Was it the 25 outrageous bras decorated by Telluride community members, the beefy firemen wearing them as they swaggered atop the New Sheridan Bar? Or was it the wide-spread concern for domestic violence and breast cancer? Whatever the reason, the Ah Haa School for the Arts’ third annual BRAvo Invitational was a raging success by all accounts, packing the New Sheridan Bar and raising upwards of $3,000 for the San Miguel Resource Center and Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Group of Southwestern Colorado.

All 25 bras were designed and decorated by community members and then auctioned off live on stage (or bar, rather.) Asked to choose her favorite, Pounds was speechless. “There were so many hilarious and also beautiful bras, it’s impossible to choose a favorite.  We are incredibly grateful to the artists who amazed us again this year- thank you!”  She went on to credit Ah Haa Special Events Manager Kathleen Cole for tracking down the perfect bra-canvases, “stacks of mondo, triple-E bras.” The extra large canvasses enabled artists to add lots of embellishments. (Look for BRAvo art bras to make appearances at other Telluride events, such as this week’s KOTO Halloween bash.)

“It was so much fun. How could it not be,” said Ah Haa Executive Director Jodi Pounds, who jumped straight into action as a dresser for the event, which took place October 18th  in Telluride. “We suited-up a bunch of handsome men in art bras, watched them strut down the bar and raised awareness for critical issues in the process.”

Model firefighters Sam Haury, Ron Ghaffari, Ben Dostal, Pat Ankele and John Bennett, as well as local business owners Roby Peabody, and Travis Young had their work cut out for them, as enthusiastic spectators tucked dollar bills into their bras and pants as they danced down the runway. “The guys came back to the dressing area with bills coming out of all kinds of places. A significant amount of the money raised was in the form of singles. Good work, guys,” she said.

All joking aside, this year’s event raised money for very serious issues. October is both Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Prevention Month. Ah Haa School’s annual BRAvo Invitational is “brings awareness to those two causes,” said Pounds.  The event draws focus to the San Miguel Resource Center, which provides intervention services, prevention education, support and advocacy to address domestic violence and sexual assault, and Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Group of Southwestern Colorado, which provides emotional and financial support to those affected by breast cancer.

Along with this year’s models, Pounds gave a shout out to Beth Kelly, fabulous and hilarious MC, Dirk and Ray at the New Sheridan Bar, and Dean Rolley, “for coming at the last minute to help with sound.  You don’t want to take your shirt off and dance on a bar in silence.”

“The purpose of the event is to raise funds and awareness for domestic violence and breast cancer prevention and support.  And most importantly, that anyone at the event who has been impacted by domestic violence or breast cancer felt the strength of the men, the creativity and sense of humor of the artists, and the support of the crowd.  We were gathered there for you.”

To see photographs from the third annual BRAvo Invitational, visit the Ah Haa School’s website.

This is also a great slideshow of the event:

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