weather icon Cloudy

‘Mattress Mack’ to descend tower, be honored by jockeys at Caesars

Mattress Mack is sleeping in a tower high above his Houston furniture store every night until he sells 10,000 mattresses.

Even on the evening of June 24, when he’ll be honored as “Person of the Year” at Caesars Palace by Jockeys and Jeans, a volunteer group that has raised more than $2.6 million for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

“I’ll come to Vegas for that, then I’ll fly back and I’ll sleep part of the night here,” Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale said Friday.

McIngvale, who won a record $72.6 million in wagers on the Astros last year when they won the World Series, has slept in the tower eight straight nights.

“I sleep there all night, then come down and work all day. At 10 o’clock at night, I climb back up 100 feet on this ladder going straight up,” the 72-year-old said. “An offshore book put up an over and under on how many days I’ll be up there. I need to get some of those Vegas books to put up a line on it.”

He said the total is 100 days.

“I’m not going to bet on myself, but if it was me, I’m taking the over because I’m staying up there until I sell these mattresses,” he said. “Of course, if the Astros get hot, we can sell them in a hurry.”

McIngvale has $1.9 million in wagers to win $11.4 million riding on the Astros to win the World Series. The bets are the latest in a series of wagers to reduce risk on furniture promotions. In this case, customers who buy $5,000 or more of furniture will get double their money back if Houston repeats as champs.

McIngvale endured a rough night Thursday in the 30 square-foot open-air space at the top of the tower.

“It’s got a roof over it, but the sides are open. I put a tent in there with a Tempur-Pedic mattress and adjustable base inside the tent,” he said. “Last night, I was asleep when this giant rain storm came up unexpected. The wind was blowing 60 miles per hour and the rain was coming in at 10.

“I thought it was going to blow me off the roof.”

When he sells the 10,000 mattresses, he said he’ll donate $1 million to Houston’s Camp Hope, which helps combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A noted philanthropist, McIngvale also has been a longtime supporter of the PDJF, which pays a monthly stipend of $1,000 to 60 jockeys who suffered career-ending injuries.

“I’m a big fan of all these jockeys and the tremendously difficult and dangerous job they do. And I’m a huge advocate for taking better care of these jockeys with workman’s comp and health insurance for the traumatic injuries they suffer when these horses go down at 40 miles per hour,” he said. “Jockeys risk their lives every day they race. I think they are racing’s superstars.”

The event at Caesars Palace will feature 16 Hall of Fame riders, including jockey Edgar Prado, who rode McIngvale’s horse, Runhappy, to victory in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

McIngvale, who has lost $7 million in bets on the Kentucky Derby the last three years, owns 45 thoroughbreds.

“I became a millionaire in the horse business. The only problem is I started out as a billionaire,” he said jokingly.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available at 855-234-7469 or at ticketmaster.com. Single tickets are $125, VIP tickets are $250 and nine-person tables are $1,800 and seated with a Hall of Fame jockey.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.