More than 375 Hampton Roads residents traded wing tips for cowboy boots and gathered 'round at Dream Catchers at the Cori Sikich Therapeutic Riding Center for its Bridles & Bow Ties 2016. Held May 21, this year's event was a great success allowing the organization to continue its mission of helping special needs children and adults in the area reach their potential.
Riverside Health System celebrates its fourth time as both the title sponsor and video sponsor of Bridles & Bow Ties, which is Dream Catchers' biggest fundraising event of the year. Towne Monarch continued its commitment as the auction sponsor and Sally and Mike Derrig sponsored the student riding demonstration. The generosity of sponsors, donors and volunteers helped meet the fundraising goals, which support the Dream Catchers' programs and scholarships all year. The non-profit provides more than 100 life-changing lessons each week to individuals with one of 150 conditions to include autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, trauma and cancer.
The evening's epic rainfall did not dampen spirits of the festive attendees. Participants packed the sell-out event, cheering on the televised Preakness, savoring an elegant dinner and excitedly bidding on live auction items. Paddles flew up in support of the event's traditional Dream Rider paddle raise. This special feature hosted by event auctioneer Ernie Rogers of Blacktie Benefit Auctions, is a particularly spirited aspect of the fundraiser.
One of the night's most heart-warming moments was the announcement of Seifi Retzlaff as the 2016 recipient of the Angie N. Johnson Student Achievement Award. Each year, this award is presented at the Bridles & Bow Ties event to the student who is recommended by the Center's Instructors as having achieved the most significant progress during the past year. Retzlaff has been a Dream Catchers participant for seven years.
"Riding at Dream Catchers is important to me because of the physical benefits - stretching, helps me walk better, helps my posture, works my core, helps my speech, helps reduce stress from college," said Seifi Retzlaff, the 2016 Angie N. Johnson Student Achievement Award winner at Dream Catchers. "At Dream Catchers, you meet people from different walks of life and interests. I love working with my team every week! Riding gives me a sense of command and control, and Macy is my favorite horse."
This item was posted by a community contributor.