May 12, 2008 | Decked out in Derby hats, a festive crowd watched “the most exciting two minutes in sports” May 3 while raising money to help some of the state’s tiniest babies at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
The 134th Running of the Kentucky Derby was broadcast live on a 12 ft. by 24 ft. theater-style screen during the fifth annual Julep Cup Jaunt held at the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute at UAMS. The annual benefit raised funds for the UAMS neonatal intensive care unit.
“The work being done every day at the UAMS neonatal intensive care unit is positively affecting the lives of so many Arkansas families,” said Matt De Luca, chairman of the UAMS Consortium. “We couldn’t be happier with the turnout for this event and being able to support what is such a valuable resource for so many families.”
The event was hosted by the UAMS Consortium, a group of young professionals and business executives that provides support for UAMS through fundraising activities.
Craig O’Neill, sports director at local CBS affiliate KTHV and master of ceremonies for the event, kept the crowd in stitches and the Derby Day trivia flowing as he relayed plenty of horse-related humor and factual tidbits. With the live music of jazz trio The Real Thing keeping things hopping, guests feasted on Derby fare catered by Capers and bid on several silent auction items that included exclusive golf packages, jewelry and an autographed Lance Armstrong photo, among many others.
“It takes hundreds of people each day to make the NICU tick,” said Ashley Ross, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. “We all appreciate the support as we continue to grow and meet the needs of Arkansas families.”
Presenting sponsors for the event were Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc. and U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Other lead sponsors included Arvest Bank, CDI Contractors and Vratsinas Construction Co.