LA JUNTA – More than 240 area residents rang in the New Year on Dec. 31 at the Otero Junior College Banquet Room as part of the Second Annual New Year’s Eve Ag Gala. The Gala was a sold-out event, with 248 tickets sold. Proceeds from the event, sponsored by the OJC Foundation, will benefit a scholarship program for agriculture sciences students at OJC.
First held in 2012, the Ag Gala was created specifically to raise funds for this purpose. Last year’s event brought in more than $10,000 and funded four initial scholarships, to students Rhett Bandy, Brianna Huff, Josh Proctor and Asa Brown.
The 2013 event was an even bigger success, bringing in over $18,000. Through an agreement with the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges, this year’s proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by grant funds from the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, the Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.
Part of the Gala’s success was the sponsorship of 25 local businesses and families. Platinum sponsors were Colorado Vet Clinic, The State Bank and Farm Credit of Southeast Colorado.
Gold sponsors were La Junta Mill, La Junta Livestock, Howe Feeders, Shannon Trucking and Shannon Income Tax, EZ Ration Hay Processor, Hollar Seeds, First National Bank of Las Animas/ La Junta, Broce Well Service, 5 G Show Kids, Ordway Cattle Feeders, Riverside Realty, and Apishipa Ranch.
Silver sponsors were United Feeders, Howard Miller Land and Cattle, Brenton and Samme Ormiston, Pipeyard, Ryon Medical Associates and Huff Fire Extinguishers, Jim Crowder Family and Dustin and Brooke Matthew.
The evening began with a meal that included beef brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and dinner rolls. For dessert, party goers indulged in a decadent chocolate fountain and various dipping items, sponsored by Muth Welding Service and Dairy Queen of Las Animas. Following the meal, attendees danced to the music of Saddle Sores from Pritchett, sponsored by Tri County GM and the Rocky Ford Feed Yard.
The evening featured a live auction led by Ryan Sallee. The live auction alone raised $1,960 toward OJC agriculture scholarships. Auctions items included two sets of Denver Broncos playoff tickets, both sponsored by La Junta Economic Development; a Peyton Manning Photograph, sponsored by Paul Arellano; garden benches sponsored by OJC Grounds Crew; a basket of embroidered tea towels sponsored by Peggy Babb; Avalanche tickets sponsored by RMC Distributing; an autographed picture of Jean-Sebastian Giguere sponsored by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment; concrete flower pots sponsored by Casey Weaver; a jewelry basket sponsored by Illusions Salon; Salsa and Steak Sauce sponsored by Scaff Brothers; and two wine gift baskets, one sponsored by the OJC Foundation and the other by Shad and Jean Hinkle.
Students interested in applying for scholarships from the funds raised by this event must apply this spring and be enrolled in OJC’s Agriculture Science program for the 2014-15 school year. For more information, please visit the OJC web site at www.ojc.edu. Applications are due by April 1, 2014. For more information, please contact OJC Foundation Director Teri Erickson at (719) 384-6962 or OJC Agricultural Science Faculty Emma Locke (719) 384-6930 or Brooke Matthew (719) 384-6964.