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Cops play cowboys in the SCV

Fundraiser: VFW Post 6885 plays host to riding, roping and raising funds

Posted: July 28, 2010 6:58 p.m.
Updated: July 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Mini Cooper, a miniature horse, and Kristin Tesiny give a cart ride to Guilianna Meltzer, Lauren Feder and Sarah Greenlee at the 2010 Cops and Cowboys event held at the VFW Post on Sierra Highway in Canyon Country.

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It was a boot-scootin’ evening full of line dancing, barbecue and hay bale steer roping when the Mid-Valley Community Police Council held its 13th annual Cops and Cowboys fundraiser at the rustic VFW Post 6885 in Canyon Country. 

The auction/dinner/dance serves as a major fundraiser for the council, whose mission is to support the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Community police station through donations of equipment and services.

In the spirit of generosity that makes the Santa Clarita Valley so special, the VFW offered up its lodge and Western saloon to help out the LAPD officers — who arrived with their families, friends and MVCPC members at the rustic outpost on Sierra Highway to enjoy the cowboy country ambiance on a hot and steamy Saturday night.

“The event this year drew more than 300 attendees, all of whom showed their support for the Mid-Valley Community Police Council with great enthusiasm and country-Western style,” said Jean Sinatra, vice president of Community Outreach, who organized the event with Prudence Maraia, president of the MVCPC.

In addition to Capt. Bill Eaton, the LAPD’s commanding officer for Van Nuys, others in attendance from the valley divisions included Alan Skobin, president of the Police Commission, Hank Hernandez, general counsel of the Police Protective League, and Terry Anderson, president of the Valley Glen Neighborhood Council.

As the sun set, the evening really got under way when the Susan Rey band started a set of classic country tunes as guests gathered around tables groaning with baskets of silent auction items.

Meanwhile, Sinatra ran around supervising teams of volunteers and making sure everything was going well. In fact, the evening went so well the event netted more than $20,000 to be allocated for specific improvements to the Van Nuys area station. 

“The proceeds will go towards much needed equipment, training and services needed for crime prevention throughout the Mid-Valley communities,” Sinatra said.

Last year, she said the MVPCP raised money for office equipment including computers and printers as well as shotgun flashlights for the officers in the field.

Horsin’ around
In the true spirit of what keeps Canyon Country real cowboy country, the locals got into the spirit of the event with real hometown hospitality.

SCV locals Ray and Tina House brought out their horses, Durango and Spirit, so kids could go riding.

With Kristin Tesiny at the reins, Sarah Greenlee, Guilianna Meltzer and Lauren Feder took a ride up Baker Canyon in a small cart pulled by Mini Cooper, an adorable miniature horse who lives across the road from the VFW.
“This is really fun,” the girls giggled.

Also attracting plenty of attention was Roping Cowboy Carter, who brought his lariats and hay bale steers to teach the kids a bunch of cool rope tricks. 

Eaton and his son Matthew, 6, also enjoyed trying their hand at roping the steer horns — despite using a rope 10 times bigger than the child.

“This is a very popular event, it sold out early,” Eaton said. “This is the second year I have attended, and we will continue to support it.”

Also trying out the roping were Scott and Christy Swetnam from Van Nuys with their two children, Scott Jr., 4, and Shelby, 1-1/2.

“We love it, we met a lot of nice people, we were invited by friends and hope to attend next year,” Christy Swetnam said.
“We also met officers who patrol in our neighborhood.”

Barbecue and baseball
As the darkness settled and the coyotes howled in the hills, folks enjoyed delicious Western barbecue from Lancers Steak House in Simi Valley — including steaming platters of barbecue tri-tip, chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and bowls of peanut coleslaw.

When everyone was too full to move, Ken Gerston of the MVCPC stepped up the stage for the live auction. Items offered included lunch with Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, lunch with Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese and Dodger VIP dugout tickets for four (donated by Proskauer, Rose LLP).

One of the most popular items was a one-hour LAPD air-support helicopter ride with Capt. Bill Eaton, which sold for $1,000 to June and Graham Wilson, of Oxnard.

“I am certainly glad about that,” Graham Wilson said when his credit card was approved for the sale. “This is a terrific event.”

Howard and Jill Alpert, of Woodland Hills, bought the private plane trip to Santa Barbara for $1,000. They were attending the event for the second time and plan to return next year.

The Alperts were guests of Pete Satuloff, the treasurer of the MVPCP, and his wife, Mary. Jill Alpert is Pete’s sister and both couples were enjoying the country ambiance.

“The turnout is at least double of past years,” Mary Satuloff said. “Prudence and Jean did an outstanding job on this event.”

Asked if they would return next year, Sinatra was enthusiastic but said it was too soon to make a decision, although everyone seemed to love the venue.

“We specifically sought a location that would be convenient for officers to attend based on their residential demographic in spite of the fact they serve constituents in the Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks and Valley Glen Areas,” she said. “We were delighted to ‘spotlight’ and support a VFW Post as there are many officers who are veterans themselves.”

But she said there was no question that everyone loved the location and true spirit of the West.

“(Our hosts at the VFW) were professional, accommodating and friendly,” Sinatra said. “The space proved to be ideal, and the locals stepped up with pride and made this environment incredibly family oriented — we are grateful for their support as well, especially Bobby, Coach and John.”

Event sponsors
Sponsors for the event included All Valley Washer; Liner Grode Stein; Millbank Tweed Hadley and McCloy; Power Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge and Ford; Power Honda and Chevy, Valencia; Rotary Club of Van Nuys; Sherman Oaks Galleria/AMPCO; Universal Protection Services and Westfield Fashion Square.

The Mid-Valley Community Police Council is a nonprofit 501©3 organization dedicated to supporting the men and women of the LAPD, Van Nuys Area Station for more than 30 years. For additional information, contact Jean Sinatra, V.P., Community Outreach (818) 982-1960 or or online at


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