The Nichols Volunteer Fire Department, officials from the Town of Nichols, and officials from the Village of Nichols are hosting the benefit on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department. Attendees will be treated to a spaghetti dinner and be able to participate in a basket auction. Those who want to donate a basket for the auction should message the fire department on Facebook.
Voluntary donations will be accepted instead of a set admission price. All donations will go to the horsemen families who were affected by the Tioga Downs barn fire.
On the morning of Nov. 9, an arsonist set fire to one of the horse barns at Tioga Downs. All 30 horses inside the barn died, and a horse trainer named Sparky Clarke was injured while trying to save them. The horses were buried together near the backstretch of the track at Tioga Downs on Nov. 12. A memorial listing the names of the horses who died will be installed at a later date.
Those who cannot attend the Dec. 3 benefit and would like to support those impacted by the fire can donate to the GoFundMe that supports the horsemen or the GoFundMe that was created to help with Sparky’s medical bills. So far, the horsemen’s GoFundMe has raised over $185,000, and Sparky’s GoFundMe has raised over $5,000.