Yampa Valley Boys musicians Steve Jones, left, and John Fisher are among the local acts featured in the seventh annual Bluegrass Jam & Silent Auction benefit for Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express for Multiple Sclerosis. The band is joined by 3Wire, GibSong and Ragweed for an evening of bluegrass and folk music starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center.

Courtesy photo

Yampa Valley Boys musicians Steve Jones, left, and John Fisher are among the local acts featured in the seventh annual Bluegrass Jam & Silent Auction benefit for Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express for Multiple Sclerosis. The band is joined by 3Wire, GibSong and Ragweed for an evening of bluegrass and folk music starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center.

Bluegrass Jam to benefit multiple sclerosis center

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Past Event

Bluegrass Jam & Silent Auction benefit for Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express For Multiple Sclerosis

  • Saturday, January 24, 2009, 6:30 p.m. to midnight
  • Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / $20

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Bands playing the Bluegrass Jam:

¤ Yampa Valley Boys: Steve Jones and John Fisher sing what they call "cowboy music," or personal stories set to song. Hear them at http://cdbaby.com...>

¤ 3Wire: High-country bluegrass with the traditional instruments, including banjo, bass and mandolin. Listen to the band at www.myspace.com/3...>

¤ GibSong: Playing with a standard rock setup (plus a piano), GibSong covers a number of genres, from country to oldies to folk rock. "We can play anything from a Van Morrison tune to a Willie Nelson tune to a Johnny Cash tune," said singer and guitarist Gib Manzanares.

¤ Ragweed: Ragweed is a local bluegrass band.

GibSong guitarist and singer Gib Manzanares had been playing benefits for The Jimmie Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis for a couple of years when his brother was diagnosed with the chronic disease.

"Before he even had MS, I just thought it was a good cause," Manzanares said of performing at events like the sixth annual Bluegrass Jam & Silent Auction benefit. The event, organized by Wes Dearborn, is a way for Dearborn's team to raise money to participate in a ski race benefiting the Heuga Center.

"Now, it's like a tradition : and I look forward to being able to help," Manzanares said. On Saturday, GibSong will join local folk and bluegrass groups the Yampa Valley Boys, Ragweed and 3Wire for the bluegrass jam, a fundraiser for the 11th annual Steamboat Springs edition of the Vertical Express for MS ski race. The concert and open bluegrass jam starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center.

In its sixth year, the event usually brings in about $10,000 for Wes Dearborn's fundraising team; Vince Arroyo and Michelle Avery are his teammates. Going past that with other events and donation gathering, Dearborn said he has ever-increasing fundraising goals for the benefit.

"My personal goal in years past has been that I've raised more money than I did the previous year," Dearborn said. "I've gotten up to $23,000, so we're going for $25,000 this year."

In its 25th year, the Heuga Center, a nonprofit organization in Edwards, aims to improve the quality of life for people living with MS and their families through programs in education, wellness, exercise and life management. Through the winter, more than 15 United States ski resorts hold races in the Vertical Express for MS; three-person teams must raise at least $1,000 to participate.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system; symptoms can range in severity from numbness of limbs to paralysis, according to the Web site for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

"Unless you've really known somebody who has MS, it's hard to really understand," Manzanares said. At Saturday's bluegrass jam, Jimmie Heuga will be honored as a special guest.

All participating bands donate their time to perform, and about a dozen local businesses - including Steamboat Smokehouse, Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co., Soda Creek Pizza and Backcountry Provisions - have donated food and drinks for the event.

"We're just trying to promote fun-raising - as in fun," Dearborn said, adding that the cause the event supports will stay in focus.

"It's all about the Heuga Center and Jimmie Heuga."

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