The Tampa Old Boys Association recently held their second annual session at the Tampa Letter Carriers’ Hall.
The event was well supported by both the Tampa community and by KC old boys and their families, including a sizable contingent from South Florida. Indeed old boys from as far north as New York were in attendance along with others from places including, but not limited to, Atlanta, Jacksonville and nearby Orlando.
“We started to organize early last year,” said Mike Hoyes. “Jeff [Hoyes], the pioneer of our group and our unofficial leader, got a call from Audley Hewitt of the Florida Chapter who encouraged us to stage an event. Jeff spoke to the other guys and we had a series of meetings which resulted in us finding a venue and we polled together to fund the event.” Other members of the Tampa committtee include, Greg Phillips, Roland Satchell, Delroy Rookwood, Richie Lawrence, Ricardo Belnavis, among others.
The 2009 inaugural event paved the way for the success of this year’s event. “We didn’t make a lot of money from the 2009 event but it gave us a start and we built on it this year through early ticket sales and planning.” said Mike Hoyes. The music was first-rate with South Florida standout deejay, Mark Swaby, rocking the crowd with a seemingly endless repertoire of great music, and guests enjoyed delicious yard food served buffet style.
Hoyes’ account of how the Tampa group got started is strikingly similar to how the Florida Chapter’s Big Purple Session got started in 1998, when Churchill Neita, Bruce Rickards, Straton Palmer and a few others from Jamaica came to South Florida and encouraged the KC old boys to start some fundraising. The rest, as they say, is history: the Big Purple Session is now the flagship fundraising event for KC.
“Our wives in particular, and our families in general, played an integral part in the event’s planning and we are deeply grateful for their support. We are also thankful for the support of the KC old Boys and their families and friends without whom the event could not have been the success it was, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year,” says Mike Hoyes.
The Tampa group’s exemplary efforts in organizing, planning and staging a successful fundraiser is commendable and it again underscores just how much a small but committed group of individuals can accomplish. In order to continue the support of our beloved alma mater, KC old boys in other cities/regions are strongly encouraged to emulate Tampa’s fundraising efforts, whether via a session or other venture.
Next year’s event will again be held on the third Saturday in March.