(Photo of 2018 Blue Line Ball Committee courtesy of Chris Leeseberg.)
With 826 attendees (almost 200 more than last year!) and over $117,000 profit (blowing the roof off the $56,000 that was raised last year) it’s safe to say that Backing the Blue Line’s 2018 Blue Line Ball was an amazing success!
But the Minnesota law enforcement community must have known it would be an amazing evening. It’s the only way to explain why tickets to attend sold out in just 50 hours.
This year, the Blue Line Ball moved from the St. Paul River Centre to the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. Many of our attendees appreciated not only the privacy of the Hyatt, but also the fact that the hotel was attached to the event. The Hyatt Regency provided our guests with an absolutely stunning evening and we could not have been more pleased.
(Photo courtesy of Heather Haider, Backing the Blue Line Vice President.)
There was much fun to be had at the ball with the silent auction, table raffle, and many games. Prizes were plenty: everything from guns, pampering baskets, coolers filled with goodies, a gun safe, and even a cruise! A huge thank you to the many Explorers who helped to run our games and took on many other tasks as well. We heard so many compliments from attendees about their professionalism and willingness to help.
(Black & white photos of venue and silent auction courtesy of the writer.)
Attendees were also able to have their formal pictures taken by Julie Michelle Photography. This was Julie's second year providing formal portraits. It was also fun to see some of the Blue Line fashion. (Psst...not everyone wore blue!)
(All formal photos shown here provided by Julie Michelle Photography.)
We also had a fun photo booth for other crazy group pictures, provided by TC Photo Booths. Both options were a hit with all our guests. See below for further "evidence".
(Line up photos with silly props captured by TC Photo Booths.)
Our signature drink this year (sponsored by the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis) was named Thin Blue Lime, and we saw it in the hand of many attendees. Score! Because $4 of every Thin Blue Lime was donated back to Minnesota law enforcement!
(Photo submitted by member of Backing the Blue Line.)
The Pipe Band lead us into the ballroom where dinner and our program were presented. Members of LEMA presented colors, Natasha Orbeck (widow of State Trooper Josh Orbeck) sang the National Anthem, and Gwen Besser (widow of Elk River Officer Todd Besser) provided the table prayer. The Hyatt served a delicious dinner of chicken and steak, with other options for those with dietary restrictions.
(Photo courtesy of the writer.)
During dinner, we were honored to have two special guests present to us. Tyler Carach (aka, the Donut Boy) spoke to us briefly about his mission to travel the country bringing donuts to all officers. He even brought us some blue line donuts to enjoy! Special thanks to sponsors Altai and Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop for making Tyler’s appearance possible.
(Photos of Donut Boy and Blue Line donut from Hanisch's courtesy of the writer.)
Our keynote speaker was none other than Mike the Cop, who gave a hilarious and thought-provoking message that focused on the importance of supporting each other as officers and officer families, while being able to laugh at ourselves as well.
(Photo of Mike the Cop courtesy of the writer.)
A HUGE thank you to Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police and Fowler Ditsch law firm for sponsoring Mike’s presentation. “Mike the Cop was so awesome!” was heard the rest of the evening.
(Photo of Mike the Cop enjoying a moment with a Minnesota police officer and his Mrs., a member of Backing the Blue Line.)
At the end of our program, we drew winners from our pre-ball raffle tickets—can you believe that we sold all 10,000 pre-ball raffle tickets? Thank you for making this raffle such a success, and congratulations to the winners! You can see a Facebook Live video of the raffle drawing on our public Facebook page.
The heads and tails game was played after our program was finished. In a generous move by one attendee, Donut Boy Tyler was presented with more beads than he could possibly carry around his neck and ended up winning the $500 prize at the end of the game!
The rest of the evening was spent dancing—so much dancing!— and laughing with friends and fellow officers. The music was incredible—the dance floor was never not packed—and it was the perfect evening to cut loose with friends.
(A Minnesota police officer sheds his vest for dancing shoes and dips his Mrs. on the dance floor. Photo courtesy of the couple.)
Which was great, because the purpose of the Blue Line Ball is not only to raise funds to put back into supporting our Minnesota law enforcement community, but also to give Minnesota law enforcement and their significant others an evening to relax, have fun, celebrate with fellow officers, and “let their hair down”.
(Photo courtesy of the writer, at left, with Rebecca P., Social Events Chair for Backing the Blue Line.)
Take it from some of this year’s attendees…
“First time attendee here! Great food, great drinks, wonderful accommodations, and the best part? I got to hang out with awesome BtBL ladies and their spouses! Oh, and Mike the Cop was awesome!”
“This was our third year going and I asked Hubbs if he wanted to keep going and he looked at me like I had just lost my damn mind. He realized this year how many great friends I’ve made in this group and how awesome their husbands are! He even got to see a few of his old partners that he hadn’t seen in years! He also loved the networking he was able to do!”
“This was our second year going and we had such an amazing time! I had my dresses picked out since the beginning of the year! This is such a valuable time together not only as a couple but as a blue line family. We get to all come together and let loose and have fun with no judgement and no fear! It’s such a great time to connect with old friends and meet new friends. We always make this weekend a date weekend! So looking forward to next year! I may or may not already have a dress!”
“It was so much fun, I didn’t even have to beg my boyfriend to dance! He asked me...twice!”
We were so glad to have 826 friends join us this year at the 2018 Blue Line Ball. But what about those friends who weren’t able to attend? Well, we showed them love and support as well!
“We had been planning for months to go - I found a gorgeous dress, hubby rented a tux, got a sitter, reserved a room, signed up for some volunteer shifts and then, a few days before the ball, my husband was hospitalized with what we now know is a lifelong disease that will require a liver transplant at some point. The combination of this scary and unexpected news totally outweighed my disappointment of missing the Ball. My BTBL friends (and some BTBL ladies I don’t know well) flooded my phone and FB feed with so much love, support and ‘we miss you’ messages. I felt so loved and seeing their beautiful photos and live feeds of different parts of the night made me feel like I was still a part of it as I got hubby settled back in at home that night. Their prayers and support have lifted us up so much. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends because of BTBL and it was truly a joy seeing everyone enjoy a night of celebration and fundraising for our MN LEOS.”
We are so thankful to you for the success of this year’s Blue Line Ball and we are honored to be able to serve the Minnesota law enforcement community.
A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR MONETARY SPONSORS FOR THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT:
Dering Pierson Group
Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputies Association
MOAC Mall Holdings LLC
MN State Troopers Association
MN Fraternal Order of Police
Fowler Ditsch Law Firm
Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis
Fairway Independent Mortgage
ReMax Advantage Plus
Wild Bills Sports Saloon