He is the Co-founder & Event Director of Colorado West Pride. The following is taken with a on-line interview:
I’m the architect of Colorado West Pride (CWP) events and the Pride Festival. I plan the themes, contract entertainers, arrange for licensing of venues and liquor, and direct the committees and board of directors for any and all events that CWP produces for the community!
What started CWP:
My mother, sister, and I attended the first ever Moab Pride Festival in 2010. The festival included 3 days of events and a parade. We were shocked that the tiny community of Moab could pull this off and be successful. It was then that I realized Western Colorado was severely underrepresented. I spoke with a few colleagues after I returned from Moab: Mark Mathews (CWP Co-founder), Steve Heiniman, and Jeremy Franklin. We mostly discussed the issues facing the community here in GJ, asked whose job it was to create such a festival, and wondered if it was possible.
After spending that winter in Phoenix AZ, on my return to GJ I met Mark for lunch. He informed me of the community support he was able to rally from other business owners and organizations in the area. He asked if I thought I could pull off a couple of events as a market test.
With only a few months of preparation, I circled my wagons, made dozens of phone calls, and cashed in every favor I had spent my career in the nightlife and entertainment industry creating!
We rolled out 3 events; the White Party, the Rainbow Party, and a Sassy Sunday Party. I invited Systeen Chapell as our headliner from Salt Lake City, a longtime friend of mine, as well as several local performers: Jade Ultra, Kiki Kamaroon, and the house of Van Dyke. My longtime friend and business partner Vann aka DJ Gable kept the crowd dancing as did Bert aka DJ Jettt!
To almost everyone’s surprise, Colorado West Pride was a hit! We had a total of 550 people attend the events that weekend. Soon after Mesa Theater asked us to take over their LGBT yearly event the Red Party now titled the Red MassQueerAid. (This party is redesigned and relaunching in the fall of 2017.)
We also re-envisioned a party that had ceased to exist years before CWP’s inception, the Rainbow Prom which is now our flagship theme party. We also inherited the Drag Me to the Beach Party from Jade Ultra. (This party is also being redesigned and renamed, Drag Me to the Mesa and will be relaunched in 2018.)
My favorite Pride Memory:
My favorite Pride memory would have to be our first Pride Parade in 2012: seeing hundreds of people cheering on the long overdue parade… The parade is what makes it all worth it, year after year! Last year we had nearly 2,500 attendees during the festival weekend.
Colorado West Pride Festival is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Our long term goals are to raise enough money to create an LGBTQA Center that services all of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. We want to do the most good for the community we serve while creating opportunities for the people in it.
In the five short years of Colorado West Pride Festival’s existence; we’ve seen many new organizations begin to flourish like Mogii & PFLAG. CWP and One Colorado are regularly doing trainings with Colorado Mesa University, the Grand Junction Police Department, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. Hell, I even ran for City Council, and never had one derogatory question about my sexuality or relationship status!
Western Colorado is changing, the LGBTQ community is stronger than ever, our allies are fierce, and I’m honored to invite YOU to the 5th Annual Colorado West Pride Festival June 3rd-11th!