Riverwind Casino Celebrates 10 Years

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Riverwind Casino celebrates 10 years of business and community partnerships

Oklahoma casino has been giving back to the community since 2006

NORMAN, OK – (Aug. 17, 2016) A sweltering summer day in Oklahoma isn’t enough to keep Riverwind Casino staff, local business representatives and nonprofit volunteers away from a Norman golf course for an annual charity golf tournament. The purpose of the day is to give back to area schools and kids fighting for their lives.

It’s par for the course for Riverwind and its employees.

After all, giving back to the community has been part of the Riverwind culture since the casino opened for business in August 2006. Now, Riverwind is celebrating a decade of business in the Oklahoma City-metro area, and 10 years of lending a helping hand to partners in the community.

One of those partners is Cavett Kids Foundation. The nonprofit’s founder, Danny Cavett, has been working with Riverwind officials since 2014 to hold the casino’s annual benefit golf tournament. Cavett Kids Foundation provides camps and events for children battling life-threatening and chronic illnesses. All the programs are free to children and their families.

Cavett said it takes community partners like Riverwind to keep the programs free. The annual golf tournament has raised more than $111,000 for Cavett Kids.

“The money raised helps in more ways than one, but mostly the funds go to cover camp related expenses,” Cavett said. “Without donated funds most of the children would not have money to attend camp. The camps allow them to be around other children experiencing similar medical conditions. This increases their self-esteem and ability to cope with their illness.”

Besides raising money, Riverwind employees volunteer at Cavett Kids camps, events and even hold positions on the organization’s board of directors.

In fact, the president of the Cavett Kids Board of Directors is Riverwind’s assistant general manager, Kandi Link. The nonprofit holds a special place in Link’s heart after it helped her manage the grief of losing a child.

“Being around the children and families of Cavett Kids has helped me heal,” Link said. “I have had the opportunity to put smiles on children’s faces. It is so rewarding and humbling.”

Riverwind’s annual golf tournament has also raised money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Bridges Norman, Mary Abbott Children’s House and the Norman Public School Foundation.

The casino’s ability to help the community has only grown over the years it has been open for business.

Since opening day, Riverwind has provided countless memories and hours of fun for patrons playing on its 2,700 electronic games, 30 table games or 17 poker tables, or for those dining in one of six restaurants. Guests don’t have to go far for a good night’s sleep. In 2009, the property expanded to offer a 100-room hotel.

You can hardly mention Riverwind’s name without someone commenting that they have been there to see a concert. Hundreds of well-known entertainers have graced the stage of the 1,500-seat Showplace Theatre. The venue has also hosted a number of non-concert events, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls dance team auditions, ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” auditions, country music star Toby Keith’s Denim and Diamonds fundraiser, Miss Oklahoma USA pageants and various fundraising events for area nonprofits.

Cavett Kids holds two events a year in the Showplace Theatre.

“Our fundraising events grew so large, Riverwind kindly offered to open up their space for Cavett Kids,” Cavett said. “I can’t express how thankful we are to have a partnership with Riverwind.”

More recently, Riverwind has become a little more family-friendly. This year, casino officials kicked off the popular Beats & Bites outdoor food truck and music festival. The events were held monthly in the casino’s west parking lot, beginning in April and ending in August.

Jack Parkinson, Riverwind’s general manager, said Beat & Bites is a keeper.

“We plan to bring back Beats & Bites in 2017,” Parkinson said. “More than 20,000 guests came out for the free festivals. It was very encouraging to see the community come out and have a great time.”

It has not only been through the great times that Riverwind officials have managed to pull the community together. In May 2013, after devastating torndaoes hit central Oklahoma, Riverwind became a tornado relief donation drop-off site.

The most severe tornado, in fact, touched down just a few miles to the north of the casino.

“It was such a tragic time and it happened so close to the casino,” Parkinson said. “It was incredible to see the giving spirit at work in the employees and the community.”

The casino also held a blood drive for tornado victims. It was one of many blood drives operated through the casino’s partnership with the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Since 2007, the casino has hosted 26 blood drives, resulting in more than 3,400 blood donations.

Oklahoma Blood Institute President and CEO Dr. John Armitage said 3,426 donors have successfully given life-saving blood at Riverwind blood drives.

“We are grateful for Riverwind Casino’s continued partnership with Oklahoma Blood Institute, ensuring we have blood on the shelf for patients in our local hospitals,” Armitage said. “Over the past nine years of partnership, the thousands of blood donations given at Riverwind amount to 10,278 lives saved.”

In addition, many of Riverwind’s nearly 800 employees regularly donate their time and energy to volunteering at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Meals on Wheels of Norman, Cleveland County March of Dimes, United Way of Norman and the American Heart Association.

Casino officials said their job duties extend beyond the doors of the casino. That point is demonstrated by the fact that Parkinson recently added a spot on the Norman Public School Foundation Board of Directors to his duties.

“It’s an honor to serve,” Parkinson said. “As a Riverwind representative, I have a commitment to serve the community and to be a positive force.”

To learn more about Rivewind Casino and all that it offers, go to www.riverwindcasino.com.

– (published August 18, 2016)

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