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Horses and Horsepower Blue Jean Ball

By Laura Mueller | Photography by

Posted: Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

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Laura Mueller

Laura Mueller

Lake Norman resident Laura Mueller has been a photojournalist for more than 25 years, doing work for The Charlotte Observer, The Duke Endowment, Lake Norman Magazine, SouthPark Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Post and many other publications. Her many awards have included being named NC Press Photographer of the Year. Find her at

The special guests arrived in style, pulling up to JR Motorsports in a shiny, stretch limo. Triple Cross Ranch founder Kari Booth was there to greet them. Ten children and young adults stepped out, posing for photos before the first annual ‘Horses and Horsepower Blue Jean Ball’ March 17 in Mooresville.

The gala was held in the pristine race shop, headquarters to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing operation, amidst a stable of sleek race cars. Boots and blue jeans were the attire for an evening touched by the warmth of community, shared inspiration, dinner provided by A Tasteful Solution, fun and music by Soul Circus Cowboys.

The Booth family, John and Kari Booth and their son Dehryen, founded Triple Cross Ranch in 2008. The riding stable is an equine assisted learning center that works with rescued horses helping to enrich the lives of both humans and horses through therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities.

Triple Cross mentors Katie James, Miss Teen North Carolina, and Laura Portanova spoke with great passion about the impact that Triple Cross has had on their lives. “Never give up on your dreams,” said Portanova, “you never know until you try.”

Among the 100 VIP guests were Kelley Earnhardt Miller and her family, including baby Wyatt who was born in February. Krissie Newman’s grandmother Rita Ahlers, an advocate for rescue animals and children’s programs in the community also attended.

Proceeds from the gala support the Jr. Mentorship, Building Better Teens and Special Needs Enrichment programs. “The special evening for the children and awareness raised for the mission was the greatest success,” said Booth.


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