A long-planned cowboy-themed annual fundraiser for the newly formed Westerner Foundation is expecting to go ahead in September.
Cowboy Kicks is a benefit dinner and auction, with special guest Brett Kissel.
Described as a “uniquely Western, arts meets west” evening, the Sept. 18 event in the Centrium will feature raffles and the auctioning of one-of-a-kind hand-painted Fibreglas cowboy boots and live entertainment from the award-winning Canadian country music star.
Cowboy Kicks will raise money for the Westerner Park’s foundation, as well as the volunteer-led Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team, said organizer Kathy Lacey.
An ultimate goal of Cowboy Kicks, as well as Westerner Park’s capital campaign, is to replenish the Major Maintenance Fund, Lacey added.
The Westerner Foundation will take stewardship of the money raised to ensure it goes towards needed capital upgrades — for example, to purchase a replacement ice maker for the Centrium, or to improve heating and air-conditioning systems, or do roof repairs.
Volunteer fundraiser Joan Donald said the Centrium is now 30 years old, so needs some upgrades. New spectator seating is among the most recent improvements. But the Centrium’s ice plant and climate control systems are nearing the end of their lifespans.
The Westerner Foundation was formed last spring to help maintain Westerner Park’s facilities and ensure their long-term sustainability and improvement, said Mike Olesen, executive-director of the foundation, as well as CEO of Westerner Park.
Olesen said a group of community leaders — including Lyn Radford and John Donald — have been recruited to the foundation’s board.
He believes a committee of volunteers will still plan most of the fundraisers, but with the formation of a foundation, community donors can rest assured that a stewardship group is in place to ensure the money goes towards needed projects, instead of into general operations.
“It’s absolutely the right approach. It leverages our opportunities, as a charity, to raise funds to ensure the long-term sustainability of our facilities.”