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Are you looking for something fun on a Friday Night?

October 18, 2023

Dancing with the Durango Stars is an annual fundraiser for the Durango Derailers’ Patient Assistance Fund. This couple’s dance competition is choreographed by Leslie Carlson and is one of Durango Derailers biggest fundraising events and a whole lot of fun! In the fund's 17-year history, they have fund-raised over $1 MILLION in aggregate support. This fund is available to children and families living in SW Colorado to help with travel expenses when they need to go to a pediatric hospital or pediatric specialist for a higher level of pediatric specialty care (outpatient or inpatient). The fund provides gas cards and hotel assistance. By Kristi Dean and Andy Wingerd. This story is sponsored by Sky Ute Casino and Kroeger’s Ace Hardware

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You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Sky Casino and Kroeger's Ace Hardware. I'm Hayley Opsal. Are you looking for something fun to do on Friday night? Come to Dancing with Durango Stars eighth annual fundraiser for the Durango Derailers Patient Assistance Fund. Have you ever wondered what it takes to put on an amazing fundraising event annually for 10 years?

So my name is Leslie Carlson, and I'm involved with Dancing with the Durango Stars. I taught dance lessons and been in production, and so it was a natural fit for me to take on this non-profit. The cause of the Derailers is something that's absolutely awesome and amazing, and so I'm happy to volunteer my time to teach the dancers. I volunteer my studio. I volunteer to do the show production and direction because I believe in what they're doing so much. So this is Kelly Miller. She's actually the founding member of the Durango Derailers, and this is Lori Ann Glass and she's been a writer. Both been dancers with Durango Dancing with the Stars.

I'm Kelly Miller, and I am the founder of the Durango Derailers Patient Assistance Fund. It's a family-friendly event, all are welcome. It might be a little rowdy for the 8:30 show but maybe more family friendly for the 5:30 show. But it really appeals to all audiences and I think that we have people who love to dance and we have people who get nervous about dancing and have never danced on a stage in their life, so it's really fun to see the whole spectrum, from new dancers to very comfortable dancers up there, some dancing with their partner or loved one and others dancing with a complete stranger, so it's a really fun event, and it's copied off of the TV show. So we've got judges, we have audience helping with voting, and of course, the bottom line is the cause and fundraising for our children and our community to help them, it's just where our heart goes. So started with a core group 17 years ago of just my family and a few friends, and then because we're Durango and we have lots of people who love to ride and dance and be generous, we've grown over 17 years. I danced with my husband, and it was way outside my comfort zone. We did "You're Sexy and You Know It," and I remember being dipped down by my husband and looking and seeing one of my patient's family's, you know, parents right there in the front row. But I'm willing to push myself outside my comfort zone for a great cause. So I've danced, I've ridden on my bike. I will be present to help in any way for this event and keep our fund and our cause growing big.

We started supporting the Durango Derailers Patient Fund in 2015. This event does take a lot of work, it takes hours with the dancers, practicing, helping them with costumes, calming nerves. I actually have a big team of people that helps. So we have Nick Ingvar, who also helps do choreography this year. Nick is doing two of the couples and we have a whole crew behind the scenes, and the crew behind the scenes, they're all dancers themselves from former years. The only one that's not a dancer is Laura Shelton, who was the co-captain of the team, and she was an emcee for several years. It really means a lot to us as a crew and as a group to be able to pull off a fabulous event for Durango. It's now becoming a sought-after ticket, kind of like the Foleys, but the fact that there's so many families that need the assistance to get their kids care and it helps alleviate some of their stress, getting their travel costs paid, it's something that's so worth all of our time to put into helping pull this event off.

And it's a big relief that this fund is available. It is an extraordinary night. It's a lot of fun. Everybody has a really, really good time, and two or three years after I danced, my youngest daughter was one of the first child dancers in the Durango Dancing with the Stars.

If you're looking for a chance to go out, have fun, and support an amazing cause, buy your tickets now to Dancing with the Durango Stars on Friday, October 20th. There are two chances to see the show, one at 5:30 PM and one at 8:30 PM. To buy tickets and vote for the dancers, visit the website and click on the Dancing with the Durango Stars tab. Vote for dancers by purchasing a ticket. Learn more about this story and others at Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Hayley Opsal.


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