New York, Finals, 2012, May 10
On Thursday, May 10 the first ever Speed Rack National Tour came to an end with a bang at the Speed Rack Finals, held at the historic Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan. The winners from each of the ten cities were joined by the six wild card winners chosen online in an all-out battle to determine who would be crowned Miss Speed Rack USA.
The excitement for the Speed Rack Finals was palpable in the days and weeks leading up to the event, mainly due to our hardworking PR dream team of Francine Cohen and Vanessa Polk. In addition to manycprint and digital press mentions, the founders of Speed Rack were featured on Damon Boelte’s Speakeasy show on Heritage Radio Network (you can listen to it here: http://s3.amazonawscom/hrn/audios/2577/05_09_12_The_Speakeasy.mp3?133659...)
The event could not have been pulled off without the help of the local USBG and LUPEC chapters and our talented team of barbacks from around the country. USBG NY president and vice president Jason Littrell and Marshall Altier led the USBG team in the back-of-house whileDom Venegas headed up the all-star barback team that included Toby Maloney, Michael Neff, Steve Schneider, Dev Johnston, Daniel de Oliveira, Rocky Yeh, Don Lee and Sergio Serna, among others, who helped keep the girls moving as speedily as possible. We were excited to have past competitors, local partners and judges in the audience to cheer the girls on, including Tony Abou-Ganim, Charlotte Voisey, Amanda Boccato, Lainey Cullum, Michelle Baldwin, Misty Kalkofen, Joy Richard and many others.
The prelims began in front of a small crowd of VIPs and friends at 4:30 and doors opened to the public at 5pm. The house was soon packed and guests were treated to sponsors’ punches and cocktails, as well as beer and snacks from Viktor & Spoils, Pies ‘n Thighs, Clover Club and Steve’s Ice Cream. Hosts Chris Patino and Simon Ford kept the show running while donning eye-catching white suits with pink accents. DJ Ryan Fitzgerald had the house rocking in between rounds and kept the energy high by spinning fun songs for each bout. Hollis Bulleit manned a raffle table offering prizes like gift certificates to local bars and restaurants, gift baskets and the like.
In front of a full house of almost 500 people the competition began. Judges included industry legend King Cocktail Dale Degroff, Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Lani Kai, Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club and chef Amanda Freitag. The round began with the judges each calling out a drink for the girls to make. The contestants had to make the drinks as quickly – and as accurately – as possible. The judges then compared the girls’ drinks side by side and issued penalty seconds to the girls for any mistakes made. The girl with the lowest time was declared the winner and moved on to the next round. 6 heated battles ensued, until we were down to the final two: Yael Vengroff vs. Alba Huerta. In a thrilling and inspiring final round, Yael emerged victorious and was crowned Miss Speed Rack USA. She will enjoy a trip to France courtesy of
Over $7,000 was raised at the finals helping Speed Rack nearly $70,000 for breast cancer research, education and prevention in just 9 short months!