After an incredible season on the mountain, the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP) is gearing up for its annual spring fundraiser this weekend. The Blue Party will take place Friday at the Transfer Warehouse from 5-8 p.m. While the Blue Party has been a TASP tradition for over 25 years, this will be the first time the event has taken place at the Transfer Warehouse.
“We want people to band together and go out for a dance party and have a really great community supporting Adaptive,” said Courtney Stuecheli, Executive Director of TASP.
Stuecheli explained that the fundraising event is called the Blue Party because of the iconic blue coats worn by TASP volunteers and instructors.
“This fundraiser lays the financial foundation for the summer programs. … We look forward to a strong summer, and this event helps fund scholarships and some of the general operating costs associated with running a program. like TASP,” Stuecheli added.
TASP plans to kick off the season with a few camps in Moab, and Stuecheli expects a “strong summer.”
Tickets to Friday’s event include a glass of award-winning Emeritus Pinot Noir. Buffalo Commons will provide entertainment.
Buffalo Commons is a “soul grass” band from Steamboat Springs. The band is led by Tyree Woods, a disabled Afghan War veteran who connected to TASP through Operation Encore, a nonprofit veteran music project.
Woods was injured in action on his second tour, and once he returned he began writing and performing songs. Woods found music as a way to process his experiences. In 2017, Woods assembled a group of musicians and launched Buffalo Commons. For Woods, performing at Friday’s event is more than just an act of volunteerism. When he returned from his second tour, he was involved in a VA program similar to TASP. The program saw him and other veterans go paddleboarding, among other activities. According to Woods, the program made him feel like himself again, and there was a “good chance it saved his life.”
“When I have the opportunity to do things with these groups, I personally know the weight of what they do. I feel like I’m giving back to something that gave me so much “Woods said.
Woods thinks programs like TASP and Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports should be everywhere.
“We need people helping other people everywhere,” Woods added.
Buffalo Commons’ first record will be released in July 2022.
In addition to the Blue Party, TASP kicked off a virtual spring fundraising auction on Thursday morning. The auction is open until March 18 with an ultimate goal of raising $80,000. Although there will be QR codes at Friday’s event connecting participants to the auction, the auction is open to everyone throughout the week.
The virtual auction includes everything from luxury accommodations and historic vintage Telluride photographs to gift cards for restaurants and retailers in Telluride, Ridgway and Montrose.
“The community has been exceptionally generous this year, and we’re grateful for the community’s support,” Stuecheli said.
In 2021-2022, TASP celebrated its 25th year of providing therapeutic recreation to people with disabilities. TASP offers over 50 different trainings for volunteers and instructors to provide a high level of care and instruction to participants.
Mountain Trip donated a Telluride Via Ferrata trip for four guests to the auction. Todd Rutledge, guide and director of Mountain Trip, said Mountain Trip has supported TASP for over 13 years. The program even taught one of Rutledge’s sons how to ski.
“The work they do to make the outdoors accessible to a fairly large segment of the population that otherwise could never access different types of adventures is amazing, and we need to support their mission and help people access on an adventure,” Rutledge said.
The auction is one of the best ways to give to TASP and support its programming and mission.
“Funds raised from this auction will provide world-class adaptive programs to low-income regional participants and over 180 veterans with disabilities. TASP serves over 500 individuals in over 3,100 adaptive lessons per year. We have need your support now, more than ever, to keep the outdoors open to everyone!” according to the auction site.
Tickets for Friday’s Blue Party cost between $25 and $35 and are available online until Friday at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit tellurideadaptivesports.org/event/blue-party-fundraiser/. To bid on the Virtual Auction and view the items, visit 32auctions.com/TASP2022.