by Carrie Gilbert
On Friday, September 29th members, guests, family and friends welcomed Bill Wofford as the 49th Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager of the Year. On the rainy evening 190 guests were welcomed into the warm and gorgeously decorated historic Round Barn located at The Red Mile. As guests arrived they were greeted by staff photographers from “Tops InLex”who took lovely shots which were later featured on their popular website.
As guests made their way into the Round Barn they were welcomed by local vendors offering a wide variety of spirits as well as Kentucky Proud products. Master Distiller Jimmy Russell returned for a second year with his lovely wife to provide samples of Wild Turkey and delighted guests with stories and facts about the blend. Daniel Harrison, owner of Country Boy Brewing was in awe that Jimmy Russell attended and complimented his craft brew called Courage Bait Blonde. Courage Bait quickly became the favorite sampling of the night. Aside from Mr. Russell, returning vendors included Arabella Winery which featured three of their highly touted South African wines.
New vendors for 2012 included Black Barn Winery and their delightful owners Collin and Caroline Boyd, Alltech featuring two of their mainstay products Town Branch Bourbon and Kentucky Ale and Howard’s Creek Beer Cheese which offered a delightful plate featuring their product with a side of vegetables and crackers. If guests were the least bit hungry when they arrived they sure weren’t once dinner was served!
A wonderful meal was prepared by Angie and Matt Falcone’s Bayou Bluegrass Catering. Bayou Bluegrass is the official caterer at The Red Mile and each year improve on the previous year with their extraordinary menu. As dinner and dessert plates were removed from the tables, guests enjoyed a refreshment table featuring fresh warm beignets that had everyone asking for a to-go bag!
Once guests were seated, President Scott Mallory read from the KTFMC By-Laws, the criteria used for selecting the Farm Manager of the Year, which include quality and success of management, service to the community, involvement in the club, industry leadership and dedication. Following the reading of the qualification, Scott introduced Walter Hillenmeyer, a long-time friend of Bill’s who in turn gave a wonderfully spoken resume of Bill Wofford’s involvement with horses from the time he was a young boy to who he has become today, Owner and Operator of Rimroc Farm. A hard worker, a dedicated family man, an active volunteer in many facets, an honest man yet someone who can laugh and have a good time. Bill was then welcomed with a standing ovation as the 49thKTFMC Farm Manager of the Year.
As Bill made his way to the podium, the crowd quickly shuffled masks to their faces. Why masks you ask? When Bill looked up from his acceptance speech notes and as he was about to address the crowd instead of seeing familiar faces, he was met instead by a room full of gorilla masks…(and some gorilla noises)! As many of you may know Bill is a BIG practical jokester and often jumps out of hiding places in his famed gorilla suit. For once, the joke was on Bill!Beth Wofford kindly supplied Bill’s resume for featured stories and a biography for the KTFMC newsletter and at the bottom under activities, one of the entries was “Scaring People in My Gorilla Suit!”
Once Bill concluded his remarks which included thanking the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manger’s Club, many friends, colleagues, his staff, family and his “better half” Beth, the crowd broke from their dining tables and headed to the dance floor and to the Country Boy keg! The featured band of the night was Ben Brown’s Spontaneous who carried their tunes late into the night.
All acceptance speeches are special, as each KTFMC Farm Manager of the Year is as deserving as the manager before, but several people throughout the night said Bill’s tearful speech was one of the best they had ever heard. Heartfelt tears and tears of laughter were expressed by all.
To view more pictures from this event go to our Event Photos page.