In what has become a 2-day star studded event, the forces of generosity were in full play at this spring’s successful Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown with guests raising more than $825,000 for local charities along the Gulf Coast — a significant 56 percent increase over last year’s funds raised.
Seven years ago, the Thompsons, avid wine aficionados and residents of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort along the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida, began organizing and hosting the event as a party for friends. In the last three years, they have turned their party into a fundraiser. To date, the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown has raised over $1.6 million dollars, and more importantly, 100 percent of the proceeds benefited local charities.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the generosity of our friends, and how their support has enabled the Throwdown to grow into such an important event,” said the Thompsons. “The monies each of our selected charities have been able to receive over the years have enabled their organizations to add significant services and support to their day to day operations.”
The now well-known event featured a golf tournament at Emerald Bay Golf Club, a Sip ‘n Shop ladies’ tour along the Scenic 30-A Corridor, Krewe & Brew at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, and an impressive finalé at a backyard barbeque with fine wine vintners, celebrities and guests at the home of CCMT founders, Mike and Valerie Thompson.
A highlight of this year’s event was the announcement of the 2013 Perpetual Trophy winning team who prepared the best barbeque. Five teams were judged by an esteemed panel consisting of John Currence, chef/owner of the City Grocery Restaurant Group; Susan Kenward, food/lifestyle writer and wife of winemaker Tor Kenward; and Jim Richard, chef/owner of Stinky’s Fish Camp and Blue Mountain Catering Co.
This year, the ‘Larry & The Darryls’ team earned the coveted perpetual trophy for best barbeque. Emeril Lagasse’s team, ‘The Herbert Brothers’, earned all three of this year’s People’s Choice awards. ‘Larry & the Darryls’ team consisted of David Long of David Arthur Vineyards; Juan Mercado of Realm Cellars; Tor Kenward, owner of Tor Kenward Family Wines; and Dean Gray of Riverain Winery.
Celebrities on hand during the event were celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse; 24-year baseball veteran Rusty Staub; Jonathan Cain, musician, songwriter and longtime member of the rock band Journey; and Rich Aurilia, 15-year baseball veteran.
An impressive array of live auction lots were auctioned by nationally known auctioneer, Ursula Hermacinski. A sampling of the many sought after items included a 100 point fine wine dinner that raised $112,500 with acclaimed Bordeaux paired with a meal prepared by the chefs of Wine World; a recording session visit with Journey musician Johnathan Cain; a trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley hosted by San Francisco Giant hall of famer, Rich Aurilia; an evening with Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman; and a trip to the Russian River Valley with world famous Westside Road winemakers.
Benefiting charities were Alaqua Animal Refuge, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought Outreach, George Rodrigue Foundation, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Camille’s Art For Autism and Emeril Lagasse Foundation. 100 percent of the proceeds went directly to the non-profit organizations. For further information, visit www.chichimiguelthrowdown.com, or find CCMT on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ChiChiMiguelThrowdown.