Smiles Across Pahrump returns to the valley

Smiles Across Pahrump founder Butch Harper may have passed away more than three years ago but his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of many local residents, who are once again bringing the beloved event back to the community.

In honor of Harper, known as Pahrump’s goodwill ambassador, the Women of the Pahrump Moose Lodge will host the Smiles Across Pahrump event this Sunday, July 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ian Deutch Memorial Park, with free games, activities and prizes for local youth.

Smiles Across Pahrump committee member Chanda Wieland said she is delighted about the upcoming event and looking forward perhaps most eagerly to the raffling off of several very exciting prizes.

Children ages one through 17 are asked to write a brief essay, as short as 50 or 60 words, or even to draw a picture, describing what a smile means to them. When Harper initially began Smiles Across Pahrump, it was with this task in mind and true to his intentions, the tradition is being continued.

Children must bring their description with them to the event and in exchange for their essay or drawing, they will be given a raffle ticket which they can then place in the bucket in front of one of the large raffle prizes. This year’s haul will include, but is not limited to, 16 different bicycles and assorted board games. All of the bicycles were donated, with 14 coming from the Women of the Moose Lodge, the sponsoring organization, and two contributed by Preferred RV Park.

Wieland said the raffles are bound to be a big draw but there will be a myriad of other entertaining pursuits for children and their families to enjoy on Sunday as well, including various games and activities, all of which will come with their own smaller prizes to be awarded. Kids can also fill up on free hot dogs, compliments of Jeanie’s Hot Dogs, as well as water, chips and candy from

Once fully fueled, they can then dance off their excess energy to the music that DJ Tim will provide and frolic in the cool water that Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Services plans to spray from one of its fire trucks. The Pahrump Gunfighters will make an appearance at high noon as well, with a lively skit of the Old West to entertain the crowds.

For parents, the Smiles Across Pahrump event will also be an opportunity to further protect their children by obtaining an identity kit from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, a valuable tool for law enforcement in the event that a child ever goes missing.

“This is being carried out as Butch’s legacy. He left it to Kiwanis but they ended up wanting to give it up so we found another organization. The Moose stepped up to take it over. This is their second year of hosting the event,” Wieland detailed. “In past years, we’ve had up to 150 to 200 people come and we are hoping the community comes out, puts down their cell phones and electronics and just spends a fun afternoon together with their family and neighbors. It’s just a great event and the ladies of the Moose love doing this”

While the preparations for the event are fairly settled, Wieland said there is always the opportunity for people to help make the event an even more rousing success. Additional prizes to hand out to the children are more than welcome, she said, but more importantly, there is a need for generous residents to give some time to the event. Wieland concluded, “Please let everyone know, we are looking for adult volunteers to help run the games and activities. They can contact me and I will coordinate that.”

Donations of prizes to add to the fun can be dropped off at the Pahrump Moose Lodge, 1100 E. Second Street, or other dropoffs can be arranged by calling Wieland at 616-902-0629.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at

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