Lafayette, LA (KPLC) - The following is a news release from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette:
Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Celebration organizers recently presented a $200,000 check to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Foundation. The second annual event was held in August to raise RCAF funds for attracting and retaining quality coaches.
This year's fundraising effort grew by 33 percent over last year's inaugural celebration. The 2012 Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Celebration started from a casual conversation among local diehard fans that raised $150,000 in the first year.
"The celebration appeals to a wide range of Ragin' Cajuns fans. Everyone feels included and welcomed to the event," organizer Blaine Barrilleaux said.
"We wanted to increase the number of sponsors and large donors, and we did. At the same time, we recognize that individuals give at varying levels. Collectively through our event, everyone's support becomes one big check."
Sponsorship support increased by 56 percent. This year's event had 78 business sponsors, including four platinum sponsors: Cal Chlor, Quality Companies, Front Porch Social Network, and Parkplace Surgery/Lourdes. Also, Bernhard Mechanical donated a golf cart for a raffle.
The organizers decided to move the event from April to August to increase event attendance. It paid off with more than 1,500 patrons attending the party, an increase of 25 percent over the previous year.
"With the event at the start of fall, it went beyond being a fundraiser," Athletics Director Scott Farmer said. "It added a lot of excitement to kick off a new school year.
"And, while it was at the onset of football season, the organizers did a great job celebrating all of the sports that make up Ragin' Cajuns Athletics."
The gathering at the Cajundome Convention Center included food, entertainment, raffles, and silent and live auctions. It was also an opportunity for fans to interact with the Cajuns' coaches.
"Now, with two successful events under our belt, we've established the start of football season as our mark for the annual celebration and are making plans to raise even more money next year," Barrilleaux said.
Farmer said the total $350,000 raised in the past two years reflects growing community support of the University's athletics programs and its student-athletes.