Arriving at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center in beautiful Carefree set the tone. The Resort, with its rustic entry way and welcoming staff, directed us to the equally beautiful Opera House. Passing through large glass doors to a balcony that overlooked the center of the hotel and the swimming pool surrounded by the low level hotel rooms allowed us to enjoy the high desert view. We walked down a ramp that opened up to an outdoor picnic area and a huge building with an enclosed patio and wood burning fire nooks on either side of the grand opening. It was definitely impressive.
Inside the patio several fantastic items were open to bid for the silent auction. Everything from art work to horse equipment, sporting event tickets and weekend getaways at 5 star hotels were up for grabs.
Also in the patio, a no host bar, and guests received one drink ticket, a nice touch. There was also a small spread of fruits, vegetable and cheeses. I say small, but it was actually perfect, considering the best was yet to come.
And the best part of the patio scene was the trio Ruby City singing great tunes from the 70's to the '13's and doing it very well. The three sisters who make up the group did a wonderful job singing and playing music that appealed to the crowd. These girls are definitely a group to consider for any gathering big or small.
Inside the building was even more impressive. A long open space with another bar to the left, the checkout tables on the right and more items lining the walls. Triple R also had their signature T-Shirts, hats and cookbooks for sale. On the right were tables of delectable desserts all waiting for later in the night and the dessert dash.
The center of the room was filled with tables ready to seat the guests. At the end of the room above the stage a slide show of the ranch, the horses and the volunteers played. After guests were seated, the evening began with Ken Bacher, President of Triple R saying a few words and introducing the board. Courtney Olsen, the event-coordinator extraordinaire presented Ken with a new cowboy hat in appreciation for all of his hard work.
Then Andi McDowel, the evenings emcee and local celebrity, took the stage to let the crowd know how the evening would play out. Starting with a video of interviews of adopters and their four-legged adoptees; there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The stories of the horses and how they've brought joy to their new owners were heartwarming and inspiring. The video showed everyone the joy that Triple R Horse Rescue brings to so many people - and horses.
The first course of a fresh green salad and bread was served during the video. The Carefree staff did a great job of getting food out quickly to the crowd. Following the salad guests were presented with the main course of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The chicken was cooked to perfection, the potatoes were fluffy and flavorful and the asparagus was excellent.
Pulling off such a feat - feeding so many people at the same time - it's easy. The kitchen staff at the resort did a fabulous job. This group of people really know what they're doing!
As the guests finished up dinner, Andi took the stage again and started off the live auction. The items up for grabs included a diamond and silver necklace, beautiful artwork, special hotel stays and even a deep sea fishing excursion.
The final event was the dessert dash, with tables being called by number and guests hustling over to pick from the selections. After seeing the choices, I'm sure no one went away disappointed.
In the end, all the cowboys and cowgirls had a great time and raised money for a great cause - rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming horses in need.
And while I know Courtney and her wonderful group of people of volunteers are taking a well deserved break from all the work they put into the outstanding evening, I'm sure everyone who was at the first gala are already looking forward to next year!
**As of this writing the final "numbers" of how much was raised hasn't been release. Regardless, the evening was a success due to the volunteers and guests who came together to support Triple R Horse Rescue and their ongoing mission of finding abandoned and surrendered horses their forever home.