The Press Newspaper
Jockey Ed Schimmel rode the Miracle League’s “Speedy” to a come-from-behind first place photo finish in the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce Charity Derby Horse Race Wednesday night at Oak Shade Grove.
About 75 people arrived for the stick horse stakes race, which accompanied the chamber’s annual steak roast.
Along with hundreds of dollars raised through raffles and a silent auction for three other charities designated by the chamber, six horses were auction for a total of nearly $1,000. The three horses with the top auction value were entered into the derby.
The top three were Speedy, which brought in $275, Oregon Senior Center’s “See Alice,” which brought in $225, and Bay Park Community Hospital’s “What’s Up Doc” brought in $175.
During the race, Schimmel’s horse was in first place at the turn, fell behind, and then recovered at the wire to win.
Schimmel, the chamber president and a Northwood councilman, commented that it was the stick horse’s “intense training” that won the race, when in reality it was the roll of two large pink, fuzzy dice by chamber director Sarah Beavers that determined which horses advanced.
Speedy was designed by Northwood law office Hizer and Schimmel to raise money for the Miracle League of Northwest Ohio.
The Miracle League’s mission’s is to "provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to play Miracle League baseball, regardless of their abilities and promote the construction of special facilities that meet the unique needs of Miracle League players, their families and friends.”
The City of Northwood donated land in Brentwood Park to the Miracle League of Northwest Ohio to build a specially equipped field. Brentwood Park is located at 2100 Tracy Road right behind a city fire station.
The second place finisher was “See Alice,” which was ridden by jockey “Violet” and designed by and for the senior center. Completing the trifecta in third place was “What’s Up Doc?” — ridden by jockey “Tia” and designed to raise money for the BPCH Foundation.
The derby’s first place winner receives 25 percent of the auction proceeds donated to their charity, second place receives 15 percent, and third place receives 10 percent.
The Oregon Senior Center, on Bayshore Road, was incorporated as a nonprofit agency in March 1995 to support senior citizens' independence and to encourage their involvement in the community. The center provides referrals, education, transportation, socialization, and other activities for older adults in Oregon.
The Bay Park Community Hospital Foundation receives and directs charitable contributions on behalf of the hospital from the community. Both the hospital and its foundation are not-for-profit organizations, and all contributions are used at Bay Park Community Hospital to purchase equipment and enhance programs and services.
The National Bank of Oak Harbor entered “Big Bucks”, ridden by jockey “Emily,” to raise money for Food For Thought. “Out To Pasture,” which carried itself in a wheelchair, was ridden by “Debbie” and designed by and for the Lutheran Home Society. ReMax entered “Racer,” which was ridden by “Chuck” for the Lake High School athletic boosters.
The derby worked as follows — each local business built and designed a horse and provided a well-dressed jockey to “race” the horse. Each business chose a local charity to be the beneficiary of its horse’s winnings.
The horse must have been at least 29 inches tall, and Beavers suggested purchasing a horse at a local hobby shop. She says it is possible that the derby fundraiser may return for next year’s steak roast.
Making the call during the derby was local television news broadcaster Jerry Anderson, who performed similar roles during the chamber’s scarecrow auctions the past two years and a fiberglass raccoon auction during the City of Oregon’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“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 said before the derby began.
Top raffle prizes at the chamber event were $1,000 in gasoline donated by BP-Husky, a Seiko Music Clock donated by Alan Miller Jewelers, an Aquaholic Perch Charter, and a $100 gift certificate for Lee Williams House of Meats.
Raffle ticket sponsors were Beth Allen Florists, Big Applie Deli, Fioritto Accounting and Tax Service, National Bank of Oak Harbor, State Farm Insurance-Pete MacDonald, Heartland of Oregon, BPCH, Orchard Villa, and Warnke Enterprises, LLC.
Committee members who organized the event included Beavers, Jean Delauter, Mike Fioritto, Carolyn Urbanowicz, Cathy King, Larry Schaffer, Linda Zunk, and Barb Braunbern. Fioritto also provided entertainment.