Experience the Kentucky Derby Pagosa-style at Saturday gala

Photo courtesy John Duvall

By Lisa Scott
Special to The PREVIEW
“The most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby horse race, is days away.
There is no better way to bet on the horses than by attending the Rotary Club Kentucky Derby Party at Keyah Grande Lodge on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.
Tickets are $45 per person and will be available at Exit Realty, Choke Cherry Tree, Happy Trails or from any Rotarian until 5 p.m. on Friday. Saturday, tickets will be available at the door. The shuttle from the parking area up to the lodge starts at 1:45 p.m.
Your ticket includes a buffet lunch that will be open beginning at 3 p.m. Live music by local jazz musician Bob Hemenger will fill the air and inspire dancing and there will be several “fashion” and hat contests, trivia games, cash bar and betting booths.
Derby festivities will be simulcast live from Churchill Downs. Prior to watching the race live, you’ll get the opportunity to bet on the horse or horses that might win (come in first), place (come in second) or show (come in third) in the race. You can even make multiple bets on different combinations of horses. Please bring cash for betting. If you are good at picking a winning horse, then you get to keep 75 percent of your winnings and get to donate the 25 percent that Rotary keeps to support local philanthropic projects.
Even if your particular bets don’t pay out, remind yourself that all of this fun is raising money to help fund postsecondary scholarships, food-filled backpacks for youth needing supplemental meals, dictionaries for third-grade students, community needs through Pagosa Outreach, sponsoring four Loaves and Fishes luncheons and sponsoring youth leaders to attend leadership camps. That is definitely a win-win-win opportunity to have a lot of fun, make some money and also make a donation.
Bring your checkbook for the “Experiences” silent auction which will include: Creede weekend package including one-night stay at Antlers Rio Grande Lodge and tickets to Creede Repertory Theater; Sedona, Ariz., golf package with four-night stay; Ouray weekend including two-night stay at a five-star bed and breakfast and $100 gift certificate to a restaurant; Silverton and Durango railroad weekend including one-night stay at a hotel with train ride up and back; two rounds of golf and a dinner for two in South Fork and a night’s stay at a famous and historic hotel in Del Norte; “Queen for a Day” package of services for the lady of the house including massage, beauty treatments, house cleaning, car wash, handy man and more; “King for a Day” package of services for the man of the house including yard service, car wash, handyman, car services, power equipment rental and more; Durango hotel stay at the General Palmer and dinner; raft trip down the San Juan for four; full-day jeep excursion through the mountains for four; two rounds of local golf and dinner for two; two theater tickets to “Proof” at Thingamajig Theatre with dinner for two; and more.
It’s going to be a great afternoon in a beautiful setting with great company, music, food, drinks, betting on the horse race, silent auction and many Derby traditions. This party has a live horse with the “Run for the Roses” garland draped over his neck, greeting guests at the entrance. Another unique characteristic of the Derby is the hats. Women and men top off their Derby duds with a variety of headwear to put them in the Derby spirit and compete in the hat contest for both men and women.
The Kentucky Derby receives its nickname, “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” from the approximate length of time it takes the thoroughbreds to run from the starting gate to the finish line. You won’t want to miss this exquisite afternoon event. Come on out and gamble on a “sure thing” on May 5.
With over 24,000 clubs and 1.2 million members worldwide, Rotary International is a service organization with the goal of bringing together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships, take action and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Exemplifying the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self,” the local Rotary clubs provide support for local and international project that improve the lives of others.

This story was posted on May 3, 2018.