2020 News

2019 News

March 1, 2019

It Takes a Village of Volunteers

It takes a dedicated team of energetic volunteers to organize and produce the Challenge of the Americas. This mighty force works hard to create an evening of thrilling entertainment – all to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K. Check out the Who’s Who page on the COTA website to see the smiling faces of those who work tirelessly to #ChallengeBreastCancer. Thanks team. We couldn’t do it without you!

Three generous donors have chosen the newest level of support for the 2019 Challenge of the Americas, the Pink Patrons.

Oak Meadows Farm

Cece Stewart of Oak Meadows Farm is a faithful COTA supporter who, not only believes in the cause, but has a special reason to support the Challenge.
“I do this in honor of my sister, Lee Waite, who is a breast cancer survivor,” Cece said. “She has been cancer-free for 15 years. She is an amazing lady with a huge heart and great courage. Her life goal has been to serve others as a nurse for 30 years and she is currently an ICU nurse at Carolinas Medical in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is simply a great role model and inspiration. Together, with the support of one another and through events like the Challenge of Americas, we are helping to fight for the cure. Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who is sponsoring, organizing, performing, or volunteering for this great event.”

Lark's Home Run

Lark’s Home Run (aka Homer) and his human, Elizabeth (aka Beth) Stauber-Johnson, also chose to support the 2019 Challenge as a Pink Patron because of special people in their lives taken by breast cancer. Beth’s mother and her husband Ron’s mother died from complications of the disease.
“It is not a lesson in intelligence when confronted by the insidious, wicked and vile killer,” Beth said. “The only hope is to focus on the raw fight to beat it, which is becoming more and more successful through the research COTA supports. In thinking emotionally about watching my Mom’s war with it, a rather well-known quote from Marilyn Monroe comes to mind, one that actually my Mom wore on her chest, if not literally, surely subliminally. It is, ‘Sometimes you just have to throw on a crown and remind them who they are dealing with.’ God bless all who fought and are no longer able, and all those who fought and have survived. Ten years later, and forever, I will always be proud of my Mom never giving up. Never, never.”

Florida Atlantic University

“The Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University is nationally recognized for its innovative curricular and research programs that emphasize high touch-high tech training experiences to produce the next generation of clinical and research leaders,” said Dr. Janet Robishaw, the Senior Associate Dean for Research, and Chair and Professor of Biomedical Science at FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “In particular, our faculty are working to identify how genetics and lifestyle factors affect the risk of developing breast cancer with the ultimate goal of preventing the disease. We are proud to sponsor the Challenge of the Americas and to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through its Play for P.I.N.K initiative to improve the quality of life for all patients and survivors.”

Where does the money raised by COTA go?

You can be assured that 100% of the proceeds earned from the Challenge of the Americas goes to help fund breast cancer research via Play for Pink and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Play for P.I.N.K. helps turn play into serious support. To speed advances in breast cancer detection, treatment and survivorship, Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) supports thousands of volunteers nationwide as they raise funds for research through sporting and lifestyle events. Their efforts raise $4.75 million annually — and 100% of that goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Do you wanna dance at the 2019 Challenge of the Americas?

February 12, 2019

Five Top Teams Vie for Victory at 2019 Challenge of the Americas

Five teams of top riders and their dedicated coaches, choreographers and eyes-on-the-ground have thrown their helmets in the ring in an effort to claim the crown at the 2019 Challenge of the Americas (COTA). Although there’s no physical prize, these fierce competitors practice many hours to not only Challenge Breast Cancer, but to win! You’ll see some perennial favorites on this list who joyfully join us year after year, and some new teams ready to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K.

