Wild West Day ready to roll again Sunday | VailDaily.com

Wild West Day ready to roll again Sunday

Scott N. Miller

Special to the DailyA few potato sack races ensure the kids will be nice and tired on the drive home.

EAGLE COUNTY – Kelly Haney is almost ready for a sigh of relief and a nap.

Haney is the head organizer for the 15th annual Wild West Day, a massive fund-raiser for the parent organizations at the Eagle County School District’s eight elementary schools.For the last year, Haney – who has a kid at Gypsum Elementary School – has watched in wonder as Wild West Day veterans from Vail to Gypsum have pulled together games, bake sales, silent auction items and the zillion details that go into one day of fun and fund-raising, she said. “I really feel like I have the A Team behind me,” Haney said. “And If it wasn’t for Marcy Donovan, who was the chairwoman last year, I would have been lost.”Wild West Day is a nearly year ’round effort for a number of people who run committees. But most of the more than 500 volunteers contribute to the bake sale, or help run games or parking.

Now in her seventh year of Wild West Day volunteering, Betsy Laughlin has spent time on a host of projects. For the past two years, she’s been the organizer at Meadow Mountain Elementary School. She estimated she’s put between 40 and 60 hours into the job over the last two years.Why do Laughlin and other parents do all this work? Because Wild West Day is a one-shot deal. With one big fund-raiser, kids don’t have to hawk candy, wrapping paper and other trinkets during the school year.”It’s a wonderful thing,” Laughlin said. “Your kids aren’t going door to door selling.”And Wild West Day raises a big pile of money for the parent groups. In the past, each elementary school parent group has received between $10,000 and $15,000 per year.The groups may get more this year. Haney said the event is on pace to raise nearly $200,000 this year. The money raised gets put into “extras” for every school.At Meadow Mountain, Wild West Day money has gone into library books and math materials. Across the district, Wild West Day money pays for visits by authors, assemblies and field trips.This year’s event will mirror the last few, Haney said, with a silent auction, bake sale, bands playing, and pony, trail and wagon rides for adults and kids. One thing that won’t be back is the bungee jump, because of insurance reasons.And with the event set for Sunday, Haney still marvels at the people who pull the event together.”There’s just an amazing dedication from everyone who does this,” she said.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.On the Web:www.wildwestday.orgVail Daily, Vail Colorado