Those driving on Calhoun Rd. unexpectedly slowed down during the evening as they passed the Sigma Chi Fraternity house on Friday.
Everything from fire trucks, horse carriages, Indian teepees, and H-1 military Humvees were parked on the driveway of the fraternity house.
“Getting the (fire) truck was a bit of a hassle, but luckily we met some very nice firefighters who came through for us,” Zeta Tau Alpha sorority member Isabella Arnao said. “No other fraternity includes such an entertaining aspect to their philanthropy events.”
The extravagant entrance was just one event in Sigma Chi’s “Derby Days” which pits UH’s six panhellenic sororities against one another in a variety of competitions all-the-while benefitting Children’s Miracle Network.
This year, the brothers of Sigma Chi raised more than $4,000 — more than doubling their proceeds from the previous year. All of the profits raised went directly to Texas Children’s Hospital, located in Houston’s Medical Center.
“To be able to make a difference in a child’s life is an awesome feeling,” Derby Daddy Gabe Salazar said. “Every year, we’re able to go drop off a check, tour the hospital and truly see how we’re making an impact.”
While raising money is the primary purpose of Derby Days, the four-day long event also provides its fair share of competitive nature with the winning sorority receiving the Derby trophy and more importantly, bragging rights.
This year, the ladies of Alpha Chi Omega claimed victory and the previous champion Zeta Tau Alpha took second.
“The competition is so intense,” Alpha Chi Omega president Lorin Foteh said. “There’s so much room for creativity and so many days of activities that girls can prepare for so we get hyped up.”
Derby Days, originally known as “Channingway Derby,” started in spring 1933 at the University of California-Berkley and has since grown into the largest Greek philanthropic event in the country.
“To combine fun events like Queens Entrance, tug-o-war and dodge ball with a worthy cause is a perfect match,” Salazar said. “Every year, we’re out to top the last Derby Days and with the help of all six sororities, we certainly did that.”