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High Altitude Society: ‘Homes on the Range’ a hit in Vail Valley

Annah Scully
High Altitude Society
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail Society: Brooks Wallace and Lisa Efraimsen
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VAIL, Colorado –It was boots, ball gowns, big hats, and leather fringe as far as the eye could see in Colorado’s Vail Valley. Habitat for Humanity’s annual fundraiser, The Carpenters’ Ball, was held March 13 at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. This year Habitat added a western twist with their “Home on the Range” theme, and the 350 plus attendees arrived in glitzy cowboy glory. It was like “Unforgiven” meets “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Vice President of the Habitat Board, Stacey Nibbelink and former President Barbara Scrivens, personified the look of the evening in their stunning gowns and sassy cowboy hats. Nibbelink explained that the event’s mission was to raise funds to help build a stronger community and help families help themselves based on the aspirations of the “Cowboy Code.”

“Part of that code states, ‘We do what needs to be done,'” she said. “We celebrate how important it is to have decent affordable housing. At Habitat we don’t give homes away; we make it affordable and we do this through community support.”



“The proceeds go toward local families in need,” said Executive Director John Welaj. “Habitat is an international non-profit and has been in Eagle County since 1995. It has helped 31 local families here and in Lake County.”

This year Jim and Mary Hagen, Mack and Nancy Nichols, and Bud and Marie Wonsiewicz were honored for their pioneering spirit and commitment. In addition to their previous support, the three couples came together at the event to pledge $120,000 and meet the goal of building a home in Eagle County.



Tom and Joan Harned were spotted signing up on silent auction sheets. Tom is an Ambassador for Habitat.

“It’s a goo dwill mission you do daily in life,” he said.

Nicky DeFord of Vail Resorts Echo joined Kristin Williams, Gina Jelacic and me in a “cowboy boot off.” This reporter picked Gina’s boots as “best of show” for their butter black leather and rock and roll rhinestones.



Ted and Stephanie Archibeque paused for a picture in front of the hay bales and western signposts.

“We’re here to have fun and support a great cause,” said Ted, (who, remarkably, has matured slightly since his rowdy high schools days. As his former English teacher, this reporter should know.)

Brooks Wallace wielded a drill instead of a six shooter, protecting his date Lisa Efraimson as Rita Mueller, and Andy Wallace and wife, Jules, strutted their western finest. Jules oozed rodeo queen in her Double D Ranch blue velvet dress with silver Concho buttons.

Gina Jelacic noted,”I love this event because people are dressed from super elegant to Carharts. Habitat crosses all socio-economic, cultural, religious, and political beliefs. It’s for everyone.”

For more information, visit http://www.HabitatVailValley.org.


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