Hometown favorite Tony David and WildeFire will be the opening performance. Photos by Scottie Iverson
Bo and Lynne Cottrell were The Villager’s Sweetheart Couple of the Year several years ago. They continue to be a team and the force behind our local fundraiser – Colorado Celebrity Classic to benefit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Actually, when you hear or see the name TAPS, one automatically associates the name with the Cottrells. They have been directors of this unique fundraiser for 12 years and it has grown to be the largest moneymaker for the organization outside of the huge gala in the Washington, D.C. area, contributing over $4 million to the cause. They have attracted over 70 volunteers for 2018 to make the evening run smoothly with emphasis on a speedy check-in Saturday, June 16.
Bo served in the U.S. Army so he saw and felt the tragedies. He is emotional when recalling how he and Lynne began their journey to help TAPS. While on staff for Make-A-Wish, Bo had lunch with U.S.A.F. Brig. Gen. Steve Richie who asked if he would be interested in helping TAPS. Not understanding fully what TAPS meant, he didn’t answer right away. Soon after, he received a call from a high school buddy in tears. The body of his buddy’s son was just brought home from Afghanistan. Bo asked his buddy if he knew anything about TAPS. “Thank God for TAPS,” he said. “I don’t know what we would have done without the support.” Bo called Richie to say he was in. The first year was complicated with several elements – golf and three shows. Over the years, the classic has been simplified and there has been no golf the last two years. The Cottrells have enjoyed tremendous backing from the likes of Bill Coors, Pete Coors and Jake Jabs. The Coors Cowboys (Chuckwagon Crew) still come in from Amarillo, Texas to prepare a feast with generous portions for the attendees.
Bo and Lynne Cottrell
On a pure cold call early on, Bo stopped by the ranch of Steve Grove and asked the gentleman owner if the perfectly manicured arena (barn) could be used for a special event. Without hesitation, the answer was yes, and the rest is history. The event is always sold out. Who can resist the pit-roasted prime rib with all the trimmings, the big star entertainment and the venue? Bo, a performer himself, opened for several big show business acts including Red Buttons, Rosie Clooney (as he calls her) Jimmy Rogers, Pat Boone and the “Four Everything (as he labels all the groups of four).” The cultivating of those relationships and the old Taylor’s Supper Club connections certainly help when securing featured talent for TAPS. This year, the Cottrells are excited to bring in CMA, ACM and Grammy-Award winning Pam Tillis who will also have stories to share about her father. Also, the talented songwriters are always popular and it’s fun to hear the story behind each song. Some of Nashville’s best will be onstage – Billy Montana, Frank Meyers and Jimmy Nichols. “You don’t even have to like country music to appreciate the performances,” said Lynne. A small silent auction will be complemented by a large live auction. “TAPS made a difference in my life since I’ve seen the sacrifices families make when their loved ones, who have served our country, are lost. I appreciate more and more what TAPS does for families and how much the families appreciate all the support. I get to know the families. The worst tragedy is the suicide rate being 22 per day and 85 attempts. There is no closure. No honor.” Among the many programs and personal support opportunities TAPS offers are: Survivor’s Seminar and Good Grief Camp, mentoring for teens and Suicide Survivor Seminar. The mission is to bring comfort and care for families of our fallen heroes and make connecting possible with others walking a similar path.
On Sept. 6, there will be a show in Colorado Springs to introduce TAPS to that market. Next year will be even bigger as TAPS celebrates its 25th Anniversary. For further information: taps.org/colorado, lcottrell@TAPS.org or 303-696-0450.
What TAPS is all about.
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