Red Ball Express returns to Steamboat Ski Area, tickets now on sale
March 28, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Eight Steamboat Springs nonprofits serving youth will benefit from the fourth annual Red Ball Express, a fundraiser that sends more than 100 giant red exercise balls down the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area.
This year’s event takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 7, but participants can get their $10 entry ticket now, with each ticket allowing the buyer to adopt two red balls and a chance to win as much as $2,500.
The event is organized by the Ski Town USA Rotary Club and will benefit the Steamboat All Stars, Steamboat Soccer Club, Interact Club, Partners in Routt County, Steamboat Springs Boy Scouts, Steamboat Skating Club, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition and Methodist Church Youth Group.
"We like its inclusive approach, which shares the proceeds across multiple agencies," said Partners in Routt County Executive Director Michelle Petix. "And Rotary itself supports many of these same agencies and projects that are all good for the community. The tickets' low cost is also very inclusionary, making it accessible for people to purchase.”
Petix added the funds will help the organization market itself, letting the community know who Partners is, what it does and that it needs mentors.
"If we raise even $500, that can cover one month of activities, or three months of gas for the van to transport youth," she said. "But if we get one person to sign up to be a mentor, that could be a lifetime of a difference to a child."
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Rotary member and event chair Loryn Kasten said the organization likes that the event gives nonprofits a chance to raise money for themselves.
“It gives nonprofits a great funding source for a super fun event,” Kasten said.
Tickets are available from each of the nonprofits, with $5 from each ticket going directly to the organizations. Tickets are also available until 2:30 p.m. the day of the event from Ski Town USA Rotarians.
“The more pre-sales we can funnel towards nonprofits, the better,” Kasten said.
Grand Futures Routt County Executive Director Lindsey Simbeye said the organization will benefit from both their ticket sales and the additional funds raised for Rotary, which recently gave it a grant for a youth summit.
"It's a fun event and a great way to get our name out there," said Simbeye, whose advisory council members, board members and staff are helping sell the tickets. "The money raised stays within each of the three counties we serve. A lot of our substance abuse prevention programming is covered under state and local grants, but because we don't have a fee-for-service model or tax subsidiary, we don't often have funding opportunities to cover operating expenses. Any non-discretionary funding we can secure is vital."
She added that selling the tickets is relatively easy because it's a fun event offering something for everyone.
"Who doesn't want a chance to win money and help local nonprofits?" she asked.
For $10, participants receive two numbers, with the hope that the balls representing those numbers are among the first to cross the finish line on the ski area course. A package of 12 tickets is also available for $100. The person whose pair of numbers crosses the finish line first wins $2,500, followed by $1,000 for second and $500 for third.
In its first three years, the event has raised more than $50,000 for local nonprofits.