Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle visited Woodstock last week to speak at a Trump rally at Bull Valley Golf Club.
The event took place Oct. 13 and featured an indoor meet-and-greet fundraiser with Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr., followed by an outdoor rally that ran from 5 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m.
Event host Gary Rabine said he was able to draw the big names using his connections within a few Republican organizations to convince the Trump campaign that it would be worth their while.
“I can basically tap into friends to say, ‘Hey friend such-and-such, can we get Don Jr. or Don Sr. to town, to Woodstock, so that we can show that you care about this part of the country,’ ” he said.
Rabine is the CEO and founder of Rabine Group, a Schaumburg-based construction engineering company. He also is part owner of the Bull Valley Golf Club, where the event was held, according to reporting by the Northwest Herald. Rabine is on the executive committee for the Republican Governors Association and is the founder of the Job Creators Network.
Recently, Rabine has become the leader of an informal political organization called Save Illinois, which organizes to replace Illinois politicians who they feel are bad for the economic well-being of residents, Rabine said. The group has hosted a number of rallies in support of Trump and other local candidates that they think will “save Illinois from the fiscal depths that we’re up against,” he said.
After asking the Trump campaign to send members to speak at one of these events, Rabine said he was given 36 hours of notice that Guilfoyle and Donald Trump Jr. were interested in attending an event at the country club in Woodstock. He later was told that the two would not be able to attend and canceled the event.
Then, 17 hours before the Oct. 13 event, the campaign reached out to say that the two were coming after all and Rabine scrambled to get the word out. When all was said and done, the outdoor rally had about 300 attendees and the indoor reception raised about $450,000, Rabine said.
“We worked endlessly day and night to get the people there to support it, so [the event] went way better than expected,” he said. “We were really excited to see the varying age groups and the varying community groups ... we see all ethnicities and all age groups from late teens to 80-year-olds and 90-year-olds there.”
Rabine was first to speak at the outdoor rally, according to videos taken of the event. The event's other speakers included the Rev. Dean Nelson of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, former National Hockey League player Jeremy Roenick and former National Football League player Jack Brewer.
The event’s two keynote speakers, Donald Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle, made their appearance about 7 p.m. and spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes, according to the videos.
“We need you guys out there, we need you mobilizing your friends, we need you calling everyone – even here, even in the People’s Republic of Illinois,” Donald Trump Jr. said at the event Tuesday.
Tickets to the meet-and-greet cost $1,000 and a seat at the outdoor rally cost $150, according to an event flyer on Trump's campaign website. Supporters who were willing to donate $25,000 could co-host the event and anyone willing to donate $100,000 earned the title of co-chair.
Because of the small number of attendees who paid for a seat, supporters who gathered in the grass behind the chairs were invited in to fill the seats, Rabine said.
McHenry County GOP Vice Chairman Chuck Wheeler said he would have liked to attend the event, but had a scheduling conflict and found the tickets to be a bit too expensive.
Regardless, he said he was pleased and proud that Donald Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle came out to McHenry County.
“I think it was a testament to the fact that McHenry County votes with [Trump],” Wheeler said. “So it’s nice that they show us some respect and recognition in this way.”
Videos of the event were taken by local Trump supporter and videographer Michael Brown, who lives in Wauconda but travels across the region taking videos of Trump rallies and other events that support the president’s reelection campaign.
Brown said he was excited to hear from the speakers but added that, when it comes to the videos he creates, he likes to focus on the people who attend events in support of Trump.
“[Trump] has somehow managed to really connect with middle America, with ordinary Americans, in a way that I’ve never seen a president do,” he said.