The Howard Community College (HCC) Columbia Classic Grand Prix will mark its 28th year of bringing world-class equestrian competition to Howard County on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The Grand Prix was founded on the grounds of HCC, but as the college grew in enrollment and additional space was needed for student needs, the college’s Educational Foundation began looking elsewhere to hold this popular event. George Doetsch, chairman of Apple Ford Lincoln, agreed to open the grounds of his horse farm, Marama Farm, to the Grand Prix in 2009.

Besides lending his farm for the event, Doetsch is serving as co-chair for this year’s event, along with Vic Broccolino, former president of Howard County General Hospital.

In addition to watching equestrians race against the clock, families can enjoy a variety of food vendors, local business displays and shopping boutiques, and children can take pony rides at the Kids Corral, as well as pick their own pumpkins and jump in a moon bounce. Adults can relax in the Clyde’s beer and wine garden.

Seating at the Grand Prix ranges from lawn seating and bleachers to tent seating, with ticket prices set accordingly. Tent seating also includes a buffet lunch, priority parking, and the opportunity to sample Maryland distilled spirits. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and start at $1,500 for a table of eight.

For more information about the Grand Prix, to order tickets or discuss sponsorship, visit or contact Missy Mattey at 443-518-4208.

Local Business Community Embraces HCC Wellness, Team-Building Event

Employees at more than 30 businesses in Howard County will run, climb and crawl through obstacles at Howard Community College’s (HCC) Columbia campus on Sunday, Nov. 1, during the second annual HCC 5K Challenge Race, a wellness and team-building event that raises funds for student scholarships.

“The growth in the HCC 5K Challenge Race has been incredible,” said Anne Johnson, director of resource development at HCC. “When we started the race in 2014, we wanted to have 20 companies participate. We are well on our way to doubling our efforts this year, with at least 35 companies as sponsors. The race appeals to businesses that want to support the health and wellness of their employees, while employees love the camaraderie that develops when everyone is working to a common fitness goal.”

Unlike other races that market the individual athlete, the HCC 5K Challenge Race specifically targets businesses, with sponsorships ranging from $750 to $5,000 for teams. Once businesses become sponsors, all employees can participate in group training runs and basic training classes. The HCC Educational Foundation (the organizer of the HCC 5K Challenge Race) has partnered for the event with Howard County General Hospital and Columbia Association (CA).

“The HCC Educational Foundation is appreciative of the support shown by the Howard County General Hospital and the Columbia Association for the HCC Challenge Race. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to work with sponsoring businesses and their employees early in the process, well before race day,” said Zack Shariff, chair of the HCC 5K Challenge Race committee and CEO of Allen & Shariff.

The partnering organizations have provided participants with the added benefit of access to the Well Advantage Portal for fitness tips and articles and additional training opportunities through a 90-day membership with the CA. CA also is providing them with a weekly coached run, plus a boot camp-style training program led by CA’s personal trainers and several group fitness class options that can serve as an alternative to running.

To celebrate the hard work undertaken by the participants to train for the race, the HCC Educational Foundation transforms the HCC campus into a celebration village. The celebratory atmosphere allows for business promotion, networking, and even friendly competition. In addition, the team with the best combined, overall score on the race course will take home the Smyth Jewelers Crystal Challenge Bowl.

The HCC Educational Foundation has raised more than $50,000 for student scholarships through the HCC 5K Challenge Race. For more information on the race, visit or contact Anne Johnson at 443-518-4227.