Sunday March 18 the Gala for American Equestrians Got Talent was held at the Global Dressage Arena in Wellington, Florida. The event, which is in its third year, was re-vamped for 2018 as a One Night Only Gala featuring former AEGT Finalists. Ten former year finalists competed for the coveted prize of $10,000 and the title of Most Talented American Equestrian.
The talent for the evening included Brian Lookabill, who also won in AEGT's first year, and his runners-up for the title: Ki-Juan Minors, Michael Boone and Teaghan James. Other incredible performances were produced by David Willis, Kylie Peitz, Taylor Hughes, Kayden Muller, and 12 year old Chelsea Hellman.
The judges at the event were Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, Chip McKenney from Phelps Media, Roxanne Stein from WPTV and Canadian recording star Joey Niceforo who wowed the crowd with some of this greatest hits, as well as singing "My Way" as the result of a bid by one of the audience members.
The event was live-streamed by Katherine and Mark Bellissimo's Chronicle of the Horse TV. The festivities included a competitive live auction, and offered live online bidding as the performers were on stage. The event was staffed by many volunteers including the Winter Intensive Training (WIT) students from Lendon Gray's Dressage4Kids Florida program. AEGT and Discover Dressage is grateful for the volunteers without whom this success of this event is not possible.
Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the Emerging Athlete Program developed by United States Equestrian Federation. AEGT which is a signature event for Robert Dover was joined this year by Kimberly Van Kampen and Discover Dressage, the nonprofit organization she founded to focus on youth equestrian sport. Ms. Van Kampen and Mr. Dover report that their goals for fund-raising for this event were met in full by the generous contributions of the Wellington dressage community. They expressed their gratitude to all who gave for the benefit of those who will be the future stars of our sport.