The Press Newspaper
These horses are not exactly Kentucky thoroughbreds. Instead, these “stick” horses “of a different color” are
being auctioned and will race to help local charities.
The Eastern Maumee Chamber of Commerce is holding a charity derby horse race and auction at Oak Shade Grove Wednesday night. The fundraiser accompanies the annual chamber steak roast, which begins at 6 p.m.
The derby works as follows — each local business builds and designs a horse and provides a well-dressed jockey to “race” the horse. Each business chooses a local charity to be the beneficiary of its horse’s winnings.
The horse must be 29 inches tall, and chamber director Sarah Beavers suggests purchasing a horse at a local hobby shop.
“It starts off with a stick horse, and you can build it up to anything you want it to be,” Beavers said. “We suggested a stick horse so there is a base that’s somewhat similar. I found them online at Toys R Us for something like $3 for a little stick and a horse head. Then, you can build it up to whatever.”
Beavers said one designer came up with the idea to put its horse in a wheelchair because it will benefit a nursing home.
“As long as it’s mobile and it can be moved, and you need to have a jockey to move your horse,” Beavers continued. “It’s truly up to them (how to dress the jockey) but the more exciting you make it the better because you bring your group and there are other people who are attending who are going to decide if they want to donate to your group.
“That’s what we’re working on — getting the jockey involved. Even if your horse is basic and you want your jockey to be the selling point, you know. Do it up, make it funny. Hopefully your horse wins, but the money still goes to charities, and half of (the chamber’s) proceeds will go to three different charities. So hopefully we can raise some money for us, but it’s for fun. We do it at the end of the year, but this is our way to do a little bit extra. The steak roast is always a good time.”
Local television news broadcaster Jerry Anderson will first auction each horse. The six horses that win the highest bids will advance to the Charity Derby Race.
Beavers suggested that businesses need to “bring people who want their charity to win” and qualify for the derby
“There are six spots, and then we are going to roll the dice and there is going to be six lanes and six spaces on a six-by-six board, and obviously there are six spots on each dice. So if it’s two and four, then horses number two and four advance one spot,” Beavers said.
Businesses should give the horse a name, but they don’t have to register it as a thoroughbred, of course. It’s so Anderson can make the call during the derby.
“He’s really good at what he does. He’ll get that crowd going, and he’ll be kind of commentating on the horse race as well, so that should be funny,” Beavers said.
The first place winner will receive 25 percent of the auction proceeds donated to their charity, second place will receive 15 percent, and third place will receive 10 percent.
Some of the beneficiaries already include Lake Local Schools, Arbors of Oregon, Food for Thought, and Lutheran Home Society. Beavers expects more by the time the derby rolls around, plus the chamber has designated three charities to get a share of the proceeds it raises.
Even though the deadline is officially past, Beavers says if a business still wants to participate and can put a horse and jockey together, they still have time if they get in touch with her immediately, fill out entry forms and deliver the horse to Oak Shade Grove by Tuesday between 2 and 6 p.m. There is a $20 entry fee.
The horse follows in line with a scarecrow design and auction held the past two years. The idea originally started with a fiberglass raccoon contest celebrating Oregon’s 50th anniversary. Some of the 50 raccoons were auctioned at figures close to $1,000 and many of the scarecrows were auctioned at between $200 and $300.
“The scarecrows were fun,” Beavers said. “It kind of ran its course and I we wanted to do that same kind of thing, but maybe something different.
“It kind of started out with we wanted to do a Monte Carlo night, but it went into, ‘What else can we do? Can we do something that is a little more community oriented?’ Just brainstorming, we decided we wanted to change up from the scarecrows and we wanted to do the horse race. We wanted to be able to give something back and this is kind of our fun way of doing that.”
“We liked the idea of the scarecrow. When I saw that I thought it was a good idea, because the raccoons kind of started it. But you don’t need another scarecrow in the office. We’ll see how (the derby) goes, and if it goes well we’ll do it again next year,” Beavers added.