Shalynn and Randilynne Etchart, of Sonoita, took first place in the Derby Hat Contest at Derby Day. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Although the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2021 Sonoita Races, the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Assn. (SCCFRA) Board hosted a day of community activities to celebrate the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1. 

The event kicked off in the morning with four teams entered in a softball tournament, organized by Ashley Mathews and Megan Thomas, which was won by The Sonoita Sluggers. 142 teams participated in the team roping event, put on by MB Productions. 

Faith Keith and her chicken ‘Roni’ entered the Derby Hat contest. Faith, a member of the Mustangs 4-H Club, also worked at the 4-H rummage sale, saddle walk and chicken poop bingo fundraising events at Derby Day. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

The 4-H held a successful fundraiser with a rummage sale; a saddle walk, a form of musical chairs with five saddles offered as prizes; a silent auction; and chicken poop bingo, where players bought squares on a board, the winner being the one whose square was graced with a deposit by Romi the chicken, who also was entered in the Derby Hat contest accompanied by her owner Faith Keith. The Derby Hat contest, sponsored by Michelle Cole, of Pretty Situation, was won by Shalynn and Randilynne Etchart. 

SCCFRA Board President Harry Dotson presents Diane Collins with a plaque dedicating the newly renovated kitchen at the Fairgrounds to her.  Photo by Marion Vendituoli

The newly renovated Pioneer Hall kitchen was dedicated at the event to Diane Collins, who has been a long supporter and volunteer of the Sonoita Fairgrounds. Barbecue prepared by the Elgin Club, mint juleps and live music by John E. Mann and Garry Rust, sponsored by Dave and Dorene Daiss, continued the festivities well into the evening.