Kevin Babington winning the 2014 Hampton Classic Grand Prix (c) Shawn McMillen
The Hampton Classic Horse Show will provide several opportunities for people to support the Kevin Babington Foundation, as well as other charities, when it returns for its 45th edition, August 29-September 5.
The Classic marks two years since Babington’s accident where he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him, at that time, paralyzed from the neck down. Although a recent procedure at the Mayo Clinic where Kevin had 100 million stem cells injected into his lumbar has given new hope, many challenges remain for the Irish Olympic veteran and 2014 Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion.
With Kevin’s ongoing need for physical therapy and the around-the-clock presence of aides, medical expenses are overwhelming and having the funds they need remains the family’s biggest challenge. The Hampton Classic is providing several ways that people can help while at the event.
The Classic will be conducting a raffle, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Foundation, offering two amazing prizes – a VIP table for the 2022 Hampton Classic and a live, virtual training session with Kevin. Also, exhibitors will have an option to add a donation to the Foundation to their bill at checkout and those shopping in the Classic’s merchandise booth will be presented with the same opportunity.
“I shudder to think of where we’d be if not for all the people who have helped us, especially through the Kevin Babington Foundation,” said Kevin’s wife, Dianna. “Honestly, without people’s generosity and their support of the Foundation, our situation would be impossible. I thank them and I thank the Hampton Classic for all they’re doing to help.”
The Classic’s support of the Kevin Babington Foundation adds to its long history of support to community partners and charities. Since 1977, the Hampton Classic has made annual financial contributions totaling more than two million dollars to the Southampton Hospital Foundation. In addition, the Classic provides onsite booth space for Hospital staff to interact with the public, as well as two VIP tables that the Hospital can use to thank current and cultivate new supporters. All Stony Brook Medicine employees are admitted for free.
The Classic also supports many other local non-profit organizations and equestrian related charities beyond its own 501(c)3 status and annual financial donation and in-kind support to the Hospital. Other charitable activities include:
Hampton Classic Animal Adoption Day, sponsored by Georgina Bloomberg, has been in place for 12 years. It includes 6-10 dog and cat shelters and a presentation of adoptable rescued horses by rescues that are part of The Equus Foundation’s Guardian program. These organizations are given a platform to raise awareness and funds for their individual organization, and most importantly, they’re given an opportunity to find forever homes for their animals in need. Dozens of animals are adopted as a direct result of Adoption Day each year.
Since 2011, the Hampton Classic has partnered with the Sag Harbor Food Pantry and other food pantries to collect non-perishable food items. People who attend the Classic on Tuesday and Wednesday with three or more items to donate have their entire carload admitted free.
Since 2006, the Hampton Classic has been hosting the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD) Finals. The establishment of this championship competition enabled the LIHSSRD organization to found the entire series, which has become a fixture on the calendars of individuals with disabilities throughout Long Island
The Classic supports JustWorld International by hosting a “Horseless Horse Show” and through the “Jump for a JustWorld” program where sponsors – including Longines, Land Rover and Jaguar this year – make a donation for every clear jump over designated fences in specified classes.
The Hampton Classic leases property at the corner of Montauk Highway and Lockwood Avenue that it sublets, at no cost, to the Bridgehampton Union Free School District. This lease began in Spring 2016. The property is used by the school to expand its gardening program and tie into other educational programs regarding agriculture, farming, and related micro business opportunities.
Other non-profit organizations with whom the Classic has partnerships include: Equestrian Aid Foundation, Storeybrook Farm, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, Gimme Shelter, Guild Hall, HEART Equine Ambulance, The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation, SOFO Museum, Stony Brook Medical, Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, Bridgehampton Childcare Center, and Long Island Professional Horsemen’s Association.
In recognition of the “backup” ambulance support Bridgehampton Fire Department provides, the Hampton Classic donates $5,000 to the Department each year.
Each year approximately 50,000 people – including many A-list celebrities – come to watch the nation’s best equestrian athletes compete at the Hampton Classic. The world-class event showcases more than 1,500 horses competing in 200 hunter, jumper and equitation classes. There are classes for horses and riders of all ages and abilities ranging from leadline all the way up to grand prix show jumping. The Hampton Classic also hosts classes for riders with disabilities.
The Classic’s 65-acre venue boasts six show rings, the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden with approximately 80 vendors, international food options as well as the Classic’s high-end VIP areas. There are also kid-friendly activities throughout the week including pony rides, petting farm animals, daily special attractions and more.
Some of the Classic’s highlights include the Finals of the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities Presented by Dime Bank and the Classic’s 10th annual Animal Adoption Day, which will feature horse rescues that are part of the EQUUS Foundation’s guardian program and many dog and cat rescues as well. Both of these activities take place on Monday, August 30. News 12 Long Island’s Kids Day is on Thursday and will once again feature activities for the entire family. Children under 12 receive a free pony ride.
Daily admission to the Classic is $20 per carload. Admission is free on Monday, and seniors are admitted free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Grandstand tickets for the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix on Sunday, September 5, are $45 per person for reserved bucket seating, which are available for purchase on the Hampton Classic website.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177.