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October 22, 2010 - Black Diamond Ball celebrates 40 years of NSCD success

What: Chef sampling, silent auction and National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) awards recognition

Where: INVESCO Field at Mile High

When: Friday, October 22, 2010

Time: 7 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $250

Beneficiary: National Sports Center for the Disabled

Honoree(s): Outrigger Award: Don Marshall; Volunteer of the Year: Paul Marshall; Bold Tracks Award: Epicurean Culinary Group; Athlete of the Year: Alana Nichols

Executive Director: Craig Pollitt, President/CEO

Music: Caz Bzdek and Rod Voyles, piano players from Wild Ivories Dueling Piano Saloon, provided by Actual Talent Mobile

Sponsors: Ameristar Casino Resort Spa; Seattle Fish Co.

Menu: Encore on Colfax: lemongrass-cured salmon; Epicurean Culinary Group: shrimp scampi and s'mores dessert stations; Inventing Room: peanut-butter poprocks, popcorn space foam, mango peach sorbet; Mangia Bevi Cafe: Italian sausage with peppers; Marco's Coal Fired Pizza: coal-fired limencello chicken wings; North: pan-seared seafood specialties; Restaurant Japon: assorted hand-crafted sushi; The Oceanaire Seafood Room: king crab gnocci; Vesta Dipping Grill: beef tartare; Yia Yia's: house-made ravioli topped with orange-scented lavendar-foam bubble

Attendance: 300

Attire: Blacktie invited


Event Coordinator: Ashley Hinkle

Board of Directors: Chair, John Beeble; Vice-Chair, Joe Ellis; Marcia Benshoof; Carolynn Bond-Erickson; Peter Boyles; Pat Cortez; Gary DeFrange; Mike Dino; Larry DiPasquale; Tim Ficker; Michael Fordyce; Todd Fredrickson; Cecily Grant; Sheila Kemper Dietrich; Ralph Klomp; Doug Morton; Stephen Peters; Steve Raymond; Elaine Torres; Becky Zimmerman

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Alana Nichols accepts the Athlete of the Year award from NSCD's president Craig Pollitt (left) and Competition Center Director Erik Petersen.
Alana Nichols accepts the Athlete of the Year award from NSCD's president Craig Pollitt (left) and Competition Center Director Erik Petersen.

Tantalizing aromas and tastes of chef creations, pounding rhythms of dueling pianos and the pure-Colorado anticipation of ski season filled the club level of INVESCO Field at Mile High with multisensory delights at the 17th annual Black Diamond Ball. Benefiting the National Sports Center for the Disabled, the event attracted 300 active individuals on Oct. 22 to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary as one of the largest outdoor therapeutic recreation programs in the world. It was also the perfect opportunity to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to NSCD’s success.

NSCD President/CEO Craig Pollitt led an awards ceremony highlighted by the inspirational anecdotes and images of companies and individuals who have gone the extra mile for the organization. The Outrigger Award, recognizing a long-time commitment to NSCD, went to Wells Fargo executive Don Marshall. He was instrumental in bringing on Wells Fargo as the organization’s title sponsor. For the contributions of Epicurean Culinary Group at NSCD fundraising dinners and events, Sharon Magness Blake and Greg Karl accepted the Bold Tracks Award with special thanks to Larry and Jill Dipasquale. The program included a comprehensive volunteer tribute, noting the contributions of Paul Marshall, named Volunteer of the Year.

Athlete of the Year, Alana Nichols, stole the show with a contagious spirit, in addition to her amazing athletic feats on the basketball court and the ski slopes. A high school athlete in softball, she broke her back in a snowboarding accident at age 17, and in 2005 played on the U.S. Paralympics Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. She was a member of the gold-medal team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. She learned adaptive skiing and soon began to compete with coaching from the NSCD Competition Center. At the 2010 Winter Paralympics, she was top medal-winner for the United States, bringing home two gold, one silver and one bronze—the first woman ever to medal in both the summer and winter Paralympics. Flashing back to her initial falls on the slopes with adaptive skis, she urged everyone to continually pick themselves up whenever adversity strikes.

Well-known Denver chefs set out flavorful samples of their best: Paul C. Reilly, Encore on Colfax; Adam Hammond, Epicurean Culinary Group; Ian Kleinman, Inventing Room; Josh Russell, Mangia Bevi Café; Mark Dym, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza; Dan Grunewald, North; Miki Hoshimoto, Restaurant Japon; Matt Mine, The Oceanaire Seafood Room; Aaron Whitcomb, Yia Yia’s; and Brandon Foster, Vesta Dipping Grill. Guests also had the opportunity to peruse and purchase silent-auction enticements, and Bronco cheerleaders presided over bids for a variety of activity and travel packages in the Premier Auction. Personality-plus pianists Caz Bzdek and Rod Voyles, from Wild Ivories Dueling Piano Saloon,
provided a constant stream of noteworthy entertainment throughout the evening.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled is located in Winter Park, Colo., and at INVESCO Field at Mile High, in Denver. With specially trained staff and its own adaptive equipment lab, the NSCD teaches a variety of winter and summer sports and activities to individuals with almost any physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral diagnosis. Children and adults with disabilities take to the ski slopes, rivers, mountain trails and golf courses to learn more about sports…and themselves. Other events benefiting NSCD include the Wells Fargo Ski Cup, Fat Tire Classic and Fans on the Field Denver stadium walk/run. For more information, go to

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