Colorado Celebrity Classic Raises $300,000 for TAPS
Eighth annual event puts focus on suicide
By Christine Burtt
People don’t like to talk about suicide, and the topic itself could put a damper on a festive event to raise money for military families. But, perhaps because suicide and its aftermath is such a sobering reminder about the effects of war, the sponsors and guests of the Colorado Celebrity Classic were generous as always toward the military families of fallen heroes.
The eighth annual event, held in Denver in June, netted nearly $300,000 for TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. In addition to helping underwrite the National Military Suicide Survivors Seminar in Colorado Springs in November, the monies raised will support the TAPS annual Fort Carson Regional Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.
“There’s honor in dying in battle, but when a soldier dies by suicide, it’s horrible for the families. It’s much harder on them because there’s no closure and there’s guilt. Thankfully, TAPS is there for these families,” said Lynne Cottrell, co-director with her husband, Bo Cottrell, of the Colorado Celebrity Classic to benefit TAPS.
The Colorado Celebrity Classic has become a national model for fundraising—and fun-raising. From the thoughtful details of valet parking to complimentary wine courtesy of Banfi Vintners, the estimated 600 guests felt welcomed and appreciated. They responded by buying an additional $121,800 in silent auction and live auction gifts, thanks to auctioneer extraordinaire, Roger Sierens.
Steve and Marla Grove again donated the use of the dustless show arena at their gorgeous Ranch at Cherry Creek for Friday’s festivities. The best-ever prime rib barbeque was fire pit roasted by the Amarillo, Texas-based Coors Cowboy Club “Chuckwagon Crew.” Tony David and WildeFire set toes tapping for an up-tempo mood during dinner. The star-studded “Saluting Our Fallen Heroes” dinner show included pro-bono performances by the legendary Michael Martin Murphey and his band, Grammy-award winner Gary Morris, songwriters Darryl Worley and Brett Jones, comedian Gary Mule Deer, and the inspiring Legacy Quartet.
The esteemed and exclusive Eisenhower Golf Club at the U.S. Air Force Academy was the site of the tournament on Saturday where 21 teams, each with a celebrity, played. The Air Force team won the military competition. Awards winners were feted after the game at the Burgers & Braggin’ Rights party.
The Colorado Celebrity Classic is a success because the Cottrells keep costs low—almost everything is donated—and because of the dedication to the cause by several patriotic corporate sponsors. AIMCO has served as a Title Sponsor for six years. Other major sponsors included co-chairmen Eric and Susan Sipf, and American Furniture Warehouse, Greiner Electric, MillerCoors, Gordon & Kaja Burr, Tom and Mary Dyk, Pete and Marilyn Coors, Conley Equipment/Marshall-Rodeno, and Taylor Oil. The Red Lion Hotel Denver Southeast donated rooms for celebrities. Production Services International donated the stage and lights. WizBang Solutions donated printing of the programs. Summit Steakhouse hosted a kick-off event for the Fundraising Committee.
Over the years, the Colorado Celebrity Classic’s 66 volunteers have become “family.” We invite you to join our team at the Colorado Celebrity Classic to have a fantastic time while supporting a wonderful cause!
Please follow the links to the photo galleries and accompanying press stories. You will see how critically important TAPS is to the families of our valiant fallen service men and women.
See you next year!