In February 2014, a few ex-jockeys had seen each other on Facebook and thought it would be a good idea to hold a reunion. Most of these riders had not seen each other for over 30 years, but old friendships just never die. Since most of the riders were now in Florida, it was decided to meet at Tampa Bay Downs. From this reunion, a charity event grew spearheaded by former rider Rev. Eddie Donnally and former Kentucky Derby winner Mike Manganello. Other ex-jockeys soon joined the cause and Jockeys and JeansTM concept was born.
The committee has grown to now include Barbara Jo Rubin, the first woman to win in the US, Darrell Brown, a former leading rider at Tampa Bay Downs, Dennis Petrucelli, a former Tampa Bay Downs rider, and Barry Pearl, a former rider from the 60's and 70's. With Reverend Eddie at the helm, Jockeys and JeansTM partnered with the Permanently Disable Jockeys Fund (PDJF) to raise money for the PDJF. Contacts were made with Tampa Bay Downs and soon the first Jockeys and JeansTM event was arranged for March 29, 2014.
With the help of Nancy Lasala from the PDJF, Jockeys and JeansTM had 6 weeks to pull together everything for this one of a kind event. So, boots were pulled on, saddles were polished, whips were checked, and helmets were prepared. The ex-jockeys formed committees, loaded into the starting gate, and they were off.
Now there was some doubt in the racing world that Jockeys and JeansTM would succeed. How could a bunch of under sized over egotistical ex-jocks form a successful charity event? My goodness it would be like herding cats. With a starting working capital of $300.00, donated by our members, the team went to work.
The six undersized, over confident men and woman tackled fund raising, public relations, ticket sales, and bringing in sponsors and donors. And in just six weeks, Jockeys and JeansTM was proud to have raised over $20,000 for the PDJF. After all the hard work and heart felt effort, the Jockeys and Jeans team was proud to help the deserving injured riders who has suffered life changing injuries.
So, the question you may ask is, will Jockeys and JeansTM do this again? What do you think?