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Relay for Life raises more than $63,000

Mayor Ross Aragon started the festivities at The Relay for Life last Friday by going into the Dunk Tank fully clothed in his usual spiffy outfit, pressed jeans and striped dress shirt.

He was followed into the water by various town and county officials and candidates, all of whom were terribly good sports. This started the carnival portion of the event, with kids jumping on an inflated castle and squealing down an inflated slide. There was a choo-choo train for the little people, and entertainment by The DJ Dude, the High Country Squares and the Pagosa Line Dancers. Two great foot-stomping bands also provided music that kept out spirits high — Rockola Deluxe Rock and Roll Band and the High Country Blues Band.

Mary McKeehan opened the ceremonies and got everyone belly-laughing, putting them in the proper mood. The blessing was then given by the Rev. Leslie Judge of Our Savior Lutheran Church, and Mamie Lynch gave the opening remarks.

The Survivors’ Lap started at 7 p.m., with the survivors heading in one direction around the track, and their caregivers, the other. When the two groups met in the middle, there was laughing, hugging and tears of joy for survival and everything these brave people had all gone through. It is always the most moving moment during the Relay, and this year was no different.

There was so much going on! The interior of the track was filled with tents for those hearty souls who were planning to overnight and keep the relay going (Connie Prunty’s CenturyLink tent won the trophy for the most decorated). One brave teenager, wrapped in a blanket, walked throughout the entire night, stopping only a couple of times for hot chocolate, displaying the true spirit of Relay. A hat was passed to challenge Barbara Briles into the Dunk Tank, and $240 was taken up in less then 30 minutes. Mission accomplished!

The silent auction tent was filled with incredible donations, and over $3,000 was made on this event alone. The Lutheran Church’s Motorcycle Poker run made nearly as much. All in all, over $63,000 was taken in this year, and we are still counting. Donations can be made for 2010 until Aug. 20.

The coveted PIG trophy went to the Ladies of Alpine Lakes Ranch for the third year in a row. They raised over $13,000. Second place went to Our Savior Lutheran Church with $6,888, and third to Rotary with $6,200. The top individual fund-raisers, no surprise to anyone, were Barbara Briles (event chair and Ladies of Alpine Lakes Ranch), Alicia Brodner (Our Savior Lutheran Church) and Lynn Groshans (Ladies of Alpine Lakes Ranch).

The Relay for Life organizers and The American Cancer Society thank all who participated.