Ladyboy water-volleyball tourney raises 750,000 baht for charity


Pattaya’s famous ladyboy water volleyball competition is unique not just to Thailand but also worldwide and the 4th edition of this annual event, held on Saturday November 7 at the Areca Lodge, was yet another fun-packed day and spectacularly successful charity fundraiser.

A brief spell of rain on the morning of the tournament cleared the air around the pool deck and the teams started battling it out in the water from 1 p.m. through till 5 p.m.

This year 5 teams took part, the roster consisting of the Purple People Eaters from King’s Bar in Pattaya, the Blue Dolphins sponsored by TJ’s Bar in Naklua, the Red Dragons, Check-In Bar from Bangkok, and the Yellow Canaries of the Cockatoo Bar, also from Bangkok.  All the teams were recognizable by their colour-coordinated bikinis.

The Blue Dolphins receive their winners’ trophy and prizes.

In the words of the event organizers, the purpose of the tournament is to provide an entertaining and unique fundraiser for charity, to portray ladyboys in a positive and respectful manner, to promote the participating venues and sponsors, and to make a fun day out for all.

The event, as always, was a sellout and everybody enjoyed the food and drink whilst watching the teams go through each qualifying round.

The aim this year was to try and raise 250,000 baht for each of the 3 main beneficiaries, namely the Pattaya Orphanage founded by the late Fr. Ray Brennan in 1972; Baan Gerda in Lop Buri, for children with HIV; and the Bamboo School in Kanchanaburi, caring for orphans near the Myanmar/Thai border.

Rodney Charman, President of Rotary Club Eastern Seaboard (left) presents a check for 250,000 baht to Catherine Ruth Riley-Bryan of the Bamboo School in Kanchanaburi.

The Blue Dolphins emerged as the eventual champions of this year’s fiercely fought competition amid squeals of delight from the players and robust applause from an international audience.  King’s Bar came in second and the winning cheer squad was from the Check-In Bar, featuring conga drums, bullhorns, and a line-up of nine performers.

Children from the Pattaya Orphanage sing ‘Thank you very much’ from the film Scrooge.

The event closed with an evening gala where all teams were awarded gifts and cash prizes while cashiers’ checks were presented to the three orphanages by the event’s two top sponsors, Gordon Niven, representing NB Surveys of Bangkok, a company providing laser technology services to the oil and gas industry, and Rodney Charman, current President of Rotary Club Eastern Seaboard.

Entertainment was provided by children from the Pattaya Orphanage, singing “You Raise Me Up” and a choreographed rendition of ‘Thank you very much” from the film Scrooge.

Purple People Eaters serve during one of the knock-out games.

All team members, now dressed in evening wear instead of bikinis, were presented gift packs and prizes by ladyboy celebrity Miss Mimosa.

The evening gala also featured a Thai and international buffet, a raffle and auction, the latter adding to the sum donated to the orphanages.  Festival organizers reported that the only funds diverted from the beneficiaries went to pay for hotel services and facilities, printing and prize money.  The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers and thus holds its overhead to less than 15%.

The pool area at Areca Lodge was transformed into a sea of colour for the event.

The 750,000 baht raised at the event brought to nearly 3 million baht the total donated to Thai charities since the contest’s founding in 2012.

Other sponsors included USVPN a virtual private network provider, BkkFunCard, and Asia4Fun, with raffle prizes donated by local restaurants, Beefeater, Yamato and Sportsman.

The cheerleading contest was as fiercely fought as the battle in the pool.