The Education Foundation of Eagle County aims to raise $160,000 at Wild West Day

The nonprofit is gearing up for the 33rd annual fundraiser, its biggest for Eagle County School District’s youngest students

The Education Foundation of Eagle County's annual Wild West Day serves as the main fundraising effort for all the public school district's elementary schools and preschools.
Education Foundation of Eagle County/Courtesy Photo

The Education Foundation of Eagle County is gearing up for the 33rd year of one of its largest fundraisers, Wild West Day. The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 24, at 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott with the goal of bringing in $160,000 to support Eagle County School District’s eight elementary schools and preschools.  

“Depending on the measure, Colorado ranks 45th to 50th in the nation in funding public education. The money raised at Wild West Day helps teachers and schools to provide programming and positive experiences for Eagle County Schools’ elementary and preschool students,” said Wendy Rimel, president of EFEC’s board of directors.

EFEC is a local nonprofit that works to advocate for public education as well as support the school district in meeting students’ intellectual and emotional needs. Primarily, Rimel said its focus is on supporting in-school programs for student enrichment and mental health support as well as supporting efforts to “retain top teacher talent.”

Rimel added that the organization is the “No. 1 teacher retention effort in Eagle County.”

The idea behind Wild West Day is to consolidate the fundraising for elementary schools to once a year, rather than exhausting fundraising resources with schools doing it individually and year-round. 

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The funds raised from Wild West Day are distributed to each of the participating schools and their parent-led organizations. In the past, the event has raised up to $20,000 per school to support the budgets of the parent-teacher associations and organizations.

“The success of Wild West Day has allowed the parent-led organizations to enrich the learning experience of thousands of Eagle County School children over the years,” Rimel said. “PTAs and PTOs have provided funding to purchase programming materials, educational assemblies, field trips, school supplies, books, art and music supplies, programs, academic enrichment, author visits, and have granted teachers funds for classroom supplies and special projects.”

If you go…

What: EFEC’s Wild West Day
When: Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott (4098 SH-131, Wolcott)
Cost: Entry tickets are $8 a person

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In addition to charging $8 for entry to all who attend Wild West Day, these funds are generated by raffle ticket sales, a silent auction, sponsorships of the event as well as cash donations.

The event itself will feature free games, food, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, crafts and more with entry.

“Most of all, community members attending Wild West Day will experience the joy of collaborating together across all walks of life to give back to education, the foundation of all of our futures,” Rimel said.

Rimel noted that Wild West Day is predominately a volunteer-led event that includes students: Homestake Peak School’s eighth-grade class volunteered to run the free games all day.

“The community’s commitment makes me want to work harder and makes me know how much we all deeply care about our kids and schools,” she said. “The way people come out for this event is awe-inspiring … giddy up is an understatement.”

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