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Fairfield County Hunt Club Hires Mario DiPreta as New General Manager for New England’s Premier Equestrian Country Club

Mario DiPreta will lead the Fairfield County Hunt Club (FCHC) as its General Manager, overseeing the prestigious Fairfield County country club with a staff of 80 – 100 and a membership of nearly 200 families. With a personal and professional background in equine and racquet programs, DiPreta is knowledgable about the two primary activities of FCHC.

“For nearly 100 years this Club has been bringing people together,” says DiPreta, whose management responsibilities will include: long-term planning for FCHC; meeting member needs for dining, socializing and athletic activities; overseeing nationally-recognized horseback riding competitions and catered events such as weddings. “I want to expand on that heritage while creating a vision for its future. At the heart of my vision for the Club is the membership, who should feel like this is a home away from home.”

DiPreta was previously the Chief Executive Officer & General Manager of The West Side Tennis Club & Forest Hills Stadium in Forest Hills, NY since 2015. This private, member-owned, tennis club is one of America’s historic and iconic showcases for tennis and has been the site of some of the sport’s most memorable moments and events. On a personal level, he has been a part of the equestrian scene as a parent; his 11-year-old daughter is a rider and competes in regional shows.

“Mario has the style, personality, and expertise to be not only a great fit but also a tremendous asset to our Club,” says Benedicte Berg, president of FCHC Board of Governors, who led a committee to fill the position vacated by Carla Nelson. “Carla leaves big shoes to fill, and we feel confident that Mario is the right person for the job.”

The FCHC Board recognized Nelson’s contributions with an honorary FCHC membership and a retirement party on January 23, 2022. Nelson, who has been a treasured employee since 1985, first joined FCHC’s kitchen staff as a pastry chef and line chef. Her responsibilities grew as she proved herself capable of handling various administrative functions and membership services. In 1993 she took the role of general manager, where she dedicated time to every detail of FCHC, including creative input to member events and setting FCHC’s strategic direction.

Prior to being at The West Side Tennis Club, Mario spent over 15 years at Leewood Golf Club in Eastchester, New York where he rose in the ranks from Assistant General Manager to COO, and ultimately became the Club’s CEO. Mario earned a degree in Culinary Arts from the New York Restaurant School and began his career as a sous chef at the Century Country Club in Purchase, New York. Before his club management career, he owned and operated a restaurant in Larchmont, New York.

About the FCHC
Rooted in an equestrian heritage, the Fairfield County Hunt Club is a unique country club with a variety of year-round athletic and social activities. FCHC, which sits on 40 open acres in Westport, CT, has a nationally-recognized equestrian program, a comprehensive racquets program, and dining and social events. Additionally, members have seasonal amenities; in the summer, members enjoy time at the swimming pool, children’s summer camp, swim team, adult and junior tennis. In the winter, members play paddle tennis, socialize by fire pits, and celebrate holiday traditions.

FCHC’s storied history began in 1923, when Averill Harriman commissioned the famous sculptress Laura Gardin Fraser of Westport, CT to design and execute a polo medal. To study her subject she borrowed polo mallets, mounted a horse and started knocking a polo ball around on her estate. Soon polo games were arranged and the loose organization gained attention and popularity; as a result, FCHC was formally established. Today, FCHC hosts monthly rated shows, which are recognized by the US Equestrian Foundation (USEF), New England Horseman’s Council (NEHC) and the Connecticut Hunter Jumper Association (CHJA). Most notably, FCHC hosts the annual June Benefit Horse Show, which is a five-day Class A Show that is recognized as a Heritage Competition by USEF. Members have already started planning for the club’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2023.

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