Donna Cheek, a groundbreaking equestrian who has competed in competitions around the world, will receive the inaugural Trailblazer Courage Award at the Women’s Sports Museum Gala on Oct. 20, 2017, in Sarasota, Florida.
Cheek has been riding and competing as a hunter/jumper for 45 years.
In 1981, she represented the United States in Mexico City for the American Junior Show Jumping Championships, which was the first time an African American rider, male or female, had ever ridden for the U.S. Internationally in Show Jumping history.
She has won many awards within and outside of the horse industry and was the first equestrian to be inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Distinction in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She closed her private horse training facility in Paso Robles, California, after a successful eight-year run to be a contributing host on KCBX public radio, Animal Issue and Ideas. She left the station to work as a consultant and animal trainer for Hollywood Motion Picture Experience. She has recently joined the team as a rider and demonstrator for the Epona Institute, the leader in Equine Biomechanics & Hoof Health Research.
Earlier in her career, Cheek represented Adolph Coors as a member of the Outstanding Talent Family, which toured the United States performing as an exhibition rider and lecturing at inner city schools.
In addition, she represented Nabisco Brands Inc. as a motivational speaker to youth groups and women’s organizations. In 1994 NBC Television aired “One More Hurdle,” the Donna Cheek story in which she starred. The after school special earned an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award and also a Bronze Halo Award.
She joins broadcaster and sports journalist Lesley Visser, who was earlier named the recipient of the Inaugural Visionary Trailblazer award.
Source: Women’s Sports Museum