Saddle Up For An Unbridled Evening

Tammy York Day and Tonya York Dees.

Tammy York Day and Tonya York Dees.

Staff Writer
The Voice-Tribune 

“Get a table – Try not to end up under it.” The provocative slogan is just one of many featured in the ad campaign for the second annual Unbridled Eve Gala, which promises an evening of A-list celebrities, first-class musical performances and a multitude of features all benefiting a great cause.

Held Friday, May 3, inside the Grand Ballroom of the Galt House Hotel, Unbridled Eve is a pre-Derby celebration hosted by sisters Tonya York Dees and Tammy York Day. “(We’ve taken) the great planning committee and sponsors and celebrities and Derby investors that we have involved, and I think it’s just moved to a new level this year, and that’s what we’re really excited about,” Day said.

Following a hugely successful inaugural event, Unbridled Eve will entertain guests with country superstar Luke Bryan, NBC’s “The Voice” finalist Nicholas David and popular local band The Crashers set to perform.

Last year’s notable guests included Warren Moon, Ice-T and Coco, Kate Flannery of “The Office,” Bob Guiney of “The Bachelor” and Phil Hellmuth, winner of the World Series of Poker and World Series of Poker Europe. The list of celebrities attending the 2013 black tie-optional soiree will be finalized closer to April.

“They’re approachable, they mingle, they talk to everyone so everyone is together,” Dees said. “We’ve had more interest this year than we’ve ever had with people that want to attend Derby, come to Derby, help, whatever it is.”

“We have about 30 really great celebrity attendees that we have verbal commitments, so more to follow with that,” Day assured.

The sisters’ annual Derby Prelude parties presented in various cities throughout the U.S. build buzz for the Derby Eve gala. For the fourth consecutive year, the Yorks hosted an event in Los Angeles the Thursday before the Golden Globes to increase awareness of the Derby, along with Unbridled Eve’s main benefiting charity, Blessings in a Backpack. The non-profit provides elementary school children who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year. The organization currently serves nearly 62,000 children in 437 schools in 42 U.S. states and three countries: Canada, Colombia and Haiti.

“It’s such a small amount of money that makes a difference that I think everybody can relate to (Blessings in a Backpack),” Dees said. “It’s $80 for the actual food that goes in the backpack for a year.”

Three secondary beneficiaries of Unbridled Eve will be selected by vote of the event’s executive committee. All four charities will benefit from proceeds of Unbridled Eve, including money raised through the party’s live and silent auction. Premium auction items of the past have included tickets inside the owner’s suite at the Staples Center for an L.A. Lakers game and an exclusive Indianapolis 500 experience. “One of the things the gala’s known for is our great auction items with the live and silent, and we have some fabulous items again this year that we’ve already secured and are in the process of securing,” Day said.

Aside from celebrities, charities, music and top-of-the-line experiences and merchandise up for bid, Unbridled Eve will feature 10 premium specialty bars with fine wines, champagnes, bourbons and custom cocktails sponsored by Southern Wine and Spirits, along with an interactive dance activation from sponsor Humana Vitality. “We’re lucky to work with the sponsors we work with,” York Day said. “We’re just very fortunate because it’s fun when you work with people like that, that are just such quality people and quality companies. It makes it fun.”

“And, we love our in-kind people, too,” York Dees added. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

The first-ever Unbridled Eve garnered a wealth of attention from the media, including national publications such as “The Wall Street Journal” and “The New York Times,” which listed the decor, provided by Millennium Events, and a dress created with real roses by Amy Streeter of Susan’s Florist among the impressive highlights of the evening. The bar’s been set high after just one year, but the Yorks are confident the newest installment of Unbridled Eve will be bigger and better than ever, offering the perfect kick-off to the reason behind Derby season: the most exciting two minutes in sports.

“It’s crazy planning, it’s an insane amount of work always, but this year we have such a fabulous group of people (on the committee),” York Day said of the seemingly smooth effort to plan the second annual Unbridled Eve. “We’ve got the people that we’ve worked with for years, we’ve got new people with new ideas and the planning committee really makes it, so it just makes it all fun. … We’re proud of our city. It’s kind of cool for everybody to come see it and our state.”

Unbridled Eve will be held from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. inside the Grand Ballroom of the Galt House Hotel. Tickets to Unbridled Eve are $500 each; $200 for dance only; sponsored tables are $7,500. For tickets and tables call 502.894.9768 or e-mail For sponsorship information, call 502.548.5094. Visit for more on the gala.

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at, 502.498.2051.