Sixteen local gentlemen and one handsome canine are putting their best feet (and paws) forward to help the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County care for, and hopefully adopt out, homeless animals. The Shoe Guys gathered at Walking Tree Brewery last Monday evening to get their walking orders as participants in the third annual Wine Women & Shoes event, scheduled for Nov. 9.
This year’s Shoe Guys come from all walks of life but with one thing in common – a love of animals. The pumped-up lineup includes: Ryan Bass, Nick Bruce, John D’Albora IV, Dr. Alan Durkin, Chris Gurney, Bobby Guttridge, Lance Hickman, Michael Legg, Ron McCall III, Frank Mentzer, Michael Natale, Ryan Norvig, Miguel Santiesteban, Chris Sullivan, Ron Torperzer, Don Weston and Tucker the dog.
“Events like Wine Women & Shoes help to support services for the animals at the Humane Society and out in the community – funding adoption services, cruelty prevention, disaster relief and helping the animals who are in need, especially in underserved communities,” said Janet Winikoff, director of education.
“This is really about our cause, the community and competition,” said Michael Mandel, executive director. “In terms of our cause, we’re the main shelter of Indian River County. We’re the only open-admission shelter, which means we take in all animals regardless of how they come to us. Every dollar you raise as Shoe Guys goes to these animals. We have animals from all over the world. We even have animals from Puerto Rico and South Korea in the shelter right now.”
Challenging the men to de-throne Bobby Guttridge, crowned last year’s top fundraiser, Mandel added, “This is a competition to see who becomes our King of Sole. What I want to know is who is going to de-throne the King?”
Guttridge, who earned the 2016 title by raking in roughly $5,000 through ticket sales, sponsorships and donations, shared, “It was a lot of fun and it supports the Humane Society, which is our ‘pet’ cause. You’ve got a great cause and you’ve got a great event. It’s fun for the guys and the women have a blast being served by men at their beck and call; all in the name of giving to charity.”
Shoe Guys will also compete this year with a special four-legged Shoe Guy, Tucker. The gorgeous mixed-breed canine was recently adopted from the Humane Society but has graciously agreed to throw his paws onto the runway in exchange for belly rubs and dog biscuits. He unabashedly worked the crowd during the Shoe Guy Reveal, garnering votes with the mere wag of his tail.
To accommodate an anticipated 400 women at this year’s event, Jennifer Downes, assistant development director, said the venue has been moved to Sunjet Aviation. In addition to the Shoe Guys, the event will feature wine tastings from nine vendors, a Tito’s bar, savory bites, boutique shopping, a Best-In-Shoe competition, Glass Slipper auction, wine wall, Key to the Closet drawing, raffles and a fashion show featuring Seahorse Lane Boutique, Maldetti Toscani and Sara Campbell.
For more information, visit hsvb.org or winewomenandshoes.com/event/verobeach.