Conejo Valley Days Grand Marshal Contest

Elks' Man Leading in Grand Marshal Contest

Fund Raising: Service clubs' Conejo Valley Days efforts aid many local charities.

By Jana Covell

"Tombstone Tony" Redburn was named the Conejo Valley Days grand marshal late Friday night, although Thousand Oaks charities were in fact the big winners.

"There is no loser in this race because they have all raised money for local charities," Bob Rickards, chairman of the Conejo Valley Days grand marshal race, said Friday.  "Everybody wins."

The other contestants for the honor to lead the parade April 29 were Arnie "Root'n Tooth'n Cowboy"  Rudman and "Lassoin' Lance" Winslow.  Rudman was named deputy grand marshal and Winslow honorary sheriff.  The three titles were based on the amount of money each candidate raised for local charities, with grand marshal raising the most and honorary sheriff raising the least.  A total of $53,000 was raised. 

The race ended Friday night at the Holiday Inn in Newbury Park, where various events ended the month long fund-raising effort.  All the candidates and their sponsors have been busy with a variety of activities to raise money for numerous charities throughout the city.

"We've been working hard to push our candidate over the top," said Vern Ogdon, "Tombstone Tony's campaign manager.   "The Elks haven't sponsored a candidate since 1991."

"All the people behind me have been great," said Redburn, reflecting on his victory.  "It's overwhelming what the Elks do for this community."

The Elks club barbecue wagon has been grilling all over the city raising money for their candidate, a retiree of Packard Bell.   Other activities included a golf tournament at Los Robles Golf Course, a white elephant sale and a horseshoe tourney.  Charities that will benefit from "Tombstone Tony's" campaign are the veterans hospitals, disabled children and local high school scholarship funds.

Redburn, a 36-year resident of Thousand Oaks and a six-year Elk, has enjoyed being involved with Conejo Valley Days in many capacities in the past.

Rudman, a dentist, was sponsored by the Thousand Oaks Kiwanis Club, which hosted an assortment of activities such as a wine auction, a bingo night at Temple Etz Chaim, an Academy Awards night, a comedy night at the Los Robles Inn, a Western dance at Borchard Center and a golf tournament in which players could only use one club and one putter.

A 12-year member of the Kiwanis, Rudman said he enjoyed his first time running for grand marshal.

"I'm glad I did it," he said.   "The campaign was a lot of hard work but the results far outweigh the work.   I know the main purpose of this is the fund raising, but the side benefit is the fun."

Rudman's efforts will benefit Hospice of the Conejo and Casa Pacifica.

"We had a great group working with use - knowing the benefits were for such good causes - included last year's Grand marshal Maria "Sugar Belle" Prescott," he said.

Really getting into the spirit of fund raising, "Lassoin' Lance" decided to raise money by bicycling 1,000 miles from the Oregon-California border to Mexico on penny-a-mile pledges.

Reprinted from the Thousand Oaks Star, April 1995. 

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