero said. “It’s really not about that. It’s really about believing that they can better themselves, that the things we can control, we need to control, and that the internal doesn’t have to control our external. At Results Personal Training, we have a passion for helping and sharing what we have experienced and learned. We want to give this back to our clients and change each one of their lives personally.”
For more info., call Matthew Otero at Results Personal Training at (561) 216-9026. He can also be found on Instagram @resultsperstraining and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/resultspt.
When Jen Sherry and Kristina Bostwick met 11 years ago through the Mom’s Club of Wellington, they realized immediately that they were destined to become friends.
Both came to Wellington from big cities — Sherry from Baltimore and Bostwick from Chicago. They each have four children of similar ages, and both know what it’s like to be the mother of a child with serious medical needs.
Their bond deepened through their children’s illnesses, comparing notes on doctors and treatments and being each other’s source of strength. Sherry’s daughter has epilepsy, which is under control thanks to her current medications, and Bostwick’s son is a healthy high school senior after having open heart surgery as a young child.
Their shared experiences made them realize how important it is to have a network of other parents who can relate to having critically ill children.
“That’s what gets you through — other families to talk to who are dealing with the same challenges,” Sherry said.
Their desire to help others made them the perfect volunteers to help launch the Casey Cares Foundation in South Florida and serve as Champion of Children honorees for its inaugural “An Evening with Casey Cares” event on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Breakers West Country Club.
The Casey Cares Foundation was founded in Baltimore by Casey Baynes, who was inspired by working at children’s charities to create her own nonprofit focused on providing special experiences for families with a child who is fighting a life-threatening disease that requires frequent hospitalizations.
For some, the family events may be the only reprieve from hospital stays and doctors’ visits. For others, they may be one of the last events they will attend with all family members present.
When Baynes looked to Florida to expand, she called the one friend she knew would make it happen — Sherry. And she called the one friend she knew would be right there at her side — Bostwick.
“When Casey asked if I could help, my first though was ‘Yes!’ My second thought was Kristina would be a perfect partner,” Sherry said.
It was not only Bostwick’s experience as a mother, it was also her background as a neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric nurse and the can-do attitude she had as PTA president at Panther Run Elementary School. Sherry knew that her friend would understand how meaningful Casey Cares would be to Wellington and the entire South Florida community.
“It was very special that Casey recognized the most important thing is the family unit,” Bostwick said. “If you can provide a little stress relief and respite, it is a boost to the entire family’s mental health.”
While it has been only been a few months since Casey Cares launched in South Florida, Sherry and Bostwick have already rallied sponsors, donors and sports teams to contribute to the special programming that is designed to keep families’ spirits high and create lasting memories.
Their first big outing brought together two boys who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families to attend a Miami Dolphins game. While the boys didn’t know each other — one is from West Palm Beach and the other is from Miami — having their families share the experience is part of the magic of Casey Cares. “We’re making connections for families to share a special moment and create a lasting bond,” Sherry said.
Other outings in the works are an afternoon at the zoo, pizza and movie nights, and a spa day just for moms who need self-care.
For children who are hospital-bound, Casey Cares found a special way to bring joy — brand new pajamas. The program is called “Kami’s Jammies” in memory of a young Casey Cares patient who loved to receive new pajamas when she was in the hospital.
Sherry and Bostwick have created partnerships with a number of organizations to hold pajama drives, including Chick-fil-A and the South Florida Science Center & Aquarium, which made Casey Cares a beneficiary of its “Noon Year’s Eve” celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 31, asking families to bring a donation of new pajamas. The Children’s Hospital at Palms West is one of the designated hospitals that will receive the pajamas to share with patients.
An Evening with Casey Cares will be the group’s biggest Florida event yet. As the evening’s honorees, Sherry and Bostwick are looking forward to welcoming hundreds of supporters who will enjoy a seated dinner, an open bar, live music from the Bay Kings Band, a silent auction filled with unique items and more.
“One of the things Jen and I love about Wellington is how charitable our community is,” Bostwick said. “I’m happy to see my kids grow up here and be surrounded by others who give back. We’re hoping to have that same spirit at the event where people can see a kid with a big, happy smile and know that it was because of their generosity.”
An Evening with Casey Cares will take place Saturday, Feb. 29 from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Breakers West Country Club. Tickets are $150 per person, and tables of 10 are available.
For more information about the Casey Cares Foundation, e-mail Jennifer McCorvey, southern region development director, at email@example.com, or visit www.caseycares.org.