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'Stepping Out for Breast Cancer': Big Rack Attack moves to Detroit Lakes with fashion show, live music

The Cormorant Sportsman's Club's annual Big Rack Attack fundraiser brings hundreds of women from around the region together to enjoy a "hunting widow's weekend" of fun activities while raising money for the Sportsman's Club and the American Cancer Society, to support breast cancer prevention. This year's event is set for Saturday, Nov. 3. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Since its inception 12 years ago, the Big Rack Attack fundraiser has brought hundreds of women from around the region together to enjoy a "hunting widow's weekend" of activities while raising money for breast cancer research and Sportsman's Club youth activities. This year's event is set for Nov. 3. (Submitted photo)2 / 3
The Fargo-Moorhead area band Silverado will be providing live music for this year's Big Rack Attack fundraiser, which is set to take place Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes. (Submitted photo)3 / 3

What do you get when you put together the Cormorant Lakes Sportsman's Club, a desire to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer prevention, and Minnesota's deer hunting opener? You get something called the Big Rack Attack.

The 12th annual fundraiser hosted by the women of the Cormorant Lakes Sportsman's Club is set to take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 — but it's getting a little bit of a makeover this year, says organizer Tammy Odegaard.

"We've outgrown our location at the Sportsman's Club," said Odegaard, adding that after 11 years of doing the same thing — chartering a bus and traveling between about a half dozen Cormorant-area locations for an evening of live and silent auctions, raffles and socializing, the planning committee also wanted to try something a little different.

"Cindy Cole at the Holiday Inn, who is one of our regular attendees, offered to host the event there this year," she said. "So there won't be a bus trip this year, though we'll still have the live and silent auctions, and the raffles."

One thing that will be new this year, however, is the "Pretty in Pink" Fashion Show, which will feature some unusual models, showcasing some unique, donated fashions.

"We're planning for all the models to be breast cancer survivors," said Odegaard. "The emcee will talk about the survivor, what they're wearing, and the donor."

The fun starts at 3 p.m., and will include games and "many more surprises," she added. A pasta buffet will be served starting at 7:30 p.m., and to top it all off, the band Silverado will be playing live music starting at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $85 per person, with special lodging rates offered to those who would like to stay at the Holiday Inn overnight.

"We have had women come from all over Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin over the years," says Odegaard, noting that the event is intended to be "a great ladies' night out, while all the guys are out hunting."

In fact, that's how the event got started, she added — as a "hunting widows' weekend," or as one attendee dubbed it, "a gathering of does."

"That first year we started with just one bus of 42 ladies," Odegaard said. "Over the years it has grown so much... we've sometimes had as many as seven buses."

The name Big Rack Attack was a humorous reference to the event's dual purpose, she added, noting that half of the proceeds go to support the Sportsman's Club, and the other half goes to the American Cancer Society to help combat breast cancer, which has touched the lives of many of the committee members.

"A lot of cancer survivors, their friends and families come to support us," said Odegaard, adding that the fundraiser's annual donation to ACS has made them "the largest contributor to Becker County's annual Relay for Life," for several years now.

As for the Sportsman's Club, they use the funds raised to support their various youth programs, including their annual kids' ice fishing derby, youth pheasant hunts and fishing trips to northern Minnesota, just to name a few.

"Since we started, we've raised a total of $129,000 to support these causes," Odegaard said.

"Each year we have a different theme," she added, noting that the fashion show made this year's theme, "Stepping Out for Breast Cancer," a natural fit.

"We will also be having a 'Best Shoe' competition" as part of this year's theme, Odegaard said, adding that while it is encouraged to incorporate some type of pink embellishment or color into the shoe, to reflect the theme, it is not required to win.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call Odegaard at 218-849-3403. To reserve a room at the Holiday Inn for the weekend, call 218-847-2121 and mention the "Big Rack Attack" to receive the special rate.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454