After an incredible season up on the mountain, the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program (TASP) is setting up for its annual spring fundraiser this weekend. The Blue Party will be held Friday at the Transfer Warehouse from 5-8 p.m. While the Blue Party has been a TASP tradition for over 25 years, this will be the first time the event will be at the Transfer Warehouse.
“We want people to bundle up and come out for a dance party and have a really great community showing in support of Adaptive,” TASP Executive Director Courtney Stuecheli said.
Stuecheli explained that the fundraising event is called the Blue Party because of the iconic blue coats worn by TASP volunteers and instructors.
“This fundraiser sets the financial groundwork for summer programs. … We’re looking forward to a strong summer, and this event helps fund scholarships and some of the general operating costs associated with running a program like TASP,” Stuecheli added.
TASP plans to kick off the season with a few camps in Moab, and Stuecheli looks forward to a “strong summer.”
Tickets to Friday’s event include a glass of award-winning Emeritus Pinot Noir. The band Buffalo Commons will provide entertainment.
Buffalo Commons is a “soul grass” band out of Steamboat Springs. The band is led by Tyree Woods, a disabled Afghanistan War veteran who connected with TASP through Operation Encore, a nonprofit veteran music project.
Woods was injured in combat during his second tour, and once he came back, he started to write and play songs. Woods found music as a way he could process his experiences. In 2017, Woods got together a group of musicians and started Buffalo Commons. For Woods, performing at Friday’s event is more than just an act of volunteering. When he got back from his second tour, he was involved with a VA program similar to TASP. The program took him and other veterans paddle boarding, among other activities. According to Woods, the program made him feel like himself again, and there was “a good chance it saved his life.”
“When I get opportunities to do things with these groups I personally know the weight of what they do. I feel like that’s me giving back to something that gave so much to me,” Woods said.
Woods believes programs like TASP and Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports should be everywhere.
“We need people helping other people everywhere,” Woods added.
Buffalo Commons first record will be released in July 2022.
In addition to he Blue Party, TASP launched a virtual spring fundraising auction Thursday morning. The auction is open until March 18 with an ultimate goal of raising $80,000. While there will be QR codes at Friday’s event linking attendees to the auction, the auction is open to everybody throughout the week.
The virtual auction includes everything from luxury accommodations to vintage historical Telluride photographs to gift cards to restaurants and retailers in Telluride, Ridgway and Montrose.
“The community was exceptionally generous this year, and we’re grateful for the community support,” Stuecheli said.
In 2021-22, TASP celebrated its 25th year of providing therapeutic recreation to individuals with disabilities. TASP offers more than 50 different trainings for volunteers and instructors in providing a high level of care and instruction to participants.
Mountain Trip donated a Telluride Via Ferrata trip for four guests to the auction. Todd Rutledge, guide and director of Mountain Trip, said Mountain Trip has been supporting TASP for over 13 years. The program even taught one of Rutledge’s sons how to ski.
“The work they do to make the outdoors accessible to a pretty large segment of the population who otherwise might never be able to access different kinds of adventures is incredible, and we need to support their mission and help people access adventure,” Rutledge said.
The auction is one of the best ways to give to TASP and support their programming and mission.
“Funds raised in this auction will provide world-class adaptive programs for low-income, regional participants and for more than 180 veterans with disabilities. TASP serves more than 500 individuals in more than 3,100 adaptive lessons annually. We need your support now, more than ever, to keep the outdoors open to all!” according to the auction website.
Tickets for Friday’s Blue Party are $25-$35 and are available online until Friday at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit tellurideadaptivesports.org/event/blue-party-fundraiser/. To bid on the virtual auction and look at items, visit 32auctions.com/TASP2022.