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Jockeys and Juleps

A Run for the Roses

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry

Over 800 people made their way to the Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in Collierville for the third annual Jockeys and Juleps Derby Party. The equivalent of stretch limo golf carts were at the ready to whisk partygoers from their cars to the entrance of the gathering. Pre-race fun showcased some of the very best spring fashions as ladies expressed their inner Southern Belles. Fancy dresses topped by delicate hats or whimsical fascinators were the choice attire for women, while many dapper gentlemen sported bow ties and seersucker suits. With clouds darkening as the afternoon wore on, the most practical of footwear turned out to be rain boots. 

But spirits were high, not the least bit dampened, as Trip Thompson welcomed guests to the party. Silent auction items were on view in the house and included many horse-themed works of art. Dining tables were stationed under the cover of the equestrian arena, and true to the tradition of The Kentucky Derby, floral arrangements featured red roses. Food stations and bars dotted the perimeter of the ring, offering tasty tidbits like pulled pork sliders, charcuterie and a tater tot bar. Mint Juleps were the drink of the day along with a vodka-spiked fruit punch. There was also a Vodka Bar sponsored by Old Dominick and a Bourbon Bar by Athens Distributing. Sweets included hat-shaped iced cookies and shot glasses filled with banana pudding or various flavored cakes. 

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell spoke to the crowd, reminding everyone that The Kentucky Derby was the longest running sports event in American history, and also the most exciting two minutes of sports. Valerie Calhoun and Darrell Greene, of FOX13 Memphis, served as emcees for the event and led the afternoon’s live auction. Items up for bid included duck hunt excursions, a summer vacation in Colorado, a progressive dinner at Horseshoe Lake, several special at-home dinner offerings, a bourbon tasting in Middleton, TN, and an opportunity for two people to experience the Country Music Awards in Nashville.

Event chairs for this year’s Jockeys and Juleps were Courtney and Bryan Smith, Kim and Bryan Jordan, Bridget Trenary, and Charles and Judy Burkett. They were joined by honorary chairs Mike and Liz Neel, whose daughter is a participant in the Southern Reins program. All proceeds from the event benefit Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy. 

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