Old Town Assn. unveils Run for the Roses event for Cottonwood (with photo gallery)

From left, the OTA Board members Andrea Harless, Kevin Grubb, Lindsey Higginson, Mayor Diane Joens, Patty May, Larry Cohen, Mitch Levy, Cindi Battisti and Hezekiah Allen at Fire Mountain winery on Wednesday. VVN/Jon Pelletier

From left, the OTA Board members Andrea Harless, Kevin Grubb, Lindsey Higginson, Mayor Diane Joens, Patty May, Larry Cohen, Mitch Levy, Cindi Battisti and Hezekiah Allen at Fire Mountain winery on Wednesday. VVN/Jon Pelletier

The Cottonwood Old Town Association brought together 50 of it is members Wednesday night for its annual membership meeting.

There were a couple of new additions to show off. President Lindsey Higginson unveiled a new destination event for Old Town in early May. Dubbed Run for the Roses Cottonwood Bootleg Derby, the event will feature a local take on the Kentucky Derby.

The weekend will begin with a Bootlegger's Ball the evening of May 2 to kick off the derby weekend and build excitement for the Cottonwood Derby. The Sammy Davis Band will provide the entertainment at the Cottonwood Civic Center.

The Run for the Roses, Cottonwood Style, will close a portion of Main Street for a vendor block party of art, antiques, food and wine. But the main event will be the sawhorse derby.

The steeds begin with a crafted decorated sawhorse to which wheels may be mounted but no engine or motors. Higginson says the entries must be entirely human-powered and either pushed or pulled. A $40 entry fee pays for the sawhorse and names on the race form and in the paddock.

A number of qualifying heats will pool winning horses leading to the main event.

Wagering will be possible, just like the Kentucky celebration, but by a raffle arrangement using buckets.

A Horseshoe Tournament will also be part of the action, hosted by the Cornville Cartel.

"Connections," a horse therapy organization for the mentally challenged, will benefit from an auction.

The event is intended to draw tourism and community awareness and build unity.

Higginson said that a promoter is being sought for the Thunder Valley Rally to be held Sept. 19-20. Hezekiah Allen, responding to a question of whether the program can be expanded, said "We are looking into that." A Regional Committee is being formed to work on making the event larger without making it over-burdened.

Higginson also showed off the OTA's updated website. The site originally was geared to members and is now intended to showcase Old Town as a tourist destination with a rotating profile of individual members businesses. The site was developed by Nick Hunseder of Nick of Time Productions.

The website is expected to be updated when Cottonwood's branding logo is completed.

The organization's advertising budget has grown from $6,800 in 2012 to $37,343 in 2014, a figure doubled by grants and other marketing partners. Higginson said the aggregate total of $75,000 to $80,000 is still small compared with $300,000 by Sedona, for example.

-- Contact the reporter at jhutchinson@verdenews.com

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