Long Reach Long Riders Raise $12,000 for Behind the Scenes at USITT Raffle

by Jacob Coakley

Bill Sapsis of Sapsis Rigging with the winners of the Behind the Scenes raffleThe Long Reach Long Riders raffle and live auction at the recent USITT trade show raised more than $12,000 for the charity. Bill Sapsis, clad in motorcycle gear, led the proceedings and guided the 11 winners to their prizes. Gabe Bristow was the grand prize winner and walked away with a copy of Vectorworks Spotlight with Renderworks. Before the raffle took place Behind the Scenes took time to thank Vincent Lighting Systems, who were gratefully recognized for reaching $10,000 in donations through their long-term Workplace Giving Campaign, and students representing the USITT Chapter at Penn State University, who made their annual check presentation of proceeds from their ongoing fundraising activities.

The LRLR Raise Funds for Behind the Scenes at USITT Raffle

April 1, 2014, New York, NY – The Long Reach Long Riders celebrated their 11th ride with a raffle and live auction to benefit Behind the Scenes during the USITT Conference in Fort Worth last week. Sales of raffle tickets, some key donations, and BTS and LRLR-branded swag raised just over $12,000 for the charity.

Two very important groups were honored just prior to the raffle. Paul Vincent, Kim Craigie and Walt Weber accepted a certificate on behalf of the employees of Vincent Lighting Systems who were gratefully recognized for reaching $10,000 in donations through their long-term Workplace Giving Campaign. Dana Taylor and the Short Reach Short Riders of Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, IN, who also reached $10,000 with their annual tricycle ride, received a citation reading, “With an abundance of creativity and fun, you have shown the industry that small, persistent efforts can have monumental results.” Master of Ceremonies Bill Sapsis honored the Short Reach Short Riders by leading the traditional kazoo parade on a tricycle.

Students representing the USITT Chapter at Penn State University made their annual check presentation of proceeds from their ongoing fundraising activities and significant contributions were received from Bill Sapsis, Rick and Patty Rudolph, and Tracey Cosgrove and Mark McKinney. After a frenzied bidding war, Steve Terry was the winner of two tickets to Matilda on Broadway donated by Local One IATSE, and a number of lucky individuals won the bidding for handcrafted items donated by Shan and Trish Ayers.

The winners and their prizes are:
Gabe Bristow - Grand Prize, Vectorworks Spotlight with Renderworks
Paul Graham – BTS Apollo Wrench and 10 Little Focus Wrenches
Jim Davis – Technician’s Tool Kit from Barbizon
Mike Wood - $250 Visa Gift Card from Daktronics
Chris Collins – 5 Theatre Titles from Focal Press
Daniel Del Busto – GoPro from InterAmerica Stage
Josh Wroblewski – 50 Sheets of Gel from Lee Filters
Sheryl Sturges – Vermont’s Finest Smokehouse Combo from Production Advantage
Joe Aldridge - $250 Gift Certificate at Sapsis Rigging
Jimmy Byrd – USITT 2015 Full Conference Registration
Diana Raymond – ETC Source Four Mini from Vincent Lighting Systems

Bill highlighted the companies who have signed up for the Behind the Scenes Pledge a Product Program which allows a company’s employees and customers to participate in supporting the charity. Rosco made their annual presentation of the proceeds from the sales of Roscolux #359 Medium Violet while Electronic Theatre Controls presented a check from the downloads of the iRFR and aRFR smart phone app.

Special thanks go to USITT for making our presence at the show possible; to Moe Conn, Kim Craigie, Tobin Neis, Sherri Sternke, and Bill Sapsis, for their invaluable help; to the donors of our fabulous prizes; and to all who bought raffle tickets, auction items, and swag.

All proceeds go to The ESTA Foundation's Behind the Scenes program which assists entertainment technology industry professionals or their immediate family members who are ill or injured. For more information about Behind the Scenes, to donate, or to apply for a grant, visit www.estafoundation.org/bts.htm. For more information about the Long Reach Long Riders whose 2014 ride runs July 12-18 and starts and ends in Baltimore, MD visit www.lrlr.org.