White Rock Lake is home to many species of birds and plants, but most of its animals aren’t much more exotic than rabbits, squirrels or panting dogs trotting alongside their owners.
So what does our lake have to do with rhinos?
At least on one day this month, plenty. On Wednesday, June 4, the Corinthian Sailing Club (CSC) will host Sailing for Rhinos, an event that just may be the first of its kind, to raise money for endangered African rhinos.
The event, which will include boat races and a silent auction, is the brainchild of Lakewood resident De McCombs.
A CSC board member and deputy director for zoo operations at the Dallas Zoo, she came up with the idea as a way to combine her sailing hobby with her career to help the cause.
McCombs presented her idea to fellow CSC members, who offered to help.
“CSC is involved in many charitable events,” she says. “They also have races for Special Olympics and other things, so I thought they might be interested in something like this.”
The party will include a variety of activities, with the highlight being boat races between CSC members. The sailing club will race at least 20 boats, each of which will have a zoo keeper from the Dallas Zoo on board.
“The races will generally just be fun races and non-competitive,” McCombs says. “If anyone out there wants to bring their own boat, they can.”
Money will be raised through a $5 entrance donation and the auction.
“We’ll have a variety of things for sale,” she says. “We’ll have zoo or animal-type things, with paintings or drawings of animals. But we’ll also have restaurant giveaways, sailing things, and we’re going to auction 99 bottles of beer, for fun, since it’s a sailing song.”
All of the proceeds will be combined with donations for Bowling for Rhinos, a national fundraiser held by the American Association of Zoo Keepers to help rhino conservation areas in Kenya and Indonesia.
The donations are used to build and maintain facilities, as well as pay for round-the-clock guards to protect the animals against poachers. It’s a necessary protection against the extinction of rhinos, McCombs says, whose numbers are estimated to have fallen from 100,000 to 10,000 in the last 10 years.
Since Sailing for Rhinos is a new event, McCombs says she really doesn’t know how much money it will raise. But Lake Highlands resident Chuck Siegel, Dallas Zoo’s deputy director for animal management, says any amount will help.
“Anything we can raise is exceptionally important because of the cause that it’s going to,” he says. “The animals are just in such danger. In some countries, they’ve been knocked down to just a handful. There are so few in some places that individual rhinos have their own armed guard.”
McCombs invites all interested residents to attend the event.
“It’ll be a fun party,” she says. “We’ll have food and drinks out there, and people can watch the races and the sunset, too.”
Sailing for Rhinos will be held Wednesday, June 4, from 6-9 p.m. at the CSC Clubhouse, 441 E. Lawther. For information, contact McCombs at 214-670-6826.
Bowling for Rhinos will take place Tuesday, June 24, at Jupiter Bowl, 11336 Jupiter. For information on that event, contact Randi Bolton at 214-682-5264 or go to www.dallaszoo.org.