The nearly 700 men attending University of Colorado Hospital Foundation’s “Men for the Cure” pulled the pink out of their closets as a show of solidarity in the fight against breast cancer.

“It’s nice to see men out for this cause,” said first-time volunteer Ashley Pokrzywinski. With wide smiles, deep laughs, and an air of camaraderie, it appeared the men were enjoying their gathering. They moved in and out of the pristine XJet facility. In the true spirit of the event’s founding members known as the “Red Meat and Cigars” crowd, The Robust Room passed out complimentary cigars from Nicaragua’s oldest as well as its newest cigar manufacturers. Men took to the outside for a few puffs. Inside, guys socialized while Bad Candy, a talented trio with guitars, moved seamlessly through classic rock, bluegrass, country, and contemporary tunes.

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

A hard-working trio for the Cure: Ed Greene, left, Sharon Magness Blake, Ernie Blake

Goodie bags donated by Neiman Marcus contained an assortment of Kiehl’s premium beauty products proved to be the perfect bookend to the more male-oriented cigars. Event co-founder and sponsor Sharon Magness-Blake cheekily reminded the men to be sure to return home with the lovely little signature silver Neiman’s bag.

Silent auction items weighed heavy toward sports with signed footballs and enticing golf packages. Patrons were also putting pen to paper to bid for a guitar autographed by Rascal Flatts. Other revenue generators included high-end wines for sale by the bottle. And one lucky ticket holder drove home in a 2014 Lexus GS350 provided by Kuni Lexus of Greenwood Village.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has been attending the dinner long before he took office. He spoke about the dinner’s history. “This dinner has raised $1.3 million, yet our work is not done until we have won.”

Speaking of winning, John Fox, coach of the 5-0 Denver Broncos, took to the stage as the event’s keynote speaker. After sharing that he doesn’t usually make appearances during football season, he spoke about his own family connections to the disease. Then, he smiled and confessed he didn’t have time to prepare remarks. Audience members filled the space by asking him an array of questions from football talk to favorite foods.

To date, the dinner has raised nearly $1.3 million to advance breast cancer research, care, and early detection education at University of Colorado Hospital. Proceeds from Men for the Cure have been used to purchase medical equipment such as an Atec Vacuum Assisted biopsy machine, a digital specimen radiography system, and a stereotactic biopsy table; support a nurse navigator who provides hands-on personal care, guidance and support for the many patients and families receiving care at the Cancer Center; fund breast cancer research led by Virgina Borges, MD; and launch a mobile mammography van initiative to improve access to screenings and aid with early detection for women throughout the Denver-metro area.

Four men purchased award-winning travel and once-in-a-lifetime sport auction items. One man left with a Lexis. Everyone ate delicious tenderloin. Not a bad end to a night with the guys.