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Smiles Across Pahrump delights community

Smiles Across Pahrump returned to the valley last weekend, bringing grins of delight to the faces of dozens of area children and their families who headed out to enjoy an event filled with free games, activities and prizes, all in honor of the legacy of the late Butch “Patches” Harper.

Hosted Saturday, Aug. 10 by the Pahrump Women of the Moose Chapter #1141, Smiles Across Pahrump kicked off at 10 a.m. at the local Moose Lodge, which quickly became a scene of laughter and amusement. For three hours event attendees were treated to all sorts of carnivalesque games and entertaining pursuits at which the youngsters were able to earn small prizes. There was also free food, music and of course, plenty of smiles to go around.

One of the most heartwarming features of the Smiles Across Pahrump event each year is the essay and drawing submissions from the children and youth, all depicting that child’s personal concept of what a smile means to them.

In exchange for submitting these pieces, the children are given a raffle ticket for the big prizes of the day, brand new, shiny bicycles. Coming in a variety of sizes, colors and styles, this year there were approximately 30 bikes in total. Three razor scooters were also donated to the cause and children were able to place their raffle ticket in the bucket for whichever of the bikes or scooters they preferred.

Moose member and event organizer Chanda Wieland said the event was a rousing success and although some attendees remarked they would have rather seen the event held at a local park, as in years past, many others were happy with the indoor venue.

“It was an amazing event, there were a lot of smiles on kids’ faces and parents seemed to like the indoor activities versus being outdoors at the park,” Wieland stated, adding that the event seemed to be well-organized up until the moment when the bikes were raffled off, when, understandably, the children became a bit overexcited.

Even those young attendees who did not win a bike that afternoon went home with something special, with Wieland detailing, “We gave family board games to the kids who did not win a bike or razor, so every child got a bigger prize, along with the prizes from the carnival-type games.”

Smiles Across Pahrump is all made possible by the generosity of the local community and Wieland made sure to extend her gratitude to all those who helped ensure the event was a big success.

Sponsors for the event included the Women of the Moose Chapter #1141, which donated all the games and prizes, TJ’s DJ &KJ, who provided music and karaoke, ICan Family Services, which donated hot dogs and buns and GoldCartNV.com, which contributed 20 cases of water and individual bags of chips.

Entities that donated bicycles for the event include Dolan Ranch, ICan Family Services, Ms. Senior Golden Years, Brian Strain of State Farm, the Kiwanis Club, Access Realty, Lisa Bond Real Estate, the Crazy Calico, All Star Real Estate, Linda at Groover Realty, Li Plastic Surgery and Cutting Edge Lawn Service.

Bonnie and Monte Lunde were also bike sponsors, along with the Elks, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Sharry Starbuck, the Moose Lodge and Walmart.

Smiles Across Pahrump was the brainchild of Harper, whom Wieland said she believed would have been extremely happy to see the continuation of his beloved event.

“I think Butch would have been super excited to see the turnout of kids, the number of parents that were hanging out and playing games with their kids, from water balloon tosses to ‘minute to win it’ games,” Wieland said. “Over 30 kids won bikes and no child went home empty-handed. The smiles were from ear to ear. This all was Butch’s vision. I hope we made him proud.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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