Wellington, Fla. – March 31, 2017 – Nic Roldan’s 2nd Annual Sunset Polo & White Party,hosted by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo to benefit Brooke USA was a truesuccess last Friday, March 24. The standout event raised more than $275,000 forworking equines and the humans who depend on them in some of the world’s underprivilegedcountries. The sold-out event, held at The Wanderers Club, featured anexhilarating sunset polo match, pool-side white party, as well as resoundingsupport from the Wellington and Palm Beach social scenes.
"Brooke USA is thrilled withthe support received from the equestrian community in Wellington, Florida, aswell as supporters who traveled from afar. Tonight we had close to 1,000 people attend our event to raise money forworking equines in some of the poorest countries across the globe,” said BrookeUSA’s Executive Director Emily Dulin. “We are very grateful for the enthusiasmof all those present, especially event hosts Mark and Katherine Bellissimo, andBrooke USA Ambassador Nic Roldan. We are looking forward to producing an evengreater event in 2018."
An exciting sunset polo gamekicked off the charity event with Nic Roldan, rated at 8 goals, leading TeamTito’s Handmade Vodka to a tie game against Team Aithon Capital Management. Grant Ganzi (2), Henry Porter (1) and JustinDaniels (1) rounded out Team Tito’s Handmade Vodka, while Team Aithon Capitalwas comprised of Nick Manifold (4), Brandon Phillips (5), Timmy Dutta (0.5), TonyCalle (2) and Roldan’s good friend and first time polo player Darren Marotta(-2).
Players had a fantastic time inthe fun-filled exhibition match, in which every player scored at least once,with the score going back and forth to finish as a tie-game. Ganzi and Duttaeach scored three goals for their respective teams and first-time polo playerMarotta made the last goal to tie the game. Spectators enjoyed an enthusiastic play-by-playof the game by Toby Wayman and Tony Coppola, and were thrilled wheninternational show jumper Jessica Springsteen took to the field to play thefinal chukker for Team Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Tito's Handmade Vodka and Aithon Capital tied the game
It was in fact, Springsteen’shorse “X-Box”, owned by Pony Express, who was awarded Best Playing Pony. Theaward was presented by Jonathan Russel, CEO of Cowdray Estate. The MVP Awardwas presented to Marotta, and was presented by Tregothnan Tea CEO JonathonJones. The overall trophy was presented by Her Majesty’s Consul General DavidProdger of the British Consulate in Miami, Florida.
Event host Roldan was thrilled with the polo game.“The sunset polo game was a lot of fun,” he said. “We had a great group of guys,a mix of some of my good friends as well as younger players, who all went aboveand beyond with the support of the event in great spirits. It was anentertaining game and fun to be able to include Jess and my good friend Darren [Marotta].Everyone had big smiles on their faces and everyone scored at least once,resulting in a draw game – All were happy, and it was a huge success.”
Guests enjoyed an amazing VIP Experience in both the cabanas and the all-new Wanderers Club Veranda
Katherine, Paige and Mark Bellissimo
Team Aithon Capital’s Brandon Phillips enjoyed the gameand the evening. “It’s an exhibition,” he said. “It’s really fun to participate and support Nic [Roldan] and the BrookeUSA. We enjoyed the game more because it is for a good cause. The eventwas great, and the party was perfect. Brooke USA is a wonderful charity thatsupports humans and animals alike and I’m looking forward to taking part in nextyear’s event.”
After the poloexhibition, the guests moved pool-side, where they enjoyed a night of dancingand drinks in their white attire. DJ Adam Lipson made sure everyone stayed ontheir feet and had a good time, while American Equestrians Got Talent’s 2017winner, Cassie Ortiz, sang two songs prior to the start of the live auction, anencore from her earlier singing of the National Anthem, prior to the start ofthe polo exhibition.
Alisa Lask and Ben Myers with Brooke USA Patrons Fritz and Claudine Kundrun
Brooke USA Executive Director Emily Dulin, Brooke USA Ambassador Margaret Duprey and Brooke Head of International Fundraising Brendon Elliott
Theevent exceeded expectations, and during the live auction Brooke USA was able toraise enough money to build two shade shelters during the “Bid for a Cause,”raising over $60,000 for the construction in Ethiopiathat will allow many working equines to rest comfortably, have access to waterand food to ensure they are refreshed and rested. Mark and Katherine Bellissimotook to the stage for the cause, speaking to the entire party and garneringsupport for the initiative. Tito’s Handmade Vodka stepped forward as the first$1,000 bidder, matching the first $1,000 raised for the shelter.
KatherineBellissimo, Brooke USA Board Member as well as Co-Chair and underwriter of theevent, was pleased with the response for the second year of the event, saying,“I am honored to be a member of a board of suchimportant humanitarian as well as equine impact. Mark [Bellissimo] and I chosethe shelters specifically as the ‘Bid for a Cause’ effort due to how successfulthe water troughs were last year, and what a lasting impact was made. We were delightedwith the monies raised during the second year of this event, and we were happyto donate the staff and facilities to support this effort. We saw the partyreach a new level with its added VIP section, and we are exceptionally proud ofthe support from the equestrian and Wellington communities.”
KR and Laura Rombauer
Caroline Curcio, Alexandra Crown, Hannah Selleck, Carmen Barrera and Jessica Mendoza
As the evening continued, surprisespecial guest Miami Heat DJ Irie engaged the crowd and kept the party goingwell into the night, while more than 200 VIP guests were treated to afive-course gourmet dining experience by Executive Chef Tam Ha on the all-newWanderers Club Veranda.
Roldan concluded, “What was originally created asan end-of-year party has developed into the hottest and most fun event of theWellington season with a great run of guests from all the different disciplinesand sections of Wellington and Palm Beach society. I’m thrilled that with thisevent we are able to increase awareness for Brooke USA and what its mission is,as well as raise funds for crucial projects.”
Wellington is already abuzz withexcitement for what the next year’s event will bring. Nic Roldan’s Sunset Polo &White Party is on its way to becoming an iconic staple of the Wellington winterseason. For more information or to donateplease visit www.brookeusa.org. For more information on Nic Roldan please visit www.nicroldan.com.
Photos Courtesy of: Enrique Urdaneta-Alamo, Phelps Media Group, Meg Banks/ESP, Diana DeRosa, Alex Pacheco: &ChukkerPolo.com and Charlotte Verdon.
Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors
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