James Fisher Memorial Grand Prix raises over $100,000 for MANNA FoodBank and the Hunger and Health Coalition

It was a perfect fall day on Saturday, September 21st, and nearly 400 spectators gathered at the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve to cheer on horses and participate in a live Calcutta where horse and rider teams were auctioned off to the highest bidder, raising over $103,000 for the MANNA FoodBank and the Hunger and Health Coalition. One-hundred percent of auction funds and ticket sales were donated to charity and the “owners” of the top 6 finishing horses received prizes valued at over $20,000; including a week’s stay at the Caribbean Island of Bonaire.

Sponsored by the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation, the show was put on by the family and loved ones in memory of James Fisher, a young and popular rider who grew up riding and showing in the area. The event started two years prior at The Preserve at Little Pine’s Equestrian Center, in Marshall, NC, one of the properties owned and developed by the Fisher Family’s company the Preserve Communities. The foundation serves as the giving arm for the company and focuses on raising money for charity in communities that support their developments across the nation. James’ father and COO of the Preserve Communities, Jack Fisher says, “After raising over $50,000 at last year’s event, we knew that we had outgrown our venue. When John Vann approached me about potentially putting something on in Blowing Rock things just clicked. I knew the show would be popular but am truly amazed by the outpouring of support we have received from the BRCHSF and the town of Blowing Rock as a whole. Seeing so many of James’ friends – riders, trainers, and owners he grew up with – come together to raise money in his honor is amazing and helps his memory live on. James was an avid horseman and lover of the mountains where we have several developments, so having the horse show here is fitting.”

The Grand Prix itself offered $50,000 in prize money to exhibitors – the largest purse ever offered at the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve. 25 horses representing 6 countries competed in the event. First place went to Venezuelan Luis Larrazabal and his horse Cassini Mira Flores. Christina Kelley was second on Shining de Reve and German international rider Christoph Schroeder was third. It was Larrazabal’s first time showing in Blowing Rock and he was “so grateful to be a part of the event. It was my first time here and we are very happy we came. The Preserve is a beautiful place, it is a great venue. I loved the atmosphere and people; we are very happy we came.” Larrazabal is young but accomplished rider, and was nervous about drawing first on course, especially with so many tough competitors. He knew going into the jump off it was going to be a fast round, but he “had a plan and did it well,” and his excitement in winning was palpable to an already electric crowd.

Funds raised go straight to two well-deserving charities in the region: The Hunger and Health Coalition and MANNA FoodBank. The Hunger and Health Coalition provides food support and over 18,000 pharmacy subscriptions to those who are below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line in the three counties surrounding Blowing Rock. “The Hunger and Health Coalition team extends their profound gratitude to the Fisher family for bringing this extraordinary event to Blowing Rock. There was such an incredible pulse of excitement that extended through the day as the crowds shuffled in and the riders competed!

Our Food Assistance Programs and Free Pharmacy are helping thousands of local residents each month to create a more stable environment for themselves and their families. This funding will help to ensure that all residents of the High Country can access their most basic of needs: nutritious foods and life-sustaining medications. In an area where 1 in 4 children are food insecure, this funding will make all the difference in the lives of our community.”

Based out of Asheville, MANNA FoodBank was the original beneficiary of the event, partnering with over 200 agencies in 16 counties across WNC providing 18.2 million pounds of food to individuals in need. “MANNA FoodBank is extremely grateful for our extraordinary partnership with Jack Fisher, his family and the James H. Fisher Memorial Foundation. We cannot thank them and every one of the guests who supported this fabulous event for their generous care and support for those who do not know where their next meal is coming from across WNC. Their wonderful $51,500 contributions will provide enough food for 180,250 meals for those in need in our region, stated Mary Nesbitt, Chief Development Officer.

For questions, please contact Jennifer Fisher-Buntin jbuntin@preservecommunities.com, 678-782-8465 ext. 6403