How many area musicians ...

will it take to fill the stage for this year's Music Jam?

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Wes Dearborn got involved with Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express because he likes to ski fast, but over the years, as he met people with multiple sclerosis and listened to their stories, it became more than that.

"I realized that this is a great event," Dearborn said. "They reeled me in with their attitude, focusing on what you can do and not on what you can't. That hooked me, because that's how I am about life."

Each year, Dearborn Builders puts together a ski team (Airborn/Dearborn) to race for three hours doing laps on Sitz/See Me. Because the run is closed, racers can ski at any speed. Last year, skiers were clocked at 79 mph.

Dearborn, whose goal is to break 80 mph at Saturday's event, has been participating as a racer for seven years. But three years ago, he decided to take the fund-raiser a step further by organizing an annual Music Jam to finish the day and round out the coffers.

The event starts at 8 p.m. at the Depot Art Center. Tickets are $15, but anyone who shows up with an instrument gets in free.

Local band 3 Wire begins the night with a one-hour set and then the stage is open for a free-for-all. Any musician with an acoustic instrument is welcome.

Members of the Humble Pickers, the Brew Glass Boys and the Yampa Valley Boys plan to be there.

"After we play our set, it gets pretty informal," 3 Wire guitar player Dave Hanley said. "If most of the members of another band show up and want to play a few tunes, we'll let them play or if you just want to jump in when you know the tune, that's OK, too.

"We've tried to set up the mics for as many people as we can."

Music will continue until well after midnight.

Walt Seabert of the Humble Pickers attended the Music Jam last year and hopes to make it again this year.

"It was a neat scene," he said. "There was two of every instrument up there. It was a lot of fun and went on pretty late. I saw quite a few people I knew, but for me, it was kind of an adventure of meeting some new people and doing something different."

Several musicians who have other gigs that night -- Randy Kelley, Chris and Deanna Koebnick -- plan to show up late to add their instruments to the mix.

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