Gypsum teen has future in the party business |

Gypsum teen has future in the party business

Dominique Taylor/EnterpriseStudent Beto Chavez, center foreground, and his fellow Eagle Valley High students helped him plan and produce a huge Cinco de Mayo party that raised about $8000, $3000 of which he is hoping to donate to the Shaw Cancer Center, with the rest covering his expenses.

Remember this name: Beto Chavez.

Judging from his first entry into the events-planning business, expect big things associated with Chavez in the future.

Chavez is a Gypsum native and a sophomore at Eagle Valley High School. He was the driving force behind the huge Cinco de Mayo celebration held at the Brush Creek Park earlier this month. During the daylong event, he arranged for 10 bands to perform along with folk dancers and kids activities. Billed as a family event and extensively promoted on the region’s new Latino radio station at 102.5 FM, Chavez hoped the celebration would draw 500 people. Instead, around 2,000 participants showed up.

“The community really supported us,” Chavez said.

The idea for the party began during a February casual conversation between Chavez and his mother. He talked about how he wished there was a big event for the local Latino community because most families travel outside the area to see bands perform or watch Folklorico dancers. From there the Cinco de Mayo plan evolved.

Over the course of two and one-half months, Chavez recruited entertainers, solicited vendors and lined up volunteers. Salvador Banderas, more commonly known as “Chava,” a popular D.J. on 102.5, helped with event promotion. Students from Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and New America schools agreed to staff the event.

“Beto was exceptionally organized and did an incredible job,” said Eagle Valley High School teacher and event volunteer Nicole Dewell. “I was literally stunned that high school students could pull this off. It just goes to show what teenagers can do when they put their minds to something.”

A picture-perfect day combined with an entertainment line-up that spoke to the local Latino community made for the Cinco de Mayo success. And despite larger-than-anticipated crowds, the event proceeded without a hitch.

“We were really impressed that there were so many people and no incidents,” says Eagle Police Sgt. Terry Simpkins. He noted the event’s popularity resulted in some predictable parking issues, but Simpkins praised the student staff for handling crowd control effectively and efficiently.

The celebration lasted from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. But when the party ended, the work was far from over for Chavez and his crew.

“It took hours to pick up,” he said. But the Cinco crowd pitched in and by 11:30 p.m., worn grass was the biggest evidence the big party left behind.

The event also has a legacy. Party-goers paid $3 per person to attend and gate receipts generated revenues of more than $8,000. After paying off their expenses, the student organizers plan to donate $4,500 to the Shaw Cancer Center.

“I know a lot of people who suffer with cancer,” Chavez said. A few years ago, his own mother was diagnosed with a tumor. Although her tumor was benign, the experience left a huge impact on Chavez. “If it had been cancer, we would have needed the support from other people,” he said.

Chavez hasn’t spent much time basking in the success of his first event. He’s already at work planning a Dia de los Ninos party ” a kids’ day celebration. Details will be forthcoming.

And his party-planning prowess has him contemplating his future. “I’m looking into this as a lifetime career,” he said.

Dewell added her support for that plan. “Beto certainly has a future in event organizing if he should choose to pursue it.”

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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