With the second annual Jockeys & Jeans event a little less than one month away, final preparations are underway, and three more celebrity athletes have added their names to the Honorary Committee to help support the event. Rik Smits, former NBA basketball player, Fred McGriff, former MLB baseball player and Denis Savard, Hall of Fame NHL player are now members of the Honorary Committee for Jockeys & Jeans set for Saturday, May 30 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The event will raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) during a full evening of activities that includes appearances by the three living Triple Crown winning jockeys, Ron Turcotte, Jean Cruguet and Steve Cauthen.
Smits, the former 7’4 center for the Indiana Pacers, played his entire career in Indiana from 1988-2000. The Dutch native has been very active with the Pacers organization in several philanthropic events in his retirement. Smits is now involved in motocross racing.
McGriff’s career in the Major Leagues was recorded with six teams from 1986-2004. The five time All Star completed his career with 493 home runs. McGriff currently works for the Tampa Bay Rays organization and is also involved in radio as a co-host of “The Baysball Show.”
Savard played in the National Hockey League from 1980-1997, playing a majority of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Following his retirement in 1997, his jersey, No. 18, was retired. Savard was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2000.
Smits, McGriff and Savard join an impressive list of Honorary Committee members that includes 13 other individuals lending their support to the event. Included on the list is Gary Player, professional golfer, Ty Murray, nine-time World Champion Bull Rider and seven time World Champion All Around Cowboy, Mari Hulman George, chairman of the board of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dan Issel, Hall of Fame professional basketball player, John Ortiz, actor, Richard Papiese, owner of Midwest Thoroughbreds, Keith Hernandez, Major League baseball player, Mel Daniels, NBA Hall of Fame professional basketball player, Don Buse, professional basketball player, Darnel Hillman, professional basketball player, Bobby “Slick” Leonard, Hall of Fame basketball player and coach, Mike Borchetta, horse owner and former record promotions for labels such as Capitol Records, and Thoroughbred Trainer Dale Romans.
Several of the Honorary Committee Members have donated items for the live and silent auctions to be held during the event. Items available for the auction include a championship western saddle, a guitar autographed by Josh Turner, John Deere Gator, jacket signed by George Strait, basketball, Boston Celtics jersey and practice shorts signed by Larry Bird, Army college football jersey signed by Glenn Davis and Pete Dawkins, Heisman Award winners, and four tickets to the 2015 Brickyard 400. Items will also be available online through Jeff Boone & Associates Auctioneers, who are donating their services to the event.
In addition to the Honorary Committee Members, five organizations have stepped up as Gold Sponsors for the event, including Wrangler, John Deere, Walmart, Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA), and American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). More than 30 other sponsors have stepped up to show their support, including Jeff Boone, owner of Cowpokes Western Wear in Anderson, Ind. Boone and his company, Jeff Boone Auctions, will serve as the official auctioneer for the event.
Jockeys & Jeans is in its second year. The first event, held at Tampa Bay Downs, was formed by a group of former riders looking to make a difference in the sport for some of their fellow riders who experienced career ending injuries. The PDJF was formed in 2006 to assist such riders, and now provides financial support to 61 former jockeys. Members of the Jockeys and Jeans committee include Darrell and Maureen Brown, Gordie Grubin, Kitty and Mike Manganello, Barry and Benjamin Pearl, Barbara Jo Rubin and Rev. Eddie Donnally.
Jockeys & Jeans will raise both awareness and funding for the worthwhile organization with all proceeds going directly to PDJF.
Also assisting with Jockeys and Jeans will be more than a dozen Hall of Fame jockeys, who will be in attendance for the event. Heading the list of impressive legends includes Ron Turcotte, best known as the winner of the Triple Crown aboard Secretariat. Turcotte is serving as the Honorary Chairman of the 2015 event and will be joined by fellow Triple Crown winners Jean Cruguet (Seattle Slew, 1977) and Steve Cauthen (Affirmed, 1978). Other standout jockeys scheduled to appear include Pat Day, Laffit Pincay Jr., Patty Cooksey, Chris McCarron, Sandy Hawley, Randy Romero, Shane Sellers, Jorge Velasquez, Mike Manganello, Jack Kaenel, Earlie Fires, Dave Erb, Walter Blum, Bill Boland, Diane Crump, John Rotz, Barbara Jo Rubin, Mary Russ Tortora, Rev. Eddie Donnally, Darrell Brown and Barry Pearl. All riders will be available for a public meet and greet during Jockeys and Jeans, which gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30.
Special guests of the evening include five former jockeys who experienced career ending injuries. They will join Turcotte, who was paralyzed in a racing accident in 1978, in support of PDJF and Jockeys and Jeans and include Jack Fires, Michael Straight, Anne Von Rosen, Tad Leggett and Stacy Burton.
Tickets are still available for Jockeys & Jeans. The event price is $50 per person and includes food, beverages and exclusive access to the event, which will be held in the Clubhouse Dining at Indiana Grand. Nationally known racing analyst and on-air personality Peter Lurie will serve as the emcee of the event.
To reserve a seat, call Indiana Grand during regular business hours (9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) at (317) 421-0000. The event will coincide with the live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing program during the evening that includes two stakes races, the $65,000 Indy Star Overnight Stakes and the $65,000 PDJF Overnight Stakes.