Manuel Johnson, co-chairman of Johnson Smick International Inc. and former Federal Reserve System vice chairman, says at heart he’s “pretty much a country boy.”
The Alabama native turned country squire in Virginia, where he keeps seven horses on his farm, is the president of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, which ended yesterday. Aaron Vale, riding Admiral Clover, won top prize in the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic.
Among those taking in the bucolic scene amid the Blue Ridge Mountains were actor Robert Duvall, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Paul Dietrich, chief executive officer of Foxhall Capital Management Inc.
Johnson said that his fellow economist Lyle Gramley, a former Federal Reserve governor, was an early mentor in his growth as an equestrian. But he himself is “too busy organizing,” Johnson said, to participate in the show’s jumping competition.
The day featured a carriage-driving competition and Jack Russell terrier races in 90-degree heat. Large hats and parasols shielded spectators. The scent of sunscreen wafted through the air.
Established in 1853, the show is the oldest in the U.S. The event has an annual budget of more than $1 million, Johnson said, most of which is spent on improvements to the fields and repairs of the 100-year-old oak trees that surround the area.
At the Jumper Classic Luncheon, held at the top of the hill under a white tent, Tim Brookshire, the president of Pinnacle Properties Inc., and Tom McMillen, the former Maryland congressman and basketball star, partook of the pasta buffet and strawberry shortcake.
Dietrich joked about the seriousness of equestrian sports in Virginia country life: “Everyone fox-hunts or plays polo. If you talk about the Washington Redskins at dinner parties, people think you’re nuts.”
Selling Girl Scout cookies is the “largest financial literacy program,” Connie Lindsey, an executive vice president at Northern Trust Corp. and the national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Lindsey, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez, and actress Mandy Moore joined 200,000 girls for the Girl Scouts Rock the Mall Saturday in front of the Washington Monument.
It was a special celebration marking the organization’s 100th anniversary.
“It’s not just a girl issue, it’s a leadership issue,” said Chavez about the “skill set” and salesmanship girls learn through scouting.
She cited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as prime examples of women using their Girl Scout teachings to achieve leadership positions.
Moore said she learned “what friendship means” during her Girl Scout years, as well as the joys of s’mores.
She came at the invitation of corporate sponsor Dove as part of its Dove Movement for Self-Esteem campaign.
Moore introduced women “who should be famous” as role models to the girls, such as mathematician Melanie Matchett Wood and molecular biologist Lydia Villa-Komaroff.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include: Jim Pressley on books and John Mariani on wine.