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Seabiscuit - PBS Special
Inspirational Children’s book, featuring Seabiscuit’s descendant to debut May 22
--Endorsed by best-selling author Laura Hillenbrand—
The Willits News
Posted: 06/02/2010 11:12:56 AM PDT
Special for The Willits News
Friends, fans and supporters of the legacy of Seabiscuit and Charles S. Howard gathered at Ridgewood Ranch to enjoy a Seabiscuit-themed art exhibition and benefit auction on the anniversary of the first patient admitted to Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in 1928 and the anniversary of the horseracing legend's birth on May 23, 1933.
The evening included artwork depicting the legacy of the American horseracing icon in a variety of styles and media, show tunes of the 30s and 40s by pianist David Lisle and such "Hollywood luminaries" as Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple and John Wayne portrayed by talented community actors. Noted radio host and actor Justin Briggs conducted the lively auction and Black Bart poetry reading at the conclusion of the evening.
Numerous community artists participated in the event showcasing their works for auction and for exhibit.
"We are truly touched by the generous show of support of our community artists and beyond." noted Jacqueline Cooper, executive director of the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation.
The event benefited the Howard Foundation, which is currently raising funds to build a new Frank R. Howard Foundation Wellness Center, as well as the efforts to preserve Ridgewood Ranch led by the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation. The event also honored Laura Hillenbrand, author of the best-seller, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, for her contribution to the community of Willits.
Seabiscuit owner Charles Howard devoted himself to turn a tragic event, the untimely death of his son, into ultimate good by building Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, which has served northern Mendocino County since 1928.
Ridgewood Ranch is the champion's home and final resting place. With 5,000 acres of the original 16,000-acre ranch remaining, many of the historic buildings of the Seabiscuit and Howard era also have been preserved. Most are in urgent need of repair.
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit corporation formed in 2004 to preserve and display the historic and cultural artifacts, landscapes and buildings that constitute the legacy of Seabiscuit, sponsoring special events and programs, including historic walking tours and seasonal docent-led nature walks for the public at Ridgewood Ranch.
"I would like to express a special thank-you to the members of the Rotary Club, among others, who have generously supported us by funding Seabiscuit's Stud Barn restoration in 2004." emphasized Tracy Livingston, president of the nonprofit organization. The restored barn and Howard's craftsman-style home have become an attraction for tourists.
Representatives of Atlas Bronze Casting, artisans Kim Corpany and Stanley Watts, produced a special sculpture of Seabiscuit, "Morning Workout," to be presented to Hillenbrand as a token of appreciation. This bronze sculpture of Seabiscuit with George "The Iceman" Woolf was created from Marcela Howard's favorite photograph of the great horse.
In a statement read on his behalf, Col. Michael Howard U.S.M.C. (Ret.), great-grandson of Charles Howard, honored Hillenbrand, who is currently authoring a second book on the occasion of her birthday as well.
"Not only do we want to honor you on what you have accomplished regarding Seabiscuit, but we also know you have wrapped up your second major work after seven long years," Howard said. "We wish you the very best on this book, and that the editing and publication process will consist of 'fair winds and following seas.'
"Keep that wonderful, indomitable sense of humor of yours. As in Seabiscuit, we know you have once again poured your heart and soul into another worthwhile project. We can't wait to read it."
Authors Bunny McLeod and Roni McFadden, a resident of Willits, conducted a book-signing for their storybook, Josephine: A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings, an account from a little filly's perspective of actual events, portraying the doubts and uncertainties a young orphan must feel as she faces the prospect of going on without the most important individual in her young life: her mother.
The inspirational book, published by The Biscuit Press" in association with American Legend Horse Farm, features "Josephine," the first descendant of Seabiscuit born at the Howard mare barn in over 50 years. Sadly, the young filly was orphaned when she was only four days old. Her story became one of survival and hope.
Underwritten by Mendocino County Farm Supply, the book is illustrated by Sierra Gaston and endorsed by Hillenbrand.
All proceeds from the book are in support two charitable causes: the new Frank R. Howard Foundation's Wellness Center, as well as TRAIL, the therapeutic riding program located at Ridgewood Ranch since 1993.
(Photo by Maureen Moore, Willits News)
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