I was absolutely thrilled this year to participate in the Chicago Hunter Derby. It is such a unique event that contributes to many worthy causes and acting as the Marketing and PR chair for this year’s event was an honor.
This year, The Chicago Hunter Derby welcomed more than 400 guests and raised $120,000 for the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the USHJA Foundation. I consider that an incredible success!
The event took place over three days on the beautiful Annali-Brookwood Farm an hour north of Chicago from September 4th to September 6th. The weekend started off with a National and International Welcome Stake, continuing into Saturday with competition, lunch, shopping and the Derby After Dark Party. Closing with a bang, Sunday held the Champagne Brunch, award presentation, performances, auctions, shopping and children’s activities.
In its seventh year, the Chicago Hunter Derby attracted top hunter riders from across the country and never fails to leave guests enthralled and amazed.
I want to say a huge thank you to all the sponsors for helping this event become a reality every year including Canadian Pacific who made it possible this year.
Also, making the event the success that it was also goes to the vendors! They continued to amaze such as Stellar Products who did the tenting, Exquisite Designs Chicago who provided all the floral including the floral wall and those beautiful wooden chandeliers, BBJ and Table Toppers who provided linens, catering by Michael’s, rentals by Hall’s, security by VIP Valet, and topping it off with photography by Marcin Cymmer and film by Mirar Productions. Phew, incredible talent by each and every one.
The host committee this year consisted of horse loving individuals; a mix of professional trainers, amateurs and parents of young equestrians who love celebrating the beauty and tradition of the equestrian sport (inspired by fox hunts!) while raising money for three incredibly worthwhile charities.
As for the individuals behind this amazing, huge event; Caroline Weeden and Lynn Jayne are the powerhouse duo behind Chicago Equestrians for a Cause which is the non profit organization responsible for hosting the Chicago Hunter Derby each year. These two ladies are the heart and soul of the derby!
Also on the committee sit Margaret Benjamin, Sterling Berry, Kimberly Penfold and Cassandra Lawton who are non-professionals (like myself). Rounding out the group is Caroline's husband Rush, a wonderful soul who puts up with all of us ladies! We could not make the derby happen without him! All of these people give their time, consideration and hearts to this event.
It is such a privilege and joy to be a part of this event for so many reasons. I love celebrating the excitement of one of the most beautiful and challenging sports in the world and being a part of all of the efforts that go towards organizations who are making incredibly impactful changes in the lives of very deserving individuals is a gift.
Whether it was watching the incredible riders, the gorgeous horses, the giving of deserving donations or the powerful sponsors, it is both a well-planned and enjoyable event that I highly support and will continue to do so!