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A crowd in search of boot-scootin’ good times moseyed over to the Melody Ballroom for Forward Stride’s fourth annual Cowgirl Ball. Held on October 4, the zany shindig featured rides on Buck the Mechanical Bull and auction prizes like a five-night escape to Puerto Aventuras, a trip to the 2009 Pendleton Round-Up, and a “Buffalo Feast for 20.” Attendees rustled up $90,000 for Forward Stride, which provides access to therapy horses for people with mental and physical disabilities. The Smith family—Shawn (from left), Reed, and Amy—were dressed to go wild in the West on Forward Stride’s big night.

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Yvette Maynard holds on tight to Buck the Mechanical Bull.

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Auctioneer Steven Talbot (left) and emcee Kimberly Moss (far right) share the stage with Cowgirl of the Year honoree Susan Sokol Blosser.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington (RMHC) hosted its annual Hearts & Hands Auction on September 21. Featuring a bevy of hotly contested sports-themed prizes, such as a weekend getaway to Seattle to root for the Seahawks and a Blazer Fan package, the soirée helped raise more than $310,000. The 300 guests also took time out to pay tribute to Jim and Claudine Tanner, the nonprofit’s 2008 Hall of Fame inductees.

Board member Lindsey Taylor (from left), Jennifer Mortensen, Mark Halpern, Joe Caruso, board member Joe Graziano, and Frank Caingcoy hope to cash in their chips after a trip to the blackjack table.

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Phil Fogg Jr., chairman of RMHC’s board of trustees, welcomes guests to the Governor Hotel for the 2008 Hearts & Hands Auction.

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On September 27, Southwest Portland’s Tryon Creek State Park hosted an exclusive preview party for the fourth annual exhibit Natural Cycles: A Celebration of Art in the Forest. The five new sculptures, scattered along the 775-acre park’s Trillium Trail, are intended to create awareness of topics like invasive species and the importance of sustainability. Around 130 people turned out for the arty sneak-peek and chipped in $15,000 for Friends of Tryon Creek State Park’s education and park-restoration programs.

Sharon Hawley, a Friends of Tryon Creek State Park board member, offers up a plate of figs with Rogue Creamery blue cheese and walnuts during Natural Cycles: A Celebration of Art in the Forest.

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2008 Natural Cycles artists Lee Imonen (from left), Vicki Lynn Wilson, Jen Pack, Julie Lindell, and Brennan Conaway raise a glass to celebrate the event’s opening night.

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Nearly 300 backers filled the Governor Hotel for Incight Foundation’s second annual Harvest Gala on October 2. Founded in 2002, the Southwest Portland-based nonprofit empowers those with disabilities by helping them pursue higher education and land jobs. An appearance by US Paralympics champion April Holmes was a highlight of the event, and the inspirational evening tallied a record-breaking $103,000.

Incight founder and chair Vail Horton (left) and his brother Paul Tennant take time to celebrate the fact that, since its inception in 2002, Incight has provided more than $1.2 million in scholarship aid and program support to people with disabilities.

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Partygoers Kathi Yockey and Grove Hunt share a laugh during the Harvest Gala.

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Incight board member John Friess (far right) and event coordinator Beth Horton (center) log a little time with 2008 Paralympics three-time gold medalist April Holmes. A Nike-sponsored athlete, Holmes, who lost her left leg in 2001 in a train accident, founded the April Holmes Foundation to assist those with physical disabilities.

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