Like a favorite song, this year’s Colorado Celebrity Classic put together all the right notes for a summertime fundraiser that has become a must-attend event. Combining country heart and patriotic soul, guests were treated to an evening of crowd-pleasing food and musical entertainment to benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). On Friday, June 16, the Steve Grove Family Ranch was the place to be for more than 400 survivors and supporters of an organization designed to give empathetic care to those grieving the loss of a loved one who served in the armed forces.

Pete Coors (second from left) and members of the Coors Cowboy Club “Chuckwagon Crew”

This year’s Celebrity Classic combined its former annual Friday-night Songwriters Show with the day-after Saturday concert, producing one event that allowed guests to catch stellar entertainment, along with the stories behind the hits. The evening began with a performance by Tony David’s WildeFire group, as guests strolled outside to choose their favorites among a delectable pit-fired, prime-rib dinner prepared by the Coors Cowboy Club “Chuckwagon Crew” from Amarillo, Texas. Pete Coors was among the genial servers.

A short program emceed by KOA NewsRadio’s Steffan Tubbs featured TAPS families on stage, and the organization’s founder, Bonnie Carroll, spoke to the crowd along with survivor Laura Benton. Al Duran and Rob O’Regan were recognized for their hard work, honored as this year’s recipients of the Tony David Volunteers of the Year Award. A live auction was run with efficiency and fun by Roger Sierens, as patrons bid on a number of sports and entertainment packages. Among some familiar faces spotted in the crowd: U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, Denver Nuggets icon Bill Hanzlik and former Rockies ace Jason Hirsh.

A friend and fan poses with All-4-One

Taking the stage for the Songwriters Show were award-winning singer-songwriters Billy Montana, Frank Myers, Keni Thomas and Jimmy Nichols. The four not only performed their popular hits, but also shared personal anecdotes with a rapt audience. The evening ended with a lively set performed by internationally acclaimed R&B group All-4-One, who wowed the crowd.

Entertaining the crowd (l to r): Billy Montana, Keni Thomas, Frank Myers and Jimmy Nichols

The annual, accompanying golf event morphed this year from competitive tournament to a fun-focused outing at Eisenhower Golf Club at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Limited to 10 teams, the event’s Saturday-morning, single-ball golf format was followed up by a relaxing lunch.

TAPS was founded in 1994 by military veteran Bonnie Carroll after her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll (former staff member in the Reagan and Bush White Houses), was killed in a plane crash in Alaska. TAPS was created to provide compassionate care, casework assistance and round-the-clock emotional support for those impacted by the death of a military loved one. To date, the organization has helped more than 70,000 surviving family members. TAPS has been awarded four out of four stars from Charity Navigator, and Carroll received the Medal of Freedom for her work in 2015.

Cute boots! TAPS family Laura (left) and Gabriela Benton

Carroll writes: “TAPS is a family built on love made up of all of us who have come together from across the country and around the world through shared experience. We are here for each other, with comfort, care and resources…All services are offered to survivors at no cost. TAPS Casework is another free service to help with military benefits, emergency financial support and education entitlements for surviving children, healthcare questions, or access to reports and investigations. The Helpline is available anytime day or night (800-959-TAPS (8277)). TAPS can connect survivors with free and unlimited grief counseling in addition to a TAPS Peer Mentor.” For more information, please visit:

Blacktie Colorado
Blacktie Colorado