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Phelps Wilkes & Associates, Inc. Hits Another Home Run

Wellington, Florida – April 8, 2003 – The numbers are in, and they did it again. Phelps Wilkes & Associates, Inc. increased the number of spectators attending this season’s seven-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington by 50%, as compared to attendance in 2002.

Phelps Wilkes, formed in January 2003 by legendary Olympic competitor Mason Phelps, Jr. and corporate securities attorney Beverly Lake Wilkes, has, in the last 6 months, transformed the rarified air of the Wellington horse show world from a destination for the seasoned equestrian enthusiast to what is now a destination for one and all.

The duo, whose goal is to turn equestrian events into a true spectator sport (much like baseball, football, etc.), is well on its way. Horse showing is the #2 spectator sport in Europe, behind soccer, and is a major spectator sport in Canada. Here in the U. S., the sport is way, way down the list. But Phelps Wilkes is changing that.

Mason and Beverly have collaborated for over 8 years in volunteer work, chairing events for numerous charitable causes. The duo is best known for raising over $1 million for The United States Equestrian Team through their famous Denim & Diamonds Galas.

The spectator transformation began with The 119th National Horse Show, held during Thanksgiving week 2002. A mere three weeks before the show was to begin, The National Horse Show, Inc. and Stadium Jumping, Inc. hired Mason and Beverly to promote the event. After years of running in the red with declining crowds, the powers that be decided to move The 119th National Horse Show to The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. This move was historic, because for 118 years The National had been held in the New York City area and in an indoor venue. The naysayers came out in droves. But they were proven wrong.

Through the efforts of Mason and Beverly, The National finally came back into the black. Over 57,000 spectators descended upon Wellington to watch the show, most first-time horse show attendees. The attendance was so overwhelming, in fact, that they ran out of parking spaces and programs. They had TV networks lined up to do the morning news on the showgrounds. Sponsorships flourished. Their Friday-night, black-tie gala, “Jumping Under The Stars”, was a sell-out and was crowned the #1 party in all of Palm Beach County by Thom Smith, Society Editor for The Palm Beach Post. Needless to say, The 120th National will return to Wellington next November.

Coming off The National’s huge success, Stadium Jumping, Inc. once again hired Mason and Beverly (by then, incorporated as Phelps Wilkes & Associates, Inc.) to promote the seven-week 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington. And once again, Phelps Wilkes brought out the crowds, the news media, the sponsors and the excitement. In their spare time, they co-chaired successful events such as The American Hunter-Jumper Foundation’s Hunter Classic Gala, The Equus Medal competition, The Hanley-Hazelden Foundation’s 8th Annual Family Luncheon and other events too numerous to mention.

The Winter Equestrian Festival traditionally ends with the Budweiser American Invitational Grand Prix held in Tampa at the Raymond James Stadium. Phelps Wilkes was able to increase this year’s gate by $53,000 for the one-night competition.

Bottom line: They’ll be back. With the 50% increase in attendance during The 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, the overwhelming success of The 119th National Horse Show and the increased gate at the Invitational, Phelps Wilkes has already been retained to promote The 120th National Horse Show and The 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival, among many other events.

A winning formula, a winning team.


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