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‘It takes a village and lots of spaghetti’: Pahrump teens off to national rodeo thanks to $13K fundraiser

When the Jepsons learned that both 15-year-old Jace and 18-year-old Garrett had qualified to compete at the 2023 National High School Rodeo Finals, the entire family was elated but they knew there would be one major challenge in getting the brothers to Wyoming, that of cost. However, the family no longer has to worry about the expenses involved in the week-long competition thanks to the incredible generosity shown by the residents of their hometown.

Last Saturday, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser was hosted on behalf of the Jepsons, with the Pahrump Valley Junior and High School Rodeo teaming up with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #10054 to get it done. Beth Jepson, mother of Jace and Garrett, said she was hoping for a relatively good turnout but the results of the night ended up blowing her away.

“The fundraiser was an absolute success!” Beth raved following the event. “We were hoping to shoot for 100 people to come join us and we ended up with over 200. Whether it was to eat dinner with everyone or have a drink at the bar, play a game of pool or talk to the TV crew, everyone there spoke with the boys, told them how proud they are of them and wished them good luck.”

The dinner, along with random donations, raised close to $4,000 for the cause but the evening included more than just good food, as there were raffles and a fast-paced and fun live auction to help bring in additional funds too. Taking the lead on the live auction was professional auctioneer Ski Censke, who is well-known in the community for his ability to coax, cajole and encourage participants to ever-higher bids.

“The live auction, which was bound to be a good time for all, brought in an outstanding total of over $6,000. During this fun, Buddy and Ski’s phones were also ringing with more donations,” a very excited Beth reported. “At the end of the night, we had raised over $13,000.”

The teens were both obviously thrilled as well, with Jace remarking, “It was a night full of fun and we met a lot of great new people. To all that helped us get to nationals, our family thanks you.”

“Huge shout-out to the VFW for hosting our fundraiser, it was a huge success,” Garrett added. “We so appreciate all of you who helped us on our journey. Thank you!”

Beth was quick to ensure that credit was given where it was due, expressing her utmost gratitude to the VFW and all the others who made the fundraiser as amazing as it was.

“Thank you to Col. Patrick Nary for his wit, Ski for his ability to change hats at any given moment, the VFW Riders, VFW Auxiliary, the dinner hall, the bartenders, our county commissioners Frank Carbone, Bruce Jabbour, Ron Boskovich and Donna Cox, Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf, the Pahrump Valley Times and KPMV Channel 25,” Beth said. “And special thanks go to Buddy and Shawna Krebs for keeping the Pahrump Valley High School Rodeo with a Junior High division alive in Pahrump. Rodeo is more than an event; it teaches responsibility and accountability with a moral, sound atmosphere.”

Now the Jepson family is readying for their trip across the country, where Jace and Garrett will compete individually in calf roping and, for the first and only time, as a duo in the team roping event.

The National High School Rodeo Finals take place July 16-22 in Gillette, Wyoming.

For more information on the National High School Rodeo Association visit www.NHSRA.com

For more on the Pahrump Valley Junior and High School Rodeo Club contact club director Buddy Krebs at 775-277-0064.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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