Kiara Charles Wins the 2023 AEGT Title
American Equestrians Got Talent (AEGT)’s Grand Finale Gala for was held at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, Ocala, Florida on Saturday, April 15th, 2023. Revamped for 2023, the event combined two great equestrian communities: Wellington and Ocala.
The Grand Finale showcased eight Golden Ticket winners (from our live auditions in Wellington February 8th and Ocala March 8th) and one wild card winner competing for the coveted prize of $10,000.
Kiara Charles won first prize, Carly Cantor placed second and Ilan Tarrab finished third. Other incredible performances included Gabriela Juron, Agustin Puga, Francesca Wight, David Beaty, Alyssa Marie-Coon and Daniela Maya.
We were honored to have the competition judged by Shelly Francis, an Olympic Dressage rider; Matt Martin, hunter jumper trainer; Mark Bone, trainer and hunter judge; Tami Bobo, race horse breeder and owner of Kentucky Derby Contender “Simplification”; and Ron Davis, well-known documentary film director,writer and producer. Carol Cohen-Hodess; longtime Wellington equestrian supporter and Margaret Swanson; a Jumper rider were AEGT’s mistresses of ceremonies.
Among the many guests in attendance were Ocala Mayor Kent Quinn and Olympic rider Sabine Shut-Kery.
First place winner and enchanting talent Kiara Charles sang George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess”. Dressed in a pretty blue dress, Kiara showed off her amazing vocal and her charming voice. Judge Ron Davis commented, “I loved it, it was so sultry, your look is so original and your sound too. You are a star”.
While online bidding for contestants began after the auditions, during the show, audience members could text a vote for the performers. There was a live auction, with auctioneer John Henderson. Attendees playfully battled each other to win one-of-a-kind experiences: CDI package at World Equestrian Center, VIP Table at Wellington International, Lugano Car of the Year Experience in Napa Valley, Private jet flights with VeriJets, a luxurious dinner at Mar a Lago, and a wonderful condo in Snowmass, Colorado.
Proceeds from this event will benefit the United States Equestrian Federation USEF Emerging Athlete Program for Dressage, Robert Dover USEF Horsemanship Clinic, Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest, Florida Youth Dressage Championships and Youth Dressage Programming at the Festival of Champions. This signature event was created by Robert Dover, six-time US Dressage Olympian. Discover Dressage, founded by Kimberly Van Kampen, has supported the event for the past five years.
Special thanks to all who have supported this event and tis great program supporting the future stars of US Dressage.
About Discover Dressage
Discover Dressage, founded by Kimberly Van Kampen, is a 501c3, which supports and underwrites American Equestrian Got Talent. This fundraiser event supports the USEF Emerging Athlete Program for Dressage, Robert Dover USEF Horsemanship Clinic, Lendon Youth Dressage Festival Midwest, Florida Youth Dressage Championships and Youth Dressage Programming at the Festival of Champions. For more information about Discover Dressage, a Florida 501c3 nonprofit organization, go to www.discoverdressage.com. For more information about USEF’s Emerging Athlete Program for Dressage, go to www.usef.org.