Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Ponytail campaign a success


“I still got my ponytail. Praise God,” Steve Barrera said.

For the past few weeks, Barrera was busy trying to raise money for the 10th Annual Dean Quail Against Cancer Benefit and Run. Barrera was faced with the possibility of cutting off his 26-inch ponytail.

Barrera said the whole idea came about when he was chatting with volunteers for Chariots of Light, a Christian motorcycle club. He jokingly said that if they raise $1,000 he would cut his ponytail off.

He forgot about the whole thing until about one week later when he got a call from one of the volunteers saying they already had the $1,000.

“They came back to me and said I can keep my ponytail if I can raise $1,001,” he said.

Barrera raised a total of $3,142.18 from family, friends, businesses and strangers.

“I am still getting goosebumps even talking about it,” Barrera said.

He recalled how little kids took money out of their pockets and put it into his money sack while he was at the Bunning Park barbecue and auction for the fundraiser. That’s how he wound up with 18 cents.

“I was going around the park explaining my story and the challenge,” he said.

Last year, Barrera’s wife, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, was one of the recipients. Barrera felt he needed to help the organization that helped them.

“I do feel I was able to give back,” he said.

Barrera was surprised with just how much he raised. He said it went above and beyond his expectations.

What also exceeded his expectations was the 10th Annual Dean Quail Against Cancer Benefit and Run. He said Saturday was a beautiful day for the motorcycle ride. Thirty bikes and one automobile attended the drive, which started at Restoration Ministries. During the trip, motorcyclists went to Manila, Utah, Red Canyon Outlook, Dutch John, Utah and ended at Bunning Park.

“We want to thank all the riders that rode with us. We had a good, safe, ride,” Gene Emerson, Wyoming Chapter President for the Chariots of Light Motorcycle Ministry, said.

The group then met at Bunning Park to host a barbecue and auction. All of the proceeds raised will go to local residents who are fighting cancer. This year’s six recipients are Linda Doty, Laura Garrett, Roberta Meaz, Bruce James, Josie Cook and Laurie Macioszek.

“It was really nice to see the community and businesses participate to help the six residents,” Barrera said.

Jo Lynn Emerson of the Chariots of Light Motorcycle Ministry said so far they have been able to raise $15,578, which includes what Barrera raised. She said $9,365 was raised this weekend, while the rest came from businesses and individual donations.

She said the auction did really well because of the wonderful items businesses donated, including jewelry, Wyoming Cowboy gear, guns and gift certificates to local restaurants.

All of the big-ticket items went to the auction, the smaller gift certificates were given away as door prizes.

“That was only possible because of the businesses here in Rock Springs and Green River,” Jo Lynn said.

The group’s fundraising efforts are paying off.

“I think we are at about average, maybe a little bit more,” Jo Lynn said. “Our goal is to at least raise $2,500 for each person.”

They have been able to do that the last several years and want to continue to raise more funds.

Those who couldn’t make it to the bike run or barbecue will still have a chance to help the cause by eating pancakes.

Applebees will host the Flapjack Fundraiser to support the Chariots of Light cause. On Aug. 1 from 8-10 a.m. residents can stop by the business for some pancakes.

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, Restoration Ministries or at the door.

Jo Lynn said they have already sold some tickets to the pancake fundraiser. They are also still hoping for more donations.

“We have several organizations doing other fundraisers,” Gene said. “Usually, a month afterwards we get a significant check.”

All of the businesses that make tax-deductible donations receive an appreciation plaque from the group.

Gene said even if donations come in late, they are still divided up among the recipients.


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