Monday, May 15, 2017

Benefit Event for Smoky Mountain Service Dogs

Our friends Norm and Linda invited us to go with them to a benefit auction event complete with a good band…all combining to raise money for Smoky Mountain Service Dogs. 

It was a beautiful early spring afternoon.  The venue for this important fund raising event was at the Wild Wings Café in Farragut Tennessee…

The stars were properly aligned… We really like Wild Wings Café, we love quality local musicians, we love our military veterans, we were with good friends and we love dogs!

Wild Wings Café is a big restaurant/sports bar with a huge bar and a plethora of tables, both indoors and outside on the deck.  Live music is a regular occurrence too with a stage in a corner in the bar area.  

On this date, early on a Sunday afternoon, a Bloody Mary Bar was open.  It was a special deal with all Bloody Marys’ complete with whatever garnishes you might want, for only $3.63 each.  The selection process was challenging!

However, Laurie overcame what might have become an overwhelming garnish mental “block” and created her own special Bloody Mary. 

Note: Wild Wings Café has some kind of special every day…including some days with all the wings you can eat at lunch for a fixed (and very reasonable) price.

…and on the stage we have the hostess for this fund raising event.  She’s Lauren Davis, news anchor and reporter for Knoxville’s CBS affiliate WVLT.  She’s been with WVLT for almost 10 years now.

To learn more about Lauren, you can go to

We had a visitor at our table…one of the Smoky Mountain Service Dogs folks… Norm’s watching proceedings on the stage while Linda and Laurie are listening to an update on the silent auction.

The area in front of the stage was loaded with auction items and silent auction bid forms and folks continuously milled around the area making bids and checking the bids they’d already made.  All of the items being auctioned off, from gift baskets, gift certificates and Wild Wings for a year to trips and facials, were all donated for this event.

Hey…it wasn’t all about the fund raising auction.  We did have to eat lunch!  I started out by ordering the Buffalo Shrimp. ($8.49) They were accompanied by blue cheese dressing and celery sticks for dipping.  Very nice! 

I also decided to order something we hadn’t tried before.  This was an order of Hot Shots. ($6.49) These are house made sausage fritters “with a lot of heat” and a ton of cheese.  They’re served with honey mustard for dipping.  They were OK but they didn’t really deliver a lot of heat…

Laurie and I also split an order of Wild Wings chicken wings. (No photo…$17.99) We had 9 wings coated with “The Slayer”, a garlic sauce and 9 others coated with “Red Dragon”, a hot teriyaki sauce.  As usual, we were very happy with this restaurant’s chicken wings!

Norm and Linda also ordered an appetizer, the Steel Town Spuds.  They chose “Crispy House-Made Chips” vs “Big Fat Fries” or “Tater Tots”.  Their chips were topped with ranch dressing, bacon, scallions and melted cheese.  While they enjoyed their appetizer, they noted that the serving seemed smaller than it was on previous visits…

Wild Wings Café in Farragut Tennessee is located at 11335 Campbell Lakes Drive.  Phone: 865-777-9464.  Website:

This smart service dog did a great job collecting contributions, approaching tables with that bucket in his mouth.  It’s hard to ignore kids or dogs in a situation like this!  One of the disabled veterans who had benefited from this charity was also in attendance along with his service dog Bella! 

This pup asked that I post a link to Smoky Mountain Service Dogs so others could contribute to this worthy cause that helps veterans who have given so much to preserve our freedom.  I couldn’t deny the request so here it is:

The primary musical attraction for the event was the Steve Rutledge Band!  That’s Steve with the guitar…  

Steve Rutledge is a guitar virtuoso, singer and producer who was originally from Frankfort Kentucky and who now lives near Knoxville Tennessee.  Steve has shared the stage or opened for artists like: The Marshall Tucker Band, Trace Adkins, Reba, Emerson Drive, Jake Owen, Trick Pony, Toby Keith, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Montgomery Gentry, John Fogerty, The Eagles, Lonestar, Big and Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Kelly Pickler and Taylor Swift. 

Here’s our event hostess from WVLT again…Lauren giving Laurie 2 thumbs up! 

Other groups were involved with this fund raiser… They included the Knoxville Academy of Music, with students playing with the band, (, and Paws for a Cause, a nationwide service dog organization. (

Note the volunteers and auction participants in the foreground.  Norm and Linda won a couple of bids but we just wrote a check and dropped it in the bucket…

Performing on stage with Steve Rutledge is Tommie John.  He has his own band and he’s currently set to compete in the 2017 International Blues Challenge.  We really liked him and he has the right voice for the Blues!  To learn more about Tommie, just go to

The action intensified as the event stretched on…nearing a bidding frenzy as people jumped in for last minute bids! 

Seeing Steve Rutledge and the band at work again reminded me that I should provide you with a link to his Facebook site.  It’s at

With Lauren Davis 'rocking out' at the left of the photo, another guest performer was rockin’ the house!  That’s Jay Storm who has his own band, the JayStorm Project.  He’s a rock/bluesy funk style singer and he has more energy than I ever had!   To learn more about JayStorm, go to

We don’t know the final total from this worthy fund raising event but the organizers seemed pleased.  On top of contributing to a great cause, we had some good food and a lot of fun with good friends and good people!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge the photos.

Thanks for stopping by to see what’s been going on!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Great post about this event, Dave! I love service dogs, they do so much and I am glad to see that their work is being celebrated and promoted. Your meals sound good. I love chicken wings (barbecued or broiled), but I don't like anything too hot or spicy...on the mild side for me. Thank you so much for sharing, I always enjoy your posts.

  2. Looks a fun day that had it all. It's great to folks championing worthy causes and I hope they raised lot's of money

  3. Great cause for sure! Sounds like a fun day, entertainment, food and dogs!