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June 16, 2012 - Michael Martin Murphey Headlines Toe-Tappin' TAPS Grand Finale

What: Country-themed reception, silent auction, dinner and star-studded concert featuring Michael Martin Murphey

Where: Steve Grove’s Ranch at Cherry Creek

When: Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time: 5:30 p.m. till the cows come home

Ticket Prices: $175 reserved seating, $150 open seating; tables: $1,750 to $5,000

Beneficiary: TAPS programs to help care for bereaved military families

EMCEE: Steffan Tubbs, KOA radio host

Honorary Chairperson(s): U.S. Senator Mark Udall; U.S. Senator Michael Bennet; Congressman Mike Coffman; Congresswoman Diana DeGette; Congressman Cory Gardner; Congressman Doug Lamborn; Congressman Ed Perlmutter; Congressman Jared Polis; Congressman Scott Tipton; Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; Attorney General John Suthers; State Treasurer Walker Stapleton; Secretary of State Scott Gessler

Founders: Bonnie Carroll

Committee Members: TAPS Patriots: Tom Allee; Dan Caplis & Aimee Sporer; Scott Celley, TriWest Health Care Alliance; Bill & Rita Bass Coors; Tony & Danielle David; Steve & Marla Grove; Colorado State Representative Marsha Looper; Brig. General Steve Ritchie, Retired; Mike Rosen Craig & Trish Silverman; Colorado State Representative Nancy Todd; Steffan Tubbs

Catering: Coors Cowboy Club “Chuckwagon Crew” from Amarillo, Texas

Entertainment: Dinner music: Tony David, Pam Hughes & Kerry Edwards

Music: Michael Martin Murphey, Eddy Raven, Richie Law, All in the Family, The Lawmen

Sponsors: Aimco Apartment Homes, American Furniture Warehouse, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Coors Cowboy Club, Red Lion Hotel, Greiner Electric, WizBang Solutions

Attire: Golf or western-casual

Event Coordinator: Bo and Lynne Cottrell

Board of Directors: Bonnie Carroll, founder & TAPS president; Charlotte Tsoucalas, chairman; Heidi Anderson, Deborah James, LTC Scott Rutter (USA, Retired), Bradley Jacobs, Sue Mandry, John B. Wood

Steering Committee: Fred & Jana Bartlit; Bartlit Beck, Herman Palenchar & Scott LLC; Gordon Burr; Christine Q. Burtt; John & Randee Conley; Pete & Marilyn Coors; Miles & Jan Cortez, AIMCO; Jake Jabs; American Furniture Warehouse; Eddie & Jane Johnson; Mort & Edie Marks; David McIntyre, CEO of TriWest Health Care Alliance; Tom & Jill Tarver, Greiner Electric; Randall Taylor; Brian & Patricia Watson, Colorado Party Rentals

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Marla and Steve Grove, TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, Miles Cortez, Jake Jabs and emcee Steffan Tubbs
Marla and Steve Grove, TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll, Miles Cortez, Jake Jabs and emcee Steffan Tubbs

With hectic schedules and busy lives, sometimes the thought of running off to a ranch in the countryside sounds like the perfect escape. On a perfect summer evening, around 600 big-hearted folks had the opportunity for a breath of fresh air—and some mighty fine food and entertainment—at the Grand Finale Concert, part of this year’s Colorado Celebrity Classic. Held at Steve and Marla Grove’s ranch southeast of Denver, the seventh annual event was created to benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), dedicated to helping military families coping with the death of a service member.

The two-day weekend began with Friday’s Songwriters Show & Kickoff, (see link followed by a golf Celebrity Classic at nearby Bear Dance the next day. Saturday night’s Grand Finale Concert and Dinner lived up to its name with a mouth-watering prime-rib dinner followed by a stellar lineup of one talented performer after another, headlined by Michael Martin Murphey. Red, white and blue-meets-country/western was the perfect combination for a relaxing evening in the deluxe, open-air barn, as guests gussied up in cowboy couture worthy of a bigtime Saturday night…or just a comfy pair of jeans. Golfers playing in the morning tournament added to the genial mix, talking about great shots—or the ones that got away.

The evening began with a silent auction and reception, augmented by the irresistible aroma of smoked meats that lured guests outdoors to grab all the fixin’s for a hearty prime-rib dinner. Delicious chow prepared by the Coors Cowboy Club “Chuckwagon Crew” from Amarillo, Texas, was augmented by a spirited, 90-minute dinner performance by Tony David, Pam Hughes and Kerry Edwards. KOA radio’s Steffan Tubbs emceed a pre-concert program that honored hard-working event co-directors Bo and Lynne Cottrell, plus the support of Groves, Miles Cortez and Jake Jabs. TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll spoke about the positive results of the organization's programs, including the Good Grief Camp held at Fort Carson. One young survivor spoke eloquently about the brother she lost, while another youngster released a balloon containing a note to his fallen father.

Industry-spanning luminaries at the event included former Bronco quarterback Brian Griese, Bill Hanzlick of the Denver Nuggets, actor John Ashton from Beverly Hills Cop, KOA radio host Mike Rosen, Congressman Mike Coffman, Craig Silverman from KHOW radio. Roger Sierens presided over a live auction that reflected the crowd’s heartfelt support, whether it was donating back an item for duplicate bids or just pledging on-the-spot cash. At auction's end, the crowd sat back for a medley of country-focused performers who stormed the stage with energy and pure talent: The Lawmen (with Cottrell and Jabs), All in the Family, American Idol’s supposed “bad boy” from Centennial Richie Law, “Thank God for Kids” songwriter/performer Eddy Raven, and the smooth singing and guitar riffs of Murphey—best known for crossover hits "Wildfire" and "Carolina in the Pines."

Founded in 1994 by Carroll after the tragic death of her husband, TAPS is a frontline resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. The organization has assisted more than 35,000 surviving family members, casualty officers and caregivers by providing peer-based emotional support and companionship, grief and trauma resources, seminars, casework assistance and 24/7 crisis intervention care. Specialized training for helping professionals and peer mentors is also available.

TAPS has been recognized by Congress as one of the best-run military service organizations in the country, and offers all of its services free of charge. A private, nonprofit with no government funding, 90 percent of donations go directly to programs and services. TAPS’ National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for children have been held annually in Washington, D.C. every Memorial Day weekend—regional locations for camps and seminars include Fort Carson, Colo. For more information, visit

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