Initial Charity Selection For 2018 GCC At Dec. 2 Horse Show

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will welcome back the annual Charity Drawing for the 2018 Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, this Saturday, Dec. 2, during the $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*, presented by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

With more than 330 applications received for the chance to participate in the 2018 Great Charity Challenge, the evening is sure to be filled with joy as 24 charities will be selected for the highly anticipated event to be held on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Gates to the family-friendly Charity Drawing will open at 5:30 p.m., offering free general admission and parking. Entertainment, including carousel rides, face painting, meeting with Santa and on-site dining options are expected to draw the local community, while hundreds of local nonprofits sit on the edge of their seats, awaiting the highly anticipated drawings.

The Great Charity Challenge is an exciting pro-am show jumping event that brings together more than 30 equestrian families and companies as they sponsor a competing team for $25,000 and $10,000, respectively. Each team is assigned to compete for one of the 34 randomly selected charities, offering amateur riders the chance to compete side-by-side with their Olympic and world-class professional equestrian heroes and role models.

With additional donations from local families, businesses, sponsors, vendors, exhibitors and spectators, the 2018 Great Charity Challenge is on track to fundraise and distribute $1.5 million in Palm Beach County. Prize money for participating charities will range from $150,000 to $15,000, ensuring that every charity is a winner.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, co-foundered the Great Charity Challenge with his daughter Paige.

“We look forward to kick-starting our 12-week season with this signature event. It is rare that you get the opportunity to meet so many amazing individuals in one place,” he said. “We hope that the GCC will become the legacy of our partnership and this facility. This year’s applicant list is outstanding and a true reflection of the amazing work they do to make Palm Beach County a better place.”

Paige Bellissimo agreed.

“Our goal this year is to inspire the local community to get involved with these amazing organizations,” she said. “We are excited for the 2018 GCC and look forward to ‘A Night When Everyone’s A Star.’ Spectators will truly enjoy the riders’ intricate costumes, all while riding for a great cause.”

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival, the largest and longest running horse show in the world. WEF will run Jan. 10 through April 1, 2018. Equestrian Sport Productions, the PBIEC operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, donates the facility, staff and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event.

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, to be held Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during the Winter Equestrian Festival’s popular Saturday Night Lights series. The family-friendly event offers free general admission and will feature “A Night When Everyone’s A Star,” celebrating Hollywood feature films, with competitors in costume and competition décor to match.

Future charity drawings will be held at random during the first weeks of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, and the final two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the big event on Saturday, Feb. 3.

For more information on the Great Charity Challenge, visit