The racetrack is being readied and the horses are being groomed as preparations continue for ‘Talk Derby To Me’, an evening of action packed horse racing and murder mystery dinner theatre.
The second annual Kentucky Derby style fundraiser is set for June 12th to 15th at Flying Cross Ranch.
Hosted by The Friends of Flying Cross Ranch Society, all proceeds raised from the event will go towards the Society’s main cause, making riding lessons more affordable for youth in the community.
Flying Cross Ranch put on the truly unique event last year, raising funds for not only young riders, but also a family in need.
“Last year’s event raised $10,000 for a Blackfalds family whose father needed a double lung transplant,” explained Flying Cross Ranch Owner/Operator Roy Sturgeon. “Funds raised by the Society help kids experience equine activities regardless of their family income, to offset costs. All the money goes back into the community.”
Attendees of the event will be treated to live racing action with youth jockeys, from the young jockey program, racing five times each of the three nights in Triple Crown fashion.
“You will have a chance to own a race horse for the night via a Calcutta style auction,” explained Sturgeon. “If you win the winning horse, you will get your picture taken in the winner’s circle with your horse and rider and receive a souvenir trophy commentating the event.”
This year’s event also features a high-end steak dinner, live and silent auction, a dessert auction and the riveting, interactive murder mystery production by ZAP! Theatre.
Daniel Allers, ZAP! Theatre’s general manager, director and playwright, said the Central Alberta-based theatre group was contacted by Flying Cross Ranch a few months ago and a partnership formed in order to bring high-caliber dinner theatre to the event.
“Out of that was born a short original play by ZAP! Theatre called The Derby Way to Die,” explained Allers.
The production runs for approximately 30 minutes and will be performed in two acts.
“Everyone is enjoying their day at the races when the news arrives that one of the revelers has been found dead,” said Allers. “Tensions mount as Detective Loretta MacKay arrives to begin her investigation.
“She starts interviewing the witnesses and figuring out who the killer is. There is a zany cast of characters; from a medical examiner to a real keen newspaper reporter to an eccentric millionaire. Only one thing is certain — it surely is ‘A Derby Way to Die.”
The show will be performed completely outdoors and the cast will be first mingling with attendees for the first portion of the play.
A Derby Way To Die features nine cast members and is a completely original work.
Other than detailing that the production is murder mystery, Allers would not divulge any more details. “It will be a fun opportunity for sure,” he said.
Attendees of Talk Derby To Me are encouraged to dress in their best ‘derby’ attire, including the large Kentucky derby-style hats. A display honouring famous jockeys from Alberta will also be set up to view.
Sturgeon said tickets are halfway sold out so attendees are encouraged to buy theirs as soon as possible. There is limited seating for all three shows.
Talk Derby to Me runs Friday, June 12th at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 13th at 6 p.m. and Sunday June 14th at 3 p.m.
Flying Cross Ranch is located north of Lacombe, 1 km east on Milton Road, left on RR 26-3 and 1 km north to 41129.
For tickets or more information, call 403-350-7368 or visit www.flyingcrossranch.com.