Sheridan Arts Foundation: 31st Annual Wild West Fest, 6/3 – 6/7!

Sheridan Arts Foundation: 31st Annual Wild West Fest, 6/3 – 6/7!

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation celebrates 31 years of the Wild West Fest (WWF). The event takes place June 3-7, 2024, a week of empowering activities for kids largely from various Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation ensures that kids attend at no cost to their families, providing all lodging, meals and activities for the week. This year we set an ambitious fundraising goal of $65,000. That substantial number is achieved largely through generous contributions made by our local, regional and national patrons and granting foundations. While program costs continue to rise, the Sheridan Arts Foundation still sets donations of $1,500 as the threshold to become a child sponsor.

ORIGINAL ART FOR SALE! “Spirit of the west” Oil on canvas 18×24, $1500, 50% of the proceeds benefit the Sheridan Arts Foundation’s Wild West Fest! Please contact Ronnie at 970.728.6363 ext.1 or to take home this iconic piece of art or to sponsor a child and learn more about the program!

Go here for more about the history of the Wild West Fest.

Go here for more about the Sheridan Arts Foundation.

For over three decades, the Sheridan Arts Foundation has been the proud producer of the Wild West Fest, a week-long immersive program that has sponsored nearly 1,400 children to experience the abundance and magic of Telluride! Participants and their chaperones are invited to experience art, culture, music, and adventure that shape unforgettable memories and foster personal growth.

Each year, a select group of young minds earn