Sailor Luau fundraiser set for Tuesday at Steamboat high school |

Sailor Luau fundraiser set for Tuesday at Steamboat high school

Luke Graham

— Pio Utu's presence at Steamboat Spring High School is undeniable.

He has trained athletes of all sports for years, and for free. When Utu sees a need, he does what he can to help.

The current need is money to cover the athletic department's projected budget shortfall, so Utu is helping to organize a Sailor Luau next week. The fundraiser will feature authentic Polynesian luau cuisine and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Steamboat Springs High School commons area.

"We need to find money somewhere and there is nothing like this community," Utu said. "We wanted to do a luau to bring together the community to have food and see people you haven't seen in a while. We wanted to get the high school kids involved with it. They have an ownership."

Food, dancing, music and other entertainment will be provided, including traditional Polynesian dance by high school athletes.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets are available at the high school, All That Jazz and Debbie Aragon's State Farm Insurance Agency office on Oak Street.

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Proceeds benefit the Steamboat Springs High School Booster Club, the Pio Utu Scholarship Fund and the Parent Information Committee at the high school.

"Any kind of fundraising opportunity we have is important with our budget for next year," Steamboat Athletics Director Luke DeWolfe said. "Hopefully we have a great turnout. This will really benefit kids in a variety of different things."

Utu organized a luau fundraiser in 2009 to benefit the Samoan Tsunami Relief Fund. That year, he raised more than $28,000.

Utu will roast a pig for Tuesday's benefit with help from several local businesses and restaurants, including Steamboat Smokehouse, Freshies, Carl's Tavern and Ciao Gelato.

There also will be a live auction. Any person interested in donating items for the auction should call Utu at 970-846-9064.

"We really encourage everybody to come," Utu said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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