Western fun at Vail Valley East West Hoedown | VailDaily.com

Western fun at Vail Valley East West Hoedown

Betty Ann Woodland
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail society: Courtney Thomas, Lauri Roach and Jake Roach dig in to Moe's BBQ

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –It was a rootin’ tootin’ good time at the East West Hoedown at the Eagle County Fairgrounds on Friday evening in Colorado’s Vail Valley. There was live country music, drawings for great prizes, good grub and new this year – a kid’s bouncy castle and bull riding.

One of this year’s beneficiaries, First Descents, is a program for young adults with cancer. Participants in the program learn kayaking and rock climbing skills to help them build confidence, have fun and forget about their cancer for awhile. The founder, Brad Ludden, is a fine cowboy who has dedicated much of his time and energy to helping this underserved population. Some First Descents alumni were at the Hoedown to celebrate and kick up their heels.

“I started this program right here in this Valley and since then, I am proud to say that we have hosted over 600 young adults with cancer and taught them to either kayak or rock climb,” Ludden said. “And through that process, hopefully helped restore some of the confidence and the support group that they lost with cancer.”

Ludden laid out some pretty sobering statistics – 70,000 young adults were diagnosed with cancer last year – but ended on a positive note stating that First Descents helps “shatter any illusion that their cancer made them fragile. It gives them their young adulthood back.”

We also heard from a representative of Colorado Mountain College’s Hero Scholarship program, Glenn Davis.

“The stories that I have heard are from people who had the intellectual capacity, desire, initiative and motivation to further their prospects and opportunities by getting their education,” Davis said. “There was one missing component and that was the financial part of it.”

The Hero Scholarship program currently helps 45 students and hopes to increase that to 60 students.

I am not sure who won the Western wear costume contest but, as you can see, there were some stylin’ hats, boots and leather duds at the Hoedown. Organizer Cara Connolly wants to thank all of the event’s sponsors and supporters and says “y’all come back next year.”

For more information visit http://www.EastWestHoedown.com.

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