Boots & big bucks
Hot-to-trot Dallasites raise more than $550K for Equest at 2023 Blue Ribbon Ball
What: 2023 Equest Blue Ribbon Ball
Where: Al Hill, Jr. Arena at Texas Horse Park
The 411: A brief rain shower didn't dampen spirits at Equest's outdoor gala - in fact, it was welcome respite on a June night.
More than 550 patrons gathered for the annual boots-and-jeans fundraising ball, headed by co-chairs Lindsay Ballotta and Jenny Merkle, with honorary chairs Kristina and Phil Whitcomb and Equest board co-chairs Lisa Loy Laughlin and Clint Haggerty.
After grabbing a glass of bubbly from the champagne wall, attendees made their way into the horse arena for a cocktail reception, featuring a signature drink made with Mejinta Tequila and Pendery’s spices.
AVSD Productions provided a groovy virtual reality experience that let guests feel like they were riding a Kentucky Derby horse or learning to fly. Nearby, pianists Nick Luby and Susan Zhang entertained with a performance on the popular Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concert Truck.
Emcee Jody Dean welcomed guests as they sat down to a multicourse meal and heard from Equest’s new CEO, Myrshem George. Dallas City Council member Jaime Resendez presented the 2023 Citation Award to Nancy and Ron Natinsky, and Equest co-founder Susan Schwartz presented the special Founder’s Award to Lili Kellogg, who recently retired after a 28-year tenure.
After a special performance by dancers from Arthur Murray, keynote speaker Clint Bruce, co-founder of Carry the Load, talked of the challenges veterans face when they come home after serving and underscored the importance of programs that Equest provides.
A spirited live auction conducted by Louis Murad helped to push the evening's fundraising total past $550,000. To celebrate, patrons hit the dance floor and moved and grooved to the sounds of party band Limelight.
The Blue Ribbon Ball raises funds for equine-assisted therapies and other services provided by Equest; for more information, visit the nonprofit's website.
Who: Maggie Kipp, Eric Stephenson, Payne Wingate, Kelly Wingate, Finley Konrade, Eric Konrade, Angie Denton, Hillary Lynch, Audra Hopper, Jessica Barnett, Adam Steggers, Rebecca Steggers, Ashlyn Hayworth, Ava Staton, Georgia Phillips, Carolyn Anderson, Meredith McKay, Julie Bagley, Michelle Scotter, Brooke Bailey, Sara Rockey, Elizabeth Dacus, Lucy and John Bannon, Thomas Laughlin, Caitlin Laughlin, Julie Gonzalez, John Gonzalez, Greg Cooper, Christina Heddesheimer, Wade Betz, Becca Betz, Elsa Norwood, Angie Kadesky, Jim Kenny, Janelle Kenny, Paul Divis, Tiffany Divis, Colin Mathews, Karly Kilroy, Nellie Kuh, Bianca Moore, Ryan Casey, Kelly Casey, Carol Burnside, Kathleen Delamore, Scott Delamore, and hundreds more patrons and guests.