Vail Daily letter: Tom and Tess Backhus there at the start
Vail, CO, Colorado
Several weeks ago, Tom and Tess Backhus sold their interest in 4 Eagle Ranch, and recently they returned to private life. I do not know if many people realize the enormous contribution that Tom and Tess made to the public schoolchildren of Eagle County. Without their initial and continuing support of Wild West Days, many extra school programs would not have been funded.
I was a member of the first committee that started Wild West Days. In the beginning, there were three schools that were involved in this fundraiser: Red Sandstone, Meadow Mountain and Edwards Elementary. After looking at different venues in the upper valley, it was decided that the event would be held at 4 Eagle Ranch. One main reason was parking, but the other reason was monetary. Tom and Tess did not hesitate to support us and offered the ranch at no charge.
The first Wild West Days was a learning experience for all of us, and we were surprised at how successful it was. The event has improved over the years, and now nine elementary schools in Eagle County participate in this event. September will mark the 20th anniversary of this event. Also, Wild West Days has become a fundraising model for other school districts. All of this could not have been accomplished without the help of Tom and Tess. They were more than instrumental in the success of Wild West Days.
Old-fashioned fun and memories were made at every Wild West Days at 4 Eagle Ranch. While I was attending a wedding about a month ago at the ranch, I thought that 4 Eagle had come full circle. The children who attended Wild West Days are now getting married there. The ranch has developed a life of its own, and you could not ask for a more beautiful setting.
I would like to thank both of you for your support of public schoolchildren and Wild West Days throughout the years. Good luck, and enjoy your time with your daughters and grandchildren.
Thanks for the memories.