Crab Fest in Pahrump sees most successful year yet for CASA

The 7th Annual CASA Crab Fest took place last Saturday, March 3 and it was declared a smash hit by all, raising a huge amount of cash in the mission of benefiting foster youth throughout Nye County.

“Crab Fest was sold out once again and this year’s event was the most successful we’ve ever had!” enthused Willi Baer, executive director of Pioneer Territory Court Appointed Special Advocates, better known as CASA. “Everyone always loves it, even those who prefer the chicken. An amazing special event for an amazing cause!”

A record setter

According to information from the organization, the 2018 Crab Fest was attended by a throng of CASA supporters, all eager to devour the delicious meal while giving a financial boost to the nonprofit’s coffers.

“Once again, this fun, casual and always exciting event sold out before the actual event,” a news release detailed. “Attended by over 180 hungry Dungeness Crab lovers, this fundraising event for Pioneer Territory CASA proved once again that Pahrump cares.” CASA reported that the event grossed over $26,000 Saturday evening, the highest amount the organization has ever seen.

While the main feature of the event may have been the meal, including freshly flown in Dungeness Crab which was declared “the star of the day,”chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, garlic toast and brownies, there was much more than just a feast to enjoy during Crab Fest.

CASA detailed that in addition to contributing through the purchase of its event tickets, many other opportunities existed for attendees to show their support and to add to the cause.

There were pick-a-prize choices and silent auction prizes for patrons to vie over, along with a live auction overseen by professional auctioneers Ski Censke and Ron Gipson, who regularly donate their time and talents to local charitable fundraisers.

The live auction featured “many exceptional items” with two unique prizes up for grabs. The first was a cake described as “scrumptious,” which was made and donated by Tamara Trudeau while the second, which drew much attention, was a get-away package that would send the lucky bidders off on a trip to the island of Hawaii, donated by Kathy Weill.

There were also two door prizes and of course, the ever-popular crab net, which was filled with over $1,400 in donated gift cards and gift certificates.

Where the money goes

The money raised through the raffles and auctions, combined with the sale of tickets, brought in thousands of dollars for CASA, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to providing services for children in the foster case system. CASA’s mission statement is to recruit, train and support court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children so they can thrive in safe, permanent homes.

To do this, CASA relies heavily on community support in the form of donations and fundraising events. Crab Fest is one of the largest events of the year for the organization and the money garnered will go a long way toward keeping CASA’s operation strong and expanding.

The special advocates who represent foster children are volunteers who give their time, energy and love at a trying and often traumatic period in those children’s lives. They help to ensure the best interests of the children are represented as their cases move through the court system, with the ultimate goal to ensure the children are placed in permanent homes and stability is returned to their lives.

At any given time in Nye County, an estimated 80 to 100 children are in foster care, and CASA strives to provide an advocate for each. However, they cannot do so without volunteers. The special advocates themselves are the very backbone of the organization and more generous volunteers are always needed.

Getting involved

Becoming a CASA volunteer does require dedication and commitment but as many current volunteers will attest, the effort is worth it when they know they are making such a difference for foster youth. All CASA volunteers are required to fill out an application, to include three references. A face-to-face in-depth interview is also necessary, as is a state and national background check.

Once the application process is complete, the volunteer must undergo training classes, which take place over 36 hours during a four-week period. Court observance is also mandatory.

Following training, the volunteer is sworn in by the Fifth Judicial District Court, which works closely with CASA. They are then presented with their credentials and assigned a case, which will be reviewed with them by a supervisor. The volunteers are expected to continue with each case they are assigned until that case concludes.

For more information on becoming a supporter or volunteer for Pioneer Territory CASA call Baer at 775-513-9514 or Dorothy Van Zuelin at 775-513-9513.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at On Twitter: @pvtimes