Night at the Races benefits Etna

Updated 2 hours ago

Giddy up for the Etna Economic Development Corp. (EEDC)’s Ninth Annual Run for the Cup: A Night at the Races on March 2 at Clarence Fugh Memorial Hall, 27 Crescent Ave., Etna.

Doors will open for the 21-and-over event at 7:30 p.m., with races starting at 8 p.m.

The evening will feature 10 traditional races and one auction race displayed on a screen.

People may “purchase” horses for $5 at the following Etna locations: Winschel Hardware, Cop Out Pierogies, Porky’s Bar & Grill,

The Shiny Bean Coffee & Tea, the municipal building and from EEDC members by Feb. 23. Betting windows also will be open at the event.

People with winning horses will receive $25. Event attendance is not required to win.

“I write down the winning horses from each race and try to write down the horses that haven’t won yet and you know, kind of bet on them, and then if I buy a horse or if a friend buys a horse, I always bet on their horses,” Jeff Plowey, EEDC vice chairman, said of his gaming strategy.

He said the event attracts more than 100 attendees annually.

According to Etna Manager Mary Ellen Ramage, it typically raises an average profit of $1,500.

She said the night is a chance to support “a great organization that gives back to the community.”

“They (the EEDC) help sponsor the Street Skate, give out façade grants to businesses, provide book give-aways at Light the Night to all visitors to Santa, helped pay for all the welcome signs in Etna, run the week-long carnival in the summer, sponsor the farmers market, sponsor the annual art tour and have been awarded grant dollars that go directly into the community.”

Part of the fun for players is devising “colorful” names for their horses, Ramage said. Plowey names his after his street or his dog, Auggie.

“As the caller always says, if you name it, he’ll say it,” he said.

Plowey helps organize the event, with 12 other volunteers.

After he receives a list of the purchased horses, he creates race lineups, ensuring that guests don’t have too many horses in the same race. He also develops races based on horses’ names.

“So, if there’s a lot of political horses, I’ll put them all in the same race.”

Admission, as well as beer, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are free.

Guests may bring their own snacks and drinks.

People may test their luck with a 50-50 and another raffle.

Washington-based Rotunda Races Inc. will lead the races.

Plowey and approximately 20 friends and family members from Etna, Shaler and Hampton have made attending the Night at the Races a tradition.

“I am not into horse-race betting, but this is fun,” he said.

“It supports the community. You get to bring your own snacks or drinks if you want. It’s BYOB, and it’s just a good time to get everyone together and have fun.”

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.