You’d have to be living under a rather large rock to be unaware that we’re smack dab in the middle of “awards season.” Every year, it all starts off with the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards and the Golden Globes in January. February then sees the Grammys, the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and, of course, the Academy Awards, each rewarding the best of the best.
Here in Rancho Mirage, it’s also been awards season, and the annual Rammy Awards of Excellence—the Rammys—were bestowed upon the best of the best of our city, before an audience of more than 200 attendees, on Monday, January 26 at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. Ambassador of the Year was Loraine Mace, who has served as one of eight volunteer ambassadors for the Chamber of Commerce for the last three years. The Rising Star Award (for a business under 2 years of age) was granted to PIRCH (www.pirch.com), the fabulous kitchen and bath emporium situated next to high-end outdoor furniture dealer Hayman & Summers and Lamps Plus across from The River. Small Business of the Year (10 or fewer employees) was Debbie Lee’s Classic Creations (www.betterthanfruit.com), while Medium Business of the Year (a staff of 11-25) was VCA Rancho Mirage Animal Hospital (www.vcahospitals.com/rancho-mirage). The “Big Daddy” Large Business of the Year (26 or more employees) was Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse (www.babesbbque.com). Business Person of the Year was Michael Potts of Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa (www.hotwatercasino.com).
Also honored were Joseph Kuntz, who in the seventies founded a Rancho Mirage Humanitarian Award, and Tim Esser of Esser Air Conditioning and Heating, who was designated Distinguished Citizen of the Year for his philanthropic efforts. Tim, a Rancho Mirage resident, created the Tour de Palm Springs, the popular cycling event that since 1999 has raised more than one million dollars for various desert charities. This year’s Tour—the 17th—takes place on Valentines Day.
The Rammys are sponsored by the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce, which, in honor of its 60th anniversary, recently moved into its new home at 71-905 Highway 111, in the same complex as PIRCH. It’s a great place, and I often find myself stopping in just to say hello, or to pick up one or more of the Palm Springs Valley magazines stocked there (many offered gratis). I also have been known to bring in out-of-town guests who may need maps or dining guides. The staff and volunteers—who see more than 2500 visitors a year come through their doors—are always so happy to share their abundant knowledge of things to do, places to go, people to see. In that respect, the people at the Chamber are a lot like yours truly. Again, congratulations to all of this year’s Rammy winners. But…uh…when do I get my mine?