Captured Event

March 14, 2009 - My Big Greek Roast!

What: A toast and roast dedicated to Steve Antonopulos, benefitting Dani's Foundation

Where: West Club Lounge at Invesco Field at Mile High

When: Saturday, March 14, 2009

Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $200 per seat

Beneficiary: Dani's Foundation

Master of Ceremonies: Dave Logan, Ron Zappolo

Honoree(s): Steve Antonopulos

EMCEE: Dave Logan, Ron Zappolo

Presenting Sponsor(s): KOA Radio, the Denver Bronco Alumni, Friends of Steve Antonopulos and Dani’s Foundation

Gala Chairperson(s): Jim Jensen

Founders: Michele Ashby, Dani's Foundation

Executive Director: Martha Simmons

Speaker: Michele Ashby

Libations: Bud Light

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Of note: Many Denver Bronco alums in attendance, with special appearances by members of the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders, the Barrel Man and Miles the Denver Broncos mascot.

Sponsors: KOA Radio, Bud Light, Jay Cutler, Denver Bronco Community Development, Friends of DaniFriends of Dani's Foundation, KPI Properties, Key Bank, LABS, Inc., McGhee Productivity Solutions, Mine, LLC, Next Level Sports Performance, Tim & Lynn Simmons, Steadman Hawkins, ClinicWest Tech, Inc.

Gala Production: Martha Simmons

Attendance: 300+

Attire: Cocktail, business casual.

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Spanikopita and other traditional Greek items

Event Coordinator: Martha Simmons

Board of Directors: Founder & President: Michele Ashby; Secretary: Claudia Cruz; Treasurer: Cynthia DeLarber; Assistant Treasurer: Carla Cervi; Members: Keith Ashby; Timothy Bishop; John Stell; Executive Director: Martha Simmons

Blacktie Photos by: Jeff Pistana

 Michele Ashby (founder of Dani's Foundation), Keith Ashby, and honoree Steve Antonopulos
Michele Ashby (founder of Dani's Foundation), Keith Ashby, and honoree Steve Antonopulos
View all photos

"My Big Greek Roast" was the theme of a March 14 event that took place in the West Club Lounge at Invesco Field at Mile High and which paid tribute to an amazing man:  Steve “The Greek” Antonopulos and his 33 year career as Athletic Trainer for the Denver Broncos.  The evening was sponsored by KOA Radio and members of the Denver Bronco Alumni and was billed as “A Night of Love and Laughter” in recognition of Antonopulos but also raised funding for Dani’s Foundation, a Colorado non-profit organization who is working to find the cause and the cure for Ewing’s Sarcoma and the other pediatric sarcomas that are affecting and taking the lives of children and young adults.

Antonopulos, who grew up in Hugo, CO, earned two degrees in sports medicine from the University of Northern Colorado prior to landing his dream job of working with the Denver Broncos in 1976.  Since that time, Antonopulos has succeeded in participating in 660 Denver Bronco football games, tended to the health and physical well-being of over 1,500 Denver Bronco players, worked feverishly to get the Denver Bronco players game ready for 8 AFC championship games and 6 Super Bowl match ups and is the proud owner of two Super Bowl Rings.  “Steve is ‘the best of the best’”, explained Roast Chairman and former Denver Bronco player Jim Jensen.  “Thanks to ‘The Greek’s’ care while I was a member of the team, I can still play golf, tennis and take to the ski slopes every year.  Not too bad for an old guy like me!” 

This event was organized to pay satirical respect to Antonopulos’ career but also served to raise much-needed funding for Dani’s Foundation and their efforts to fund greater programs, education and research with the goal of finding the cause and the cure for Ewing’s Sarcoma and the other forms of pediatric sarcomas that are taking the lives of children and young adults. 

Dani's Foundation was formed in memory of Dani Stell, an active, bright and social woman who, at the young age of 18, was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.  Dani fought her disease bravely for one year, but sadly succumbed to it in April 1999 at age 19. 

Dani’s Foundation Founder and President Michele Ashby took the stage prior to the roast program and captivated the guest’s attention as she told the story of her daughter Dani and read excerpts from Dani’s personal journal during her battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma.  “Dani fought her disease with dignity and grace but she is no longer with us,” explained Ashby.  “This is unacceptable and I need each of you to raise your hand and make a one-year commitment to join Dani’s Foundation in our efforts to find the cause and the cure for Ewing’s Sarcoma and the other pediatric cancers that are taking the lives of those that we love.”  The crowd followed Ashby’s lead and all raised their hands – now clad in blue Dani’s Foundation bracelets which were placed at each table setting - in support of Dani’s Foundation.

Following Ashby’s appeal, the festivities of the Roast began with short jabs from My Big Greek Roast Hosts: KOA Personality and Denver Bronco Broadcaster Dave Logan and Fox 31 Anchor Ron Zappolo.  CBS 4 Sport Anchor Vic Lombardi represented the sport media in roasting Antonopulos and came prepared with a photo from Steve’s grade school years.  “Same hairstyle,” quipped Lombardi as a full-haired Antonopulos appeared on the big screen.

Other Denver Bronco personnel who joined in on the festivities included Denver Bronco Owner Pat Bowlen and CEO Joe Ellis, who dropped by prior to dinner to congratulate Antolnopulos on the festivities; Larry Brunson, Steve Busick, Keith Burns, Mark Cooper, Bucky Dilts, Ron Egloff, Steve Foley, Jack Gehrke, John Grant, Dale Hackbart, Jim Jensen, Mike Harden, Rich Karlis, Keith Kartz, Claudie Minor, Dave Studdard, Ralph Tamm,  Denver Bronco Ring of Fame Member Billy Thompson, Billy Van Huesen, and NFL Hall of Fame Member Gary Zimmerman.

Mayor John Hickenlooper could not attend the March 14 Roast but sent a video greeting.  Ron Zappolo then read a proclamation from the Mayor proclaiming Saturday, March 14 as “Steve ‘The Greek’ Antonopulos Day in the City and County of Denver.  Following the proclamation, former Denver Bronco and Head Coach of the Huston Texans Gary Kubiak’s personal greeting was played on the big screen.  The crowd laughed as Kubiak recounted days of keeping the other quarterback (John Elway) healthy so that he (Kubiak) would not have to take the field.

Tim “The Barrel Man” McKernan and his wife Becky traveled from their home out of state to make a special appearance at the Roast event.  In addition to McKernan, members of the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot were in costumed attendance at the Bud Light cocktail portion of the event.

My Big Greek Roast featured a silent auction with over 200 items donated by businesses and organizations from throughout Colorado and the nation, a Greek Feast Dinner provided by Epicurean Catering and the post-dinner roast.

All in all, everyone had a wonderful time honoring a great man and a great cause.

To learn more about Dani's Foundation and how you can help, visit the Foundation’s website at:  www.danisfoundation.org

 

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