No cats or dogs were harmed when nearly 3,500 “adopted” rubber cats and dogs were dropped from a helicopter onto a target painted onto Port of Brookings-Harbor’s kite field during The Brookings-Harbor Rotary Club's 6th Annual Raining Cats & Dogs fundraiser held on Saturday, Sept. 28.
The PA system played the song, “Who let the dogs out,” as excited members of the crowd sang along, danced and cheered at the 6th annual event.
Despite predictions of stormy weather, the sun came out and attendance was good at the family- and pet-friendly event that also featured games for children, a bounce house and face painting. Mini Pet Mart gave out goody bags with pet food samples, toys and pet waste pickup bags to pets and their owners.
The helicopter, donated and flown by Dan Brattain of Cal-Ore Life Flight, took incoming Rotary President Alan Nidiffer aloft to drop the plastic cats and dogs from the sky. The drop took three different flights with several passes each time over the field to drop all the animals.
The event netted $15,680 dollars for the Rotary Club. All of the funds stay in the Brookings area community and are used to fund scholarships for high school graduates, water-safety lessons for third-graders, shoe vouchers for students, and financial support for community kitchens, food banks and school pantries.
The $5,000 grand prize winner was Rick Gray of Brookings, whose adopted pet was determined to be the closest to the center of the target. The winning entry was “within fractions of an inch” of other adopted pets that were closest to the target said event Master of Ceremonies Les Cohen. A panel of judges spent more than 30 minutes measuring and recording the unique numbers found on each plastic pet belonging to the more than 25 winners. Then the numbers were matched to the master computer list to learn their respective owners’ names.
Rick Gray has chosen to donate his winnings to charity, with half going to the Brookings Humane Society, and the other half going to Wild Rivers Rescue in Gold Beach.
“It makes my heart feel so warm and it’s so fitting with the name of the event that the grand prize will go to benefit all the animals in Curry County,” Bonnie Jordan, spokesperson for the event said.
The 30-member Rotary Club had some help from area nonprofit organizations that sold chances to win to the public. The first place winner at selling the adoptions, with a total of 511, was the Calvin E. Murphy Det. 578 Marine Corp League. They will receive $1,022, which they usually use for their Toys for Tots charity, Jordan said.. Second place was taken by the Seaview Residents Council, which sold 229 adoptions, earning $458. They will use their winnings to put on a Christmas party for staff at Seaview, since they cannot accept tips. Third place went to the Soroptimists, who sold 151 adoptions, earning $302. The Brookings-Harbor High School cheerleaders sold 130 adoptions.
Local businesses donated raffle prizes that pet adopters could enter by dropping entry forms into baskets located at their businesses. In addition, $6,000 worth of gift certificates and prizes donated by area businesses were awarded to another 25 winners who came closest to the center of the target in the pet drop.
Kids found more fun at the end of the day by picking up all the remaining plastic pets from the field. The toys are reused every year.