Sagebrush and Roses 2020, hosted by the Eastern Wyoming College Foundation, broke records for attendance with 404 attendees, and net fundraising of $61,000. According to Tami Afdahl, Director of College Relations and co-chair of the Sagebrush and Roses Committee, “Our success stems from an exceptionally generous and caring community.” Fellow co-chair Kaitlyn Steben, Agricultural Instructor at EWC continued, “The support that our community shows the EWC Ag program and the ATEC campaign is truly overwhelming.”
The 14th annual fundraiser started at 5:00 p.m. with entrance into a special reception held in the 4-H Hall for investors who donated at the $750 plus level. According to John Hansen Director of Institutional Development, “The special donor reception provides us an opportunity to personally thank those businesses and individuals who have supported us as a College and a Foundation.” This year’s reception was decorated by Farm Girls Boutique and featured a western chic theme that transported visitors into a relaxed upscale western venue. The reception featured a live acoustic performance by Tris Munsick and delightful libations served by the 307 Bar and Grill, along with upscale hors d’oeuvres by Cottonwood Catering.
The main Sagebrush and Roses event started promptly at 6:00 p.m. to the delight of 404 attendees. Rick Vonburg, Instructor Emeritus for EWC and a longtime patron of the event spanning 14-years encapsulated the evening “I feel honored and privileged to have been a part of all of them, the event is a social highlight of the year.” Mr. Vonburg’s esteem stems from teaching for EWC for 43 years and being instrumental in growing and passing the torch towards the future for EWC Ag. Funds raised from the event will support scholarships for EWC Ag students and help fund the $8.2M Agricultural Technology Education Center (ATEC). Specifically, $37,000 of the $61,000 total raised from the event will be directed to ATEC. Two of the special donors that helped generate a successful evening were Suzey and Stephen Delger. The Delger’s provided a custom laser engraved Weatherby 300 that was purchased on the day of Weatherby’s factory grand opening. Suzey Delger, who currently serves as our Director of Nursing will be retiring this year and her and Stephen wanted to do something truly special for the College. The gun raffle raised $8,500 and was a hit, special thanks to Mike McNamee for his auctioneering and to our very generous attendees.
Other highlights from the evening included special live auction items that were matched by the EWC Foundation. The live auction brought in $13,750 and will be matched for a total of $27,500. The bevy of fundraising was promulgated by a generous $11,000 bid by Julie Kilty who will have her choice of brand location in the new ATEC facility. Todd Peterson, President of Eastern Wyoming College Foundation was heartened at the success of the auction “We are blessed to have a community that not only supports the college but that supports so many worthwhile causes.” The success of Sagebrush and Roses and its planned longevity has led the committee to pledge $50,000 to the ATEC capital campaign and with the success of this year’s event, the amount remaining to raise for ATEC is $127,000. The committee is also purchasing a stock ticker tape to be installed in ATEC.
Sagebrush and Roses is an event that the College plans for nearly a year in advance and one of the newly planned items, added this year, was a silent auction that raised over $3,000. The Sagebrush and Roses Committee comprised of Tami Afdahl, Kaitlyn Steben, Lynnea Bartlett, John Hansen, Sandy Hoehn, Holly Lara, Leann Mattis, Debbie Ochsner, Susan Stephenson, Dr. Lesley Travers, Rick Vonburg, Sally Watson, and Georgia Younglove would like to thank our new and long-standing donors of Sagebrush and Roses.
Tami Afdahl provides the exclamation point for the event “There is an army of behind the scenes people that work tirelessly to pull off this event. It truly touches each area of the College and is only possible from their willingness and commitment.”
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