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Jockeys and Juleps

An Equestrian Fundraiser

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry

Living up to this year’s theme of “Big Hats, Bourbon and Bluegrass,” all three spotlighted-articles flooded the senses at the fourth annual Jockeys and Juleps event. The party, held at the Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in Collierville, was the perfect set-up for guests to enjoy an afternoon of socializing and Derby-watching.

During the pre-race festivities, ladies strolled around the center’s grounds showing off their spring fashions accessorized with delicate fascinators and lavish hats. Some creations were hand-made, while others came from “across the pond,” like the blush-hued topper worn by Samantha Towne, who located her choice chapeau during at trip to England (and hand-carried it back home on the plane). For her, it was a case of select the hat, then find the dress. Many gentlemen were sporting the first of the season’s seersucker. And because of all-day showers, almost everyone was outfitted with either rain boots, cowboy boots or hunting boots. 

Silent auction items included many equestrian-themed works of art. Photographs by Richard Copley and Drew Doggett, among others, were also up for bid, along with a get-away to Asheville, NC, spa services for pets, and gift certificates to area businesses and restaurants. A “Giving Wall” was set up to allow party-goers to make donations to provide riding lessons, summer camp sessions, and equestrian equipment.

A selection of sweets were provided in the room housing the silent auction. Derby-themed cookies from black-eyed Sue bakery in Memphis, handcrafted pralines from Leon’s Candies in Nashville, and julep and bourbon cupcakes by Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery in Collierville offered guests just the right amount of sugar to keep up their stamina as they prepared to cheer for their horse of choice in the 145th Kentucky Derby.

At the covered pavilion, food stations and bars dotted the perimeter of the ring, offering tasty tidbits like sliders, charcuterie and a tater tot bar. True to race tradition, floral arrangements featured red roses. 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.

Event chairs for this year’s Jockeys and Juleps were Lee and Margaret Alexander, Charles and Judy Burkett, Bryan and Kim Jordan, and Bryan and Courtney Smith. Honorary chairs were Carolyn and Kent Brown, whose son, Parker, is a participant in the Southern Reins program. All proceeds benefited Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy. 

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