In tribute to our ladies and as the commencement to an anticipated season of outdoor events, the brethren of Sir Winston Churchill Lodge gathered on June, 21st, 2014 to celebrate the running of the Royal Ascot, a series of horse races attended by the Queen herself. Well, her Majesty really wasn’t here – she was at Ascot, in England. But we had loads of fun nevertheless.
As a formal garden party, the Royal Ascot brings ladies and their gentlemen together in fine style. Whilst the men will be in formal morning suits or tails, the ladies are encouraged to wear a dress appropriate for a summer outdoor wedding.
Where: The event was held at Canterbury Downs, 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN
Attire: Hats are a must: men should wear a top hat, and the ladies a suitable hat or ‘fascinator,’ as is their preference. If no top hat is available, wear a fedora and a big camara, and we’ll give you a “PRESS” card for your hat band. -You can be a papparazo. The examples on this page and on the links below will provide photos of similar British events we wish to exemplify. More details on clothing below. Or, simply Google “Royal Ascot Images” to get ideas.
The race series in 2014 was held in the UK on June 17-21. Our event, on the 21st, coincided with the final day of racing.
Cost will be $50 per person. Both High Tea and Dinner will be provided, as will a simulcast of the races.
Canterbury will arrange for a pre- and post-race tour of the paddock area to meet the jockeys and admire the horses.
Exclusive Access: As you know, the Royal Ascot Downs has three levels of seating. The Royal Box, which we will exemplify, is the most poshly decorated, with security and special lanyards and badges. Hence, for OUR members and guests, we will produce custom lanyards for this, with a box pass, to add to the fun. We’ll offer a prize for the best-coordinated couple, and most outrageous hat/fascinator. Who will be chosen as Prince and Princess of the Western Downs? Enjoy a surprise appearance by the royals and their pals. We expect there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help decorate, etc.
11AM : Volunteers will arrive for setup.
Noon : Arrive early – Members and Guests will enjoy High Tea and a Private Punters Class (Betting Class)
12:45 : First Race. Betting windows will close sharply prior to the bell.
2:00PM : Fashionably late arrival of the Royals, Huzzahs for the Deputy Grand Master, the Potentate, and the start of our contests. A follow-up betting class may be held as needed.
4:00PM : Dinner will be served, an English-style picnic.
5:30 : Anticipated last race.
6:30 : Collect your final winnings, enjoy the afterglow of a great day, and depart.
How to find a Morning Suit: Jason Berger will be your exclusive consultant to ensure you look just right. Some of us are buying from tailor4less.com online, where a hand-made 3-piece suit will set you back $335, including shipping. If you use them, let Tom Jackson know, as we are angling for an additional group discount. Optionally, you can work with Jason on less costly choices like grey “jaguar” striped dark charcoal pants to wear with your black coat, and a tie to match your lady. Borrow a hat from your lodge, or buy one from one of the stores to which Jason will refer you – costume or full-price. Call or write Jason Berger, his phone number is (612) 839-4096.
To RSVP: For next year, send $50 per person to Anthony VanWagner, checks made out to “SWC Lodge 351″, at 2400 West 102nd Street, Suite #223, Bloomington, MN 55431. Or, call Anthony to be billed via PayPal.
Come to the regular monthly Churchill Lodge meeting if you wish to get involved in the arrangements. The event is being planned by Reed and Halley Endersbe. Write to Reed, here, to volunteer on Race Day or call our Secretary, Anthony Van Wagner at (651) 334-3266. We’ll need a half dozen volunteers to coordinate key parts of this event. Call or write Reed, Jason, Anthony or Tom Jackson (612) 801-0708 if you have questions.
If this becomes, as I suspect, an annual event these could be a collectors item for members. Special etched high-ball glasses? A series of punters bets for charity? Special betting cards? Flowers or gifts for the ladies? A prize for the best-coordinated couple, or most outrageous hat/fascinator? A swag bag? Surprise appearance by a royal look-alike? Valets, servers set up as butlers for the day? Hmmm… Staff from the venue could really have some fun with this, if they opt to participate by more than just a simple booking. We expect there will be plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help decorate, etc.
We think this event can grow each year to become a social and charitable highlight of the year. The first year will be essential in setting the right theme and culture.
Long-term we could aim to develop an influential charitable engine out of this event, with groups vying to be Prince and Princess of the Western Downs by the level of money they bring in. We may even re-name our 501(c)3 as the Churchill Trust – Berger’s idea – and adopt another charitable aim. Members of Churchill Lodge will discuss this at our coming meetings.
One brother suggested we develop a series of collectable items for sale to members and the public. These would include those sold by the venue, by us, and jointly. Money to charity, after expenses.
We’re looking into sponsors from key merchants who can help outfit participants in proper clothing, hats for the ladies, and help with promotion.
According to the Ascot website, a typical UK raceday package looks like this:
Converting to our time zone, it will be 9:30AM Central Standard Time, here, at the running of the first race, and the last race of the day could be shown here at 12:30PM, according to the standard UK race times above. Early, but not insurmountable.
We’ll have to determine if we wish to make this a morning event, with early tea, or utilize a delay to bring it into the afternoon.