Ladyboys make a splash to raise 1.3 million baht for charity

0
694

The only ladyboy water volleyball contest in the world took place on Saturday the 1st of November at the Areca Lodge in central Pattaya.  This is the third consecutive year the event has taken place and despite dark skies and torrential rains, a loyal turnout of fans and enthusiastic players resulted in it being the greatest fundraiser yet.

The whole event is the brainchild of Tony Sales, a man who is keen to show ladyboys (transgenders/transsexuals) in a positive light.  “Every strata of society has good and bad – I am proud of all the teams to demonstrate that many ladyboys care about their society and, given the chance, can positively contribute.  We have given them that opportunity and they excel,” said Tony.

Event organizer Tony Sales (left) presents the winning trophy to the Sensations Bar Team.Event organizer Tony Sales (left) presents the winning trophy to the Sensations Bar Team.

The venue for the event was the large pool nestled at the rear of Areca Lodge on Soi Diana and it provided the ideal location and size for the 350 people who attended.

Tickets were priced at 1,500 baht which included entrance to the event and the buffet in the evening; it ‘sold out’ weeks ago and this demonstrates the outstanding public support for this one-of-a-kind event which has a unique carnival atmosphere.

Father Giovanni Contarin from the Camillian Home (left) gratefully accepts a cheque for 500,000 baht from event organizer Tony Sales.Father Giovanni Contarin from the Camillian Home (left) gratefully accepts a cheque for 500,000 baht from event organizer Tony Sales.

Tony stated that despite the atrocious weather he was delighted with the turnout.  In 2012 he hosted the first event hoping to raise 150,000 baht – the event nearly doubled that amount, then in 2013 it raised 1,000,000 baht shared between 4 charities. Water4Life (Rotary Club Eastern Seaboard), Heartt2000, Life Home Trust Project (Phuket) and Camillian Homes.

115 people sponsored the 8 teams, and 4 corporations made significant contributions – NB Surveys contributed 150,000 for the second year running.

The raffle and auction consisted of dining vouchers from popular Pattaya eateries – Beefeater, Sportsman and Yamato restaurants.  Many other items were donated by individuals and by every participating bar.

Dr. Jureerat (left) receives a cheque for 500,000 baht on behalf of Dr Philippe Suer (Heartt2000) from Tony Sales.Dr. Jureerat (left) receives a cheque for 500,000 baht on behalf of Dr Philippe Suer (Heartt2000) from Tony Sales.

After last year’s event all the teams were invited to visit each of the 4 beneficiaries and every team actively participated in these visits. They could see the actual results of their contribution.  One visit was to deliver 250 gravity-fed water filters to the mangrove swamp area, near Chantanaburi, to provide free potable water to 250 families for up to 5 years.  This year’s beneficiaries are the Camillian Home and Heartt2000, Tony Sales explained: “250,000 baht makes a difference but 500,000 makes a bigger difference.  Camillian is a wonderful place for kids suffering from a variety of disabilities, and we wanted to make a BIG difference.  They are building a new extension and we hope that our contribution can see that realized on schedule.”

TJ’s team relax in the pool before one the qualifying matches.TJ’s team relax in the pool before one the qualifying matches.

Tony continued: “Heartt2000 is run by Doctor Philppe Suer who looks after 2000 patients affected with HIV.  He has my personal respect as a ‘one man’ humanitarian who invests his own time in helping people with HIV.  This illness is not a killer if treated quickly enough – education is the key.”

The sponsors for the 2014 event were the Areca Lodge, NB Surveys, LadyBoysPattaya, OzTrail Leisure Products, USVPN, The Beefeater, Sportsman, Yamato and Pattaya Mail & Pattaya Mail TV.

Cheerleaders get into the spirit of things.Cheerleaders get into the spirit of things.

Aside from the charity angle the focus on the day was to have fun, with teams from 8 bars around Pattaya and Bangkok giving up their time and energy to show their positive contribution to society.  Since May, many of them have been training hard, honing their skills on the beaches around town in an effort to be crowned worldwide ladyboy water volleyball champions.

Last year’s winning team, Sensations, had lost 2 of their key players so TJs, last year’s runners up were keen to take advantage.  There were two ‘dark horses’ (Temptations and Check In Bar), competing from Bangkok, and that left everyone unsure of the outcome.

The Pattaya teams (Baby Boom, Kings Bar, La Bamba, Sensations, Stringfellows and TJs) were all under pressure to secure a home win.

The Areca Lodge sold drinks and food at competitive prices as the ladyboys played game after game and after a while as the rounds became more heated everybody forgot about the rain.

A fashion parade and water volleyball tournament go hand in hand.A fashion parade and water volleyball tournament go hand in hand.

The standard of play has improved vastly over the last few years and the top 5 bars were those that practiced the most – and it showed.

In spite of the torrential rain the matches were all completed on time with one critical point, in a deciding game between TJs and Baby Boom, seeing a challenge with the referees actually referring to video footage to confirm the point and decision.

Sensations take on Baby Boom in the tournament final at Areca Lodge, Saturday, Nov. 1.Sensations take on Baby Boom in the tournament final at Areca Lodge, Saturday, Nov. 1.

In the end it was a black and white finish with Sensations in Black and Baby Boom in white, and yet again Sensations came in first place, earning them the coveted title of 2014 champions.

The hugely enjoyable day raised 1,300,000 baht and after expenses 500,000 baht was donated to the Camillian Home and another 500,000 baht to Heartt2000.

More information about this unique and colorful event can be found online at www.lbwvb.com.