Romance at the Races



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Southern Silks brings the traditions of the Kentucky Derby to the Capital City in support of Methodist Family Health.

By Barrett Gay | Photography by Sara Reeves | Makeup by Antonio Figueroa with B. Barnett | Dress from B. Barnett | Shot on location at Applewood Farm with Prada

It was just another day at the races, playin’ the ponies and hedgin’ bets, until Casey and Matt Finch were introduced to each other by Matt’s god-sister. “I thought he was cute,” Casey remembers. “He taught me the tricks of the trade for betting – even though we weren’t really betting – how to pick your horses and how it all worked.” Years later, their love story – for the races and each other – continues as they host this year’s Southern Silks, a Kentucky Derby-inspired fundraiser for Methodist Family Health.

Casey and Matt have always embraced Derby Day festivities. “I love getting dressed up, and the hats – it’s all just really fun,” Casey says. “I enjoy the whole racing atmosphere and watching the horses run — they’re beautiful and incredibly powerful animals,” Matt adds.

Matt was introduced to Methodist Family Health through his work with Gill Ragon Owen, P.A. and the couple has enthusiastically attended Southern Silks since its inception. Each year, Southern Silks continues to bring the authentic charm of the Kentucky Derby to the Capital City. Guests sip mint juleps and enjoy traditional Derby fare while watching faux races. There’s also a competition for the most whimsical and extravagant Derby-style hat. Each year, the colors of the event are inspired by the silks of the previous year’s Kentucky Derby winner. “Southern Silks is so unique,” Matt notes. “ From the mint juleps to ‘betting’ on the horses – everybody has a fun time. How can you not have fun when you’re on a fake racetrack with a wooden horse wearing a jockey silk? That’s definitely the centerpiece and the best part of the evening.”

Methodist Family Health offers programs and services for families and children struggling with behavioral, spiritual and psychiatric health issues. These resources are provided at its comprehensive residential treatment centers and counseling clinics throughout the state.

Proceeds from Southern Silks support these treatment programs. This year, Methodist Family Health Foundation Executive Director Carolyn McCone notes, “we are asking attendees to contribute to our Arkansas CARES Program. It focuses on breaking the cycle of maternal addiction. Mothers who enter the program can live on our campus and keep their children with them. The three-month program helps mothers learn parenting and coping skills while treating their mental health and substance abuse issues, and the children receive counseling as well as a stable place to live.”

Their civic leadership extends beyond their work with MFH. Casey’s first job was at Full Moon on Kavanaugh when she was 15 years old; she now owns the boutique, which she says is a dream come true. Through her business, she supports local schools as well as various events including Arkansas à la Carte for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the American Heart Association Heart Ball. Additionally, Matt has served as chairman of Race for the Cure’s Three Miles of Men as well as a member of CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun committee.

As Casey and Matt strive to instill a spirit of volunteerism in their three children, they are reminded of the value of the services MFH provides families across Arkansas. With plans to cheer for their favorite jockey at this year’s Southern Silks, Casey and Matt invite the community to join this Southern tradition in support of the organization they cherish.

Dream Race Horse Name

Casey: The Full Mooney
Matt: something Razorback, golf or law-related

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