by Nick Jurney, The Mountain Mail Staff Writer

Reprinted from the The Mountain Mail, May 5, 2014.

Around 230 people turned out Saturday for the 29th annual Caddis Festival pre- sented by the Collegiate Peaks Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited at Chaffee County Fairgrounds.

Jim Impara, host for the event and board of direc- tors member, said the event brought in over $15,000 from ticket sales and sponsor- ships and featured more than $30,000 in goods and servic- es donated for both live and silent auctions, though it will be unknown for several weeks how much the auctions brought in.

“The event was very good; it went smoothly, we had a good crowd, and we’re very satisfied with our community support,” Impara said. “We’re not one of the bigger chapters, but we are one of the more active chap- ters.”

Barbara Plake, another of the chapter’s directors, echoed that sentiment and said around 50 of the chapter’s esti- mated 280 members contrib- uted to putting on the event.

“We had a lot of people involved, and a lot of local businesses were very gener- ous,” Plake said. “We really feel supported by our commu- nity and feel very fortunate.”

The event featured a special presentation from Bob Gomez on behalf of Georgianna Ruth- erford, whose husband, Vern, was an original founding mem- ber of the Collegiate Peaks chapter and died in December 2012.
Georgianna donated $6,000 in her family’s honor to the chapter’s local scholarship fund to benefit the education of a qualifying local commu- nity member.
“Georgianna knows how much TU meant to Vern, so after further discussion, she has decided to pay it forward and contribute $6,000 to the local TU scholarship fund,” Gomez said during the pre- sentation. “You can say that TU and its members were like Vern’s family, and that’s what brings us here today.
“Vern would be proud that this contribution will assist our chapter in sponsoring the education of a qualifying local community member to pro- mote fisheries in our great state.”

The chapter then recognized four recipients of the scholar- ship in recent years, includ- ing Ellen Bauder, Kato Dee, Corbin Bennetts and Dan Piquette.

Bennetts and Piquette, who both attend Western State Colorado University in Gunni- son, both attended the festival.

“With the costs of college increasing every year, this scholarship helps me a lot,” Bennetts, a biology major and chemistry minor, said. “Being a wrestler, it really affords me the opportunity to not have to worry about finances as much, which allows me to focus on my studies and wrestling.”

Impara then spoke about some of the chapter’s upcom- ing projects, which include a U.S. 285 cleanup this month, willow tree planting at Hayden Meadows and youth fishing derbies at Frantz Lake.

“We’ve done a lot, we do a lot, and we’re going to continue to do a lot,” Impara said.

The event also featured a silent auction and catered buffet and was capped by a live auction featuring Roger Williams from High Country Antiques and Auctions.