Rhinestone Cowboy to benefit Swaner Preserve | ParkRecord.com

Rhinestone Cowboy to benefit Swaner Preserve

Wendy Gray-Bizarro enjoys last year's event with Leland S. Swaner, a member of the Swaner Nature Preserve founding family.

The Swaner Nature Preserve has been busy.

It began with 190 acres in 1993. Now, it protects 1200 and is focused on all aspects of preservation.

"Our mission is to preserve educate and nurture, a lot of times nurturing the human spirit specifically addressing the human spirit," said Colleen Rush, the executive director.

Part of their mission goes beyond just saving the planet’s open spaces. They are heavily involved with kids’ scholastic programs and other events in the community.

"There are two sides to the mission," Rush said. "One side is conservation and preservation of the resources and the other is educational outreach programs."

The other side of its mission is gaining a larger focus.

"We also trying to become a more active part of the community and more accessible," said Erin Spear of the preserve.

Because of the broad functions of the organization, fundraisers and donations are crucial to the non-profit organization in continuing its work.

"They are our primary source of revenue." Rush said. "We like to support local organizations; we are tied very closely to what they do in classroom. These fundraisers allow us to expand in that."

The 12th annual Rhinestone Cowboy event, one of its biggest fundraisers of the year, will take place Sept. 30. It will take place from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Gray-Barron Ranch at 5304 Mountain Meadows Lane.

This year’s event will feature probably the most intriguing list of auction items in its 12-year history.

Being the 12th fundraiser, there will also be 12 items up for auction. Leading the list is a private Luncheon for two with Michael Jordan. Yes, THE Michael Jordan.

"This is a one-time deal," Rush said. "Our Chair, Judy Jackson had some connections, I’m really, pretty blown away."

Among the top auction items, there will also be private box-seats overlooking the finish line at the 2007 Kentucky Derby Finish-line. A Chicago Bears’ Training Camp experience for one adult and one child, his and hers Chloe Lane shopping spree, a Napa getaway at Parallel Wines for four, a Tom Till private landscape workshop for over 4 people, a 65-foot houseboat excursion for one week on Lake Powell, an Arabian two-year old horse, and a trip to Mexico.

People who cannot attend the auction in person can bid on items from their phone. Absentee call-in bids can be made until 5 p.m. Sept. 29 at 649-1767.

The event will start with cocktails during the annual Rhinestone Cowboy gal equestrian presentation will take place in the outdoor arena. The horses will perform with music from Friesian Quadrille, a duet by David and Rosalee McMillan on horseback and a musical freestyle set to Native American Drums.

The event is not only for "horse people," Rush said. Following the equestrian show, guests will be invited inside the Rhinestone Tent and have a sit-down gourmet Western dinner while the Cody Bryant Show, a nationally-renowned Cowboy Band flown in from Los Angeles, will provide country tunes.

"They themselves are a show worth seeing," Rush said. "They’ll play a lot of the cowboy classics with their own rendition of "Rhinestone Cowboy."

The Swaner Nature Preserve will present its 12th annual Rhinestone Cowboy gala equestrian event Saturday Sept. 30 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Gray Barron Ranch. Tickets are $15 per person and $1500 for a table of 10. For more information, call 649-1767.

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