NICHOLS, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The community is continuing to show their unwavering support for the horseman families of Tioga Downs Casino Resort with another upcoming fundraiser.
The Nichols Fire Department has partnered with Nichols Township officials to host a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle to benefit the families and individuals who lost their livelihoods in the Tioga Downs barn fire. The event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on December 3 at the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department located at 106 West River Road.
The entry fee is a free will donation. All proceeds will go directly to the horseman families.
In the early morning hours of November 9, a massive barn fire was reported at Tioga Downs. New York State Police announced later that afternoon that a preliminary investigation revealed the fire was an act of arson. 32-year-old Boyd Fenton of Athens, PA was arrested shortly after. Police say he entered the barn at the casino complex and intentionally set the fire, resulting in the death of the horses and causing thousands of dollars in damages. He is facing several felony charges. The investigation is ongoing.
Several community members have banded together to support the horsemen. A GoFundMe has raised $184,191 so far, thanks to generous donations from the public as well as several local businesses and horse farms. There is another fundraiser planned for December 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1116 Chambers Road in Horseheads. The event will be a holiday photo shoot alongside donkeys to raise money for the Horsemen of Tioga Downs. Food will be provided by My Eva Authentic Mexican Food, along with several other local vendors.
Tioga Downs held a private burial for the horses following their passing. With approval from authorities, the horses were laid to rest together, adjacent to the barn where the incident happened.
Tioga Downs says that the racetrack is working on establishing a dedicated memorial to stand as a lasting tribute to the horses.