Dave Spencer Classic means fundraising fun

Courtesy of Rick Hagar

Earning top honors for “Wackiest Team Costume” at the Dave Spencer Classic are the “Bi-Kings,” Barry and Robin Mason, Lynn Evans, Scott Beckstead and Amie Bruder. The classic, a fundraiser for the Adaptive Sports Association, was held at Durango Mountain Resort.

This is the fundraiser that takes most advantage of the winter fun in our part of the southern Rocky Mountains.

The Dave Spencer Classic, the primary way the Adaptive Sports Association raises money, gets folks out on the slopes of Durango Mountain Resort to ski and laugh, often at the same time. This year’s theme was Downhill Abbey, which is a perfect take on – well, either you get it, or I don’t have enough space to explain it.

This year, 24 teams of five people each raised pledge money, with prizes going to those who could provide the closest estimate for their team’s cumulative time down the mountain, create the best team costumes and/or brag about the best wipeout of the day.

Only 15 minutes off their estimated time, the Tafoya, Barrett and Associates team, also known as the “April Fools,” won that contest. Team members were Brad Wolter, Ellen Tomsic, Heidi Holland, Sean Boris and Pat Barrett.

Wackiest Team Costume went to the “Bi-Kings,” made up of Barry and Robin Mason, Lynn Evans (who competed on a bi-ski, so stop thinking risqué thoughts – this was a family event), Scott Beckstead and Amie Bruder. All I can say is, I hope they didn’t actually ski in those helmets, because a fall with those horns could put an eye out.

The Best Team with a Theme Award went to the Mercury-sponsored group, also known as “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Members Raquel Rhodes, Jaren Sorenson, Sandy Herb, Heather Hormel and Joel Chambers had some fun paying homage to Alice in Wonderland.

The Top Fundraising Team honors went to “Smokey and the Bark Beetles,” with members Dave Trautmann, Jack Irby, Jay Davis, Miles Lillard and Brian Shafer bringing in $15,631. Shafer was the top fundraiser with $5,401.

And last, but far from least, the Dave Spencer Award went to Bill Millener. The award is given to the person whose enthusiasm and support most honor Spencer’s memory.

ASA board member Dave Dowrick organized Sunday’s Mountain Rally, which was a fun event all around. It included a poker run and scavenger hunt, in which contestants struggled to answer trivia questions correctly and other enjoyed a number of other goofy happenings.

Not all the fun takes place on the mountain, of course. An opening reception at the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge kicked off the festivities, and an awards party for participants at the DoubleTree Hotel closed out the week.

The ASA Photo Reception at the Open Shutter Gallery on March 1 reminded everyone why they were there – to raise money so cognitive and physically challenged people can enjoy the great outdoors here as much as the able-bodied do. In 2012, the organization served more than 450 individuals in its winter and summer programs, including those through its affiliation with the Wounded Warrior Project.

Those who are new to Durango may be wondering who the eponymous Dave Spencer is. After losing a leg to cancer while attending college in Wisconsin, he came to then Purgatory Ski Area as part of his rehabilitation after seeing a ski magazine advertisement. Later, he joined forces with veteran ski-school instructor Joe Wilson, who had a small program teaching blind skiers the tricks of the hill, and what would become the Durango Adaptive Sports Association was born.

Spencer lost his battle against cancer in 1986, but his belief that a disability didn’t mean stopping living still drives ASA, which expanded to include a summer program in 1998.

And if I may have a drum roll, the event raised nearly $70,000, thanks to event coordinator Karen Esser and her fellow ASA staff members, including Executive Director Tim Kroes, Program Director Ann Marie Meighan, Assistant Program Director Iris Gardner, office manager Lee Hagar and bookkeeper Judy Abercrombie.

I hear lots of great stories from nonprofits about what they do, but it’s always Adaptive Sports that makes me realize how we’re only as generous a community as how we treat some of our more fragile neighbors. ASA makes me think we’re pretty darn great.

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It’s farewell Pisces, hello Aries for these birthday celebrants – David Tabar, Elena Breed, Emmett Stottlemyer, Richard Gjere, Joyce Erickson, Dottie Robinson, Dale Rodebaugh, Conor Nelson, Loreta Beam, Tamara Volz, Annemarie Nobman, Nancy Custer, Greg Wiley, Nicholas Bastin, Mark Chambers, James Fulton, Bryan Hondru, Zeke Longwell and Patti Ann Rancatti.

Special greetings go to one of my very favorite people, Sarah Butler Sumner.

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The quest for back information in The Durango Herald is a little easier, and the key to the kingdom is your Durango Public Library card. The digitization project will soon come to fruition, but that will require going to the library to do your research about any Herald editions in the paper’s 130-plus year run.

From the comfort of your own home, you can access the Herald because it has been available online (since 1998 or so) by taking these steps: Go to www.durangopubliclibrary.org, click on Research then Databases. Select General Reference, Newspapers & Encyclopedias, select NewsBank, enter your card number, which is on the back under the barcode, and there’s the link, Durango Herald, The.

And start your (search) engine. I found my first Neighbors column and my father, Charles Butler’s, obituary, in no time flat.

I understand the library won’t renew its subscription to NewsBank unless it sees more usage, so that should encourage all of us to go back and find those articles stat.

Thanks to Julie Pickett for giving me the solution to my search woes.

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Breezy March is blowing in happy anniversary greetings to Blake and Pat Chatfield.

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