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June 25, 2011 - Giddy-Up Gala a fun ride to benefit Children's Hospital Colorado

What: Western-themed fundraiser featuring dinner, auctions, program and concert by four-time Grammy nominee Little Big Town

Where: Crooked Willow Farms, Larkspur

When: Saturday, June 25, 2011

Time: 5:30-11 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $200 individual; tables beginning at $2,500

Beneficiary: Children's Hospital Colorado

Executive Director: Jim Shmerling, CEO, Children's Hospital Colorado

Committee Members: Corporate Committee: Charlie Graft, Mike Palumbo, Micheline Keogh, Kristin Campbell

President(s): Steve Winesett, President and CEO, The Children's Hospital Foundation

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Entertainment: Little Big Town concert with Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet

Sponsors: Phipps-McCarthy, Crooked Willow Farms, FirstBank, Cathey and Richard Finlon, Crothall, Cuvee, US Engineering, along with more than 50 contributing sponsors

Quote of the evening: In the featured video, after patients listed a variety of favorite kid-centered aspects of Children's, one young girl drew an audience laugh when she very matter-of-factly said, "The best thing about Children's Hospital is they do their job right."

Menu: Dinner: southwestern Caesar salad with star-shaped baked cornbread, herb-roasted carved prime rib, apricot-glazed salmon, cheesy cowboy potato hash, smoked corn ragout, and roasted asparagus, baby carrots and cippolini onions; Desserts: blue-ribbon award-winning baked apple pie, grandma's freshly baked blueberry pie

Attendance: 600

Attire: Western wear, Colorado casual

Special Thanks: Sylvia Atencio, Blacktie Colorado, Bouquets, Brand Agents, Charlie Graft, Event Rents, Havey Productions, High Country Western Wear, Inverness Hotel and Conference Center, Jay's Valet, Little Big Town, Newmont Mining Corporation, Pati and Mike Palumbo, Prescient Solutions, Rollin's Productions, S&B Porta Bowl, Shalom Foundation, Spectro Printing, Sun King Construction, The Young Fund Volunteers

Information: &

Event Coordinator: Lindsey Alexander

Board of Directors: Children's Hospital Colorado Board Chair: Cathey M. Finlon, Immediate Past Chair: Craig Ponzio, Chair-Elect/Treasurer: Robert "Bob" Hottman, Vice Chair: Joy Johnson, Secretary: Cole Finegan...Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation Board Chair: Kelly Kennedy, Immediate Past Chair: Peter Culshaw, Vice Chair: John Ikard, Secretary: Molly Broeren, Treasurer: Frederick B. Taylor (for a complete list of board members, please visit

Steering Committee: Shery Galbreath, Kasia Iwaniczko, Catherine Kornbrust, Rhonda Kay, Sharon Leone, Stephanie Lepard, Jeanette Manos, Pati Palumbo, Shawna Peterson, Debbie Shmerling

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Charming ambassadors for Children's Hospital Colorado: Emily Strand and Austin Beckner
Charming ambassadors for Children's Hospital Colorado: Emily Strand and Austin Beckner

With an entertaining roundup of western ways and country charm, this year’s Giddy-Up Gala had 600 cowboy-clad guests happily trotting among an array of big doin’s on Saturday, June 25. More importantly, the second annual extravaganza at Crooked Willow Farms succeeded in its mission to spur on support for the good works of Children’s Hospital Colorado. A concert by Grammy-nominated Little Big Town highlighted a fun evening down on the farm near Larkspur, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Children’s ongoing mission to fight childhood diseases.

Activities focused on the cowboy way of life were augmented by well-appointed niceties in a spiffy setting. The cigar room was a stogie-lover’s dream with samples and comfy seating, a tequila tasting provided a spectrum of heady delights and a bootshine area ensured that guests were wearing their Saturday-night best. Silent-auction tables provided an assortment of enticements for savvy bidders and hors d’oeuvres satisfied appetites until the dinner bell. Outdoor pens housed two friendly camels next door to Lola and Stella, a robust pair of pigs. The porksters inspired a weight-guessing contest that won two extremely accurate folks a NOOK electronic reader (one winner was two pounds off, the other exactly on target).

Despite some occasionally hefty winds blowing through the gigantic open-air event structure, the evening went off without a hitch with ideal temperatures in the idyllic Colorado-country setting. After a hearty dinner provided by Epicurean Catering, the short program included remarks by Children’s Hospital Colorado CEO Jim Shmerling and Chief Research Officer Dr. Frederick Suchy. A sponsor-appreciation plaque was presented to Phipps-McCarthy representatives, aided by patient-ambassadors Emily Strand and Austin Beckner. 

The featured video presentation brought home the reason for the event, with children and doctors talking about their positive experiences at Children’s Hospital Colorado. A lively live auction garnered additional funds for the facility: $25,000 for a trip to Nashville for the Country Music Awards in November, and $21,000 for an ultra-luxurious multi-night stay at a coveted Cuvee resort property.

Guests downed a few extra bites of apple pie before Little Big Town burst onstage with recent hit “Little White Church.” Band members packed a wallop into their hour-long concert, belting out solid vocals and melodic harmonies in toe-tapping hits and mellow ballads. A dance floor in front of the stage allowed room for boot-scootin’ moves, and more than once, a band member reached down to high-five a fan. After the concert, a marshmallow roast with all the fixin’s topped off the cowboy-centric event.

Founded in 1908, Children’s Hospital Colorado changed to its current name on June 22, 2011, to better distinguish its national reputation among childrens’ medical centers and reflect its comprehensive network of care throughout the region. Children’s Hospital Colorado remains dedicated to the belief that all children should have the opportunity for a bright and healthy future. Consistently ranked among the best hospitals for kids by publications that include U.S. News & World Report, Children’s is known throughout the mountain region for providing world-class patient care through a four-pronged commitment to family-centered care, advocacy, research and education. With philanthropic support, Children’s can extend its reach as a preeminent pediatric healthcare provider locally, nationally and internationally. For more information, visit Learn about support opportunities at

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