KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Local 8 News Reporter Sarah Jane Cobb put on her dancing shoes Saturday night for Horse Haven of Tennessee's annual fundraiser, Dancing for the Horses.
This year, she's raising money for the organization and trying to help adopt out one of its horses, Hawk. Sarah Jane and her partner, a professional dancer from Go Dance, began choreographing their routine in preparation for the May 19 event. Dancing for the Horses benefits Tennessee's only non-profit equine rescue.
Sarah Jane scored 25 out of 30 for her dance at Bridgewater Place. She scored third place for her fundraising efforts to benefit Horse Haven of Tennessee. She raised nearly $3,000. WVLT News Anchor Amanda Hara served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.
The event in total raised $85,000. Brad Pruitt of Capital Investment Parnters won the Isaac Award for highest fundraising; Pruitt's efforts brought in $7,673.
Sarah Jane and her fellow dancers are each working to adopt out a Horse Haven horse. Sarah Jane is spreading "Hawk's" message, hoping to help him find his forever home.
Hawk came with another horse named "Pi" from Monroe County. Hillary Raubach at Horse Haven said the two find comfort in one another as they rehabilitate.
"Although they weren't born from the same mother mare, they are brothers in life and they are going through rehabilitation at Horse Haven together," said Raubach. "We see that they feel safe when they're together and that only helps benefit the healing process."
Hawk's owners were cited for animal neglect and surrendered him. He was severely emaciated, and Horse Haven now is working with Hawk to help him regain weight and his health. Volunteers describe him as gentle, kind and patient.
Six other local celebrities and members of the community will compete with professional dancers alongside Sarah Jane. Raubach said the horses to feature came along with the personalities of their paired celebrity.
"Each of those dancers are paired also with an adoptable horse at Horse Haven. These horses were chosen by their story and by their personalities. We had incredible people step up as celebrity dancers. What we knew about them, we matched up with the horses we had here," said Raubach.
Sarah Jane raised $260 at her first fundraising event Saturday, April 21. Her very first employer, Frankie Turner of Chick-Fil-A in Alcoa, allowed her to go around the store refilling beverages, taking trash for customers and asking for tips. Folks in the drive thru also donated to the cause.
Wednesday, May 1, Sarah Jane held another fundraising event, "A Night at Mooyah." The restaurant across from West Town Mall donated 20% of the night's proceeds to Sarah Jane's campaign.
May 9, Bearden Beer Market held a pint night for Sarah Jane's efforts. One dollar of every pint sold went to her campaign.
Sarah Jane's sister, Elizabeth Anderson, agreed to do spray tans before the Dancing for the Horses event. Thursday, May 17, proceeds fro spray tans at Clementine Salon in Rocky Hill went towards Horse Haven of Tennessee.