Rock For Paws 2022
by James Coulter
For the third consecutive year, Rock For Paws allowed people to rock their socks off–or rather, rock their paws off–during its annual musical fundraiser.
More than a hundred people gathered together at Nora Mayo Hall in Winter Haven to listen and dance along to live music performed by Smokepoint, playing tunes from classics like Van Halen and Motley Crue to modern hits like Jonas Brothers and Maroon 5. All the while, they could eat delicious barbecue, enjoy cocktails and other drinks, and place bids on prizes such as a signed electric guitar and amp package.
Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser benefited SPCA Florida’s Emergency Response Team, the Florida State Animal Response Coalition (FL SARC). They are a rescue team of trained volunteers who respond to natural and man-made disasters. Currently, they have deployed teams in Florida and New Mexico, and this year, they hope to train 450 additional volunteers, explained Shelley Thayer, Executive Director for SPCA Florida.
Thayer appreciates how the Rock for Paws event and its organizers, including the band, Smokepoint, has raised so manyfunds and awareness for SPCA Florida: “They have been instrumental. They have been behind us for the last two years helping us raise funds…so we are happy to be here tonight with them, they are incredible.”
The fundraiser was initially inspired by Smokepoint, who had approached SPCA Florida about the proposal. As the band had a large following, with nearly 3,000 followers on Facebook, the band seemed like the ideal act for such a fundraiser, explained Rhanda Richter, SPCA Florida Media Relations, at last year’s event.
“They have done everything at their own expense,” Thayer said. “I have never seen a better group of individuals come together for a greater cause…[I love seeing] seeing everybody coming together to help animals. That is the best thing. It does not matter if it was animals in our backyard or throughout the state, this is what this group is about, it is rescuing them [animals] and keeping them safe and giving them the medical care and love that they need…They have led the success we have had so far. I hope everybody will join us next year, and it is a great band with great sound that provides great sound and there is no more fun for raising animals that need it the most.”