Meet the 2019 COTA Team Riders and Team Sponsors

Team Winged Foot’s sponsor, Kathleen Kennedy Dunagan, said she is pleased to once again sponsor a team for the 2019 COTA. 
“So many of us have been touched by the ravages of breast cancer, whether it be in our personal lives, or that of our family or friend,” she said. “For us, being able to contribute to the cause of finding a cure for this disease in a way that showcases the grace and beauty of dressage, is a great honor. The Challenge of the Americas, through the tireless dedication and efforts of the riders, horses and organizers, is an event like no other. This evening is an art form unto itself. . .and to now be broadcasting globally is exciting indeed!” 
Riders: Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, Shannon Dueck, Bridget Hay, Ilse Schwarz, Marco Bernal, Raul Corchuelo
Choreographer: Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
Coaches: Ruth Hogan-Poulsen and Susanne Hamilton
Gardy Bloemers became interested in supporting the Challenge the first time she visited Wellington. 
“On my first ever weekend trip to Wellington about six years ago, I came on the weekend of the Challenge and that was the year Debbie McDonald and Mason Phelps rode a freestyle together,” she said. “It was a fun event and, of course, since then it has grown and grown. In my wealth management practice, I always try to support the things I love and care about, which gives me the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. Cancer has touched me and touches all of us; it’s great to be able to contribute to breast cancer research in this manner.”
Riders: Jim Koford, Allison Kavey, Noel Williams, Betsy Van Dyke, Lauren Chumley, Becky Cowden
Choreographer and Coach: Tigger Montague
Purina returns once again to sponsor a team and to treat the competitors to pre-event refreshments before the ride under the lights at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds.
“This is such a wonderful event,” said Shiela Conde, South Florida Equine Sales Specialist for Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. “We are proud to support Play for P.I.N.K. and The Challenge of Americas. It is an honor to have a team in the Challenge and it’s great to work with all of the riders, teams, coaches, horses and staff. The commitment and energy of all involved is incredible!”
Riders: Pamela Goodrich, Bent Jensen, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, George Wiliams, Betsy Steiner, Kasey Perry-Glass
Choreographer: Terry Ciotti Gallo
Team Coaches: Terry Ciotti Gallo and Bill Warren
Hylofit, a company dedicated to building a stronger partnership between horse and human with their innovative heart rate monitor, is a new sponsor for the 2019 Challenge of the Americas.
“It was natural for Hylofit to step up and sponsor a team,” said Eliane Cordia van Reesema, one of the founders of Hylofit and their eyes-on-the-ground coach. “Hylofit is an all-female company dedicated to equine and human health, and we are happy to be a part of the experience this year. The Challenge of the Americas is such a great cause and a fun way to raise money for breast cancer research.”
Riders: Nicholas Hansen, Heidi Degele, Caleb Scroggins, Meagan Davis, Molly Paris, Melissa MacLauren Velix
Choreographer: Melissa MacLauren Velix
Coaches: Eliane Cordia van Reesema and Camelia Montalvo
Mary Ross, Challenge of the America’s founder and organizer, is also the creator of MatchNRide.com, a horse sales website matching riders with their perfect new equine partner.
“I started the Challenge in 2002 to honor my mother, who died from breast cancer,” she said. “I chose to sponsor a team competing from Holland to showcase our growth over the years. We began with three riders at an afternoon luncheon and now, in 2019, we are truly an international event featuring 40 Grand Prix riders. We are looking forward to making this year’s Challenge of the Americas our most successful event to date in our quest to help researchers find a cure for breast cancer.”
Riders: Otte Arts, Diane Heijmans, Miranda Hoezen, Sylvia van de Broek, Michelle Westerdijk, Renee Zomers
Music: Corinne Latour
Coach: Marieke Verdonk

2018 News

March 9, 2018

Partners for Pink Share Hope with the Challenge of the Americas

Challenge of the Americas (COTA) Partners for Pink Judy Sloan, Cece Stewart, the Wellington Regional Medical Center and Sarah and Katie Hoog of C U at X Tack equestrian boutique have first-hand knowledge of the strength and power of breast cancer survivors. Read more here…

March 6, 2018

Homer Hits It Out of the Park with Support of Challenge of the Americas

Homer is thrilled to support the Challenge of the Americas (COTA) as a Partner for Pink, but his mom won’t let him go to the Friday, March 9 event to sit ringside at the Global Dressage Festival showgrounds. She’s afraid that his fondness for eating the contents of all the sugar packets may make him an unsuitable dining companion at the Challenge Gala. Read more here…

March 5, 2018

Heather Blitz and Catherine Haddad Staller Think Pink to Join the Cause

Two top Grand Prix dressage riders, Heather Blitz and Catherine Haddad Staller, have joined forces to create a pas de deux as the perfect way to begin the 2018 Challenge of the Americas (COTA). Read more from Heather and Catherine…

March 5, 2018

Back on Track Backs the Challenge of the Americas

Long-time Challenge of the Americas (COTA) sponsor Bo Lofvander of Back on Track® believes in paying it forward. Acutely aware of what breast cancer can do to a family after losing his sister-in-law to the disease at the age of 36, Lofvander believes in COTA’s mission to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K. Read more about Back on Track…

March 1, 2018

Williams Family Helps Friends Think Pink

George and Roberta Williams and daughter, Noel, go all in when it comes to supporting the Challenge of the Americas. George and Noel are riders on two different teams competing in the March 9 Challenge of the Americas (COTA), Team Purina and Team Back on Track respectively. Read more about the Williams Family…

March 5, 2018

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén Joins Line-Up for Challenge of the Americas

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén added her name to the star-studded list of Grand Prix riders who have given their time and talent to raise funds to help cure breast cancer in the 2018 Challenge of the Americas. Read more…

February 23, 2018

Discover Dressage Joins COTA to Advance Dressage while Fighting Breast Cancer

When Challenge of the Americas (COTA) organizer Mary Ross approached Kim Van Kampen, the founder of discover Dressage, to join in COTA’s fight against breast cancer, Van Kampen thought it was a great idea. Read more about the discover Dressage quadrille…

February 14, 2018

Team Winged Foot Poised to Fly High for the 2018 Challenge of the Americas

Team Winged Foot, formerly known as Team International in The Challenge of the Americas (COTA), has a new name thanks to its generous sponsor, but it remains populated by Grand Prix dressage riders from around the globe. Read more about Team Winged Foot…

January 31, 2018

Team Purina Practicing for the 2018 Challenge of the Americas

Team Purina, sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition in conjunction with Red Barn Feed and Supply, is led by choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo and coach Bill Warren practice their pattern at Betsy Juliano’s Havensafe Farm.
Read more more about Team Purina…

January 15, 2018

The Challenge of the Americas Goes Global in 2018

The Challenge of the Americas (COTA) is back after a year’s hiatus and we’re busting down borders! Not only is COTA returning to help find a cure for breast cancer, it’s so big, it’s going global. Read more about the Challenge of the Americas…