Seen: Trips for Kids Denver Metro’s Lucky to Ride! Soiree

Gary Corbett himself probably can’t keep count of all the items he has auctioned for charity, but here’s one he’s not likely to forget:

When Trips for Kids Denver Metro had its annual Lucky to Ride! Soiree at Mile High Station, Corbett, a longtime friend of executive director Wendy Stewart, donated one of his photographs for the fundraiser’s live auction.

But instead of Corbett calling for bids, he turned the microphone over to Halie Behr, the niece of fellow auctioneer Paul Behr and the 2013 International Junior Auctioneer champ. She sold the “Ghost Bike” image for $400.

Chaired by board members Cristen Bertelson, national account manager for Shamrock Foods, and Raquel Isely, a special projects executive at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, the event emceed by comedian Sam Adams also included a walkabout supper catered by Biscuits and Berries; a fix-a-flat competition where youngsters sponsored by Jinji Cycles, Beeline Bikes and Lucky Bikes raced to see who could repair and remount a bicycle tire the fastest; presentation of the Andrew Goodwillie Outstanding Service Award and dancing to the music of Felonious Hound.

The Outstanding Service Award, named for the founder of Trips for Kids Denver Metro, went to Dr. Maurine Sweeney.

Sweeney, a medal-winning cyclist, retired as an internal medicine specialist for the Veterans Administration in August 2016, and since then has given over 400 volunteer hours to Trips for Kids Denver Metro.

“From fixing bikes to leading rides with the kids, there isn’t a task she can’t pull off,” Goodwillie noted. “She’s always in our shop, always working with our kids, and we appreciate that. She is our Volunteer Supreme.”

The evening’s special appeal was introduced by Yesica Chavez and Sydney Gart. Chavez described how Trips for Kids Denver Metro helped her power through some personal obstacles. “The ability to have a bike can change a life,” she said, referring to the organization’s mission of giving young people the opportunity to earn their own bicycle, learn how to maintain it and to experience the joy of cycling on both urban and mountain biking trails.

Gart is the first youth ambassador appointed by the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry and also spoke about how cycling can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health.

Since its founding in 2004, Trips for Kids Denver Metro has used bicycles to give some 12,000 youngsters from underserved neighborhoods the opportunity to develop positive life skills and gain a sense of fun and adventure.

Moving forward, the organization’s goals include encouraging more girls to participate; incorporating STEM learning in Trips for Kids programming; and raising enough money to acquire a permanent home for its Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery, where youngsters gain valuable training in retail sales and bicycle repair and maintenance. It is located at 3150 W. Jewell Ave.

The 300 guests at the Lucky to Ride! Soiree included Sarah Klein, chair of the Trips for Kids board, and such fellow directors as Tony Giarratano, Peter Robinson and Marcello Da Cunha; Steve Sander; Catherine Goodwillie; Sandee Walling; Michelle Moriarty; Trish Morris; Dee Nichols; Leslie Harris; Mary Putnam and Tim Martinez.

Joanne Davidson: 303-809-1314, partiwriter@hotmail.com and @joannedavidson on Twitter

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