The disqualification and subsequent reversal of the winning horse, the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby, only added to the excitement at Weymouth Country Club where about 180 guests had gathered May 4 for the 7th Annual Children's Cup - A Night at the Races.
Medina County Children's Center Executive Director Rhonda Wurgler was excited that the Center's largest fundraiser of the year coincided with the biggest day in horse racing, adding, "Even if you are not into betting, you will surely be entertained by the festivities of the evening." She was right about that.
Although the day was rainy, dismal, and overcast both here and in Kentucky, the atmosphere among the attendees was all about the long-standing traditions of the highly acclaimed race at Churhill Downs. Among the most obvious was the appearance of elaborately fanciful hats and the recently introduced more delicate British-influenced fascinators. Hats designed by Lisa Reynolds were also available for a $25 donation for anyone who wished to purchase one. A Derby Hat competition was held to find the most original.
In addition to enjoying a lavish heavy hors d'oeuvres buffet, guests could make bids on 70 silent auction raffle baskets that offered a variety of enticing themed items. Baskets featured beverages, foods, jewelry, games and entertainment options, restaurant and service gift certificates, scratch-off lottery tickets, a lovely tabletop garden, and much more.
For the seventh year, Tom Jenkins and his mother Mary Jenkins, of Race Night, conducted the video races on which guests could place two dollar bets at the 10 "betting windows."
The horses featured in each race were "owned" by supporters of the event. Many had fun names, including Talk Derby to Me, Byrne It Up, Lame Dame, Hay Girl, Pourmeadrink, Italian Stallion, Tax that Asset, Therapy Horse, Between the Spreadsheets, and My Mere. A dozen of the county's police departments, along with the Sheriff's Office, State Patrol, Park Rangers, and Drug Task Force also sponsored horses in support of this worthy cause.
On the event's planning committee were Toula Barlow, Annette Finley, Terry Grice, Sheila Jacobsen, Anna Guy-Leach, Diane Meckes, Megan Millikin, Kristen Minichello, Kris Quallich, Tracie Rose, and Children's Center Director Rhonda Wurgler.
Presenting sponsor was Sherwin-Williams. Win sponsors were Diane Lynne Meckes, Gowe Leasing (Jim and Nancy Gowe), RW Corwin, and Women's Journal. Place sponsors were Mike and Tracie Rose and Dana and Renee Schneider, Westfield Bank, insyte, Shine Acupuncture and Wellness, Free Zone, Fire-Dex, Therapeutic Associates, and Community Assessment and Treatment Services.
Show sponsors were John and Jen Graham and Terry and Cindy Grice, Landry Family Dentistry, Armstrong, RFC Contracting, forensicfluids, Redwood Apartment Neighborhoods, Ken's Karpentry Inc., Intervention for Peace, and The Children Center of Medina County. There were more than 80 businesses and individuals that supported this year's Children's Cup.
It is the mission of The Children' Center "to nurture abused and neglected children through collaboration, advocacy, treatment and prevention." All proceeds from the event will benefit children who have been sexually abused, physically abused, or neglected; since 2007, more than 10,000 children have received services from the Center.
You can support these upcoming events that will benefit the work of The Children's Center: Community Open House (June date TBA); Nate Vermote Run to Freedom (July 28); 1st Annual Child Abuse Awareness Training (September 20); and Art With a Heart (November 8). Visit medinacountychildrenscenter.org, or call 330-764-8891 for further details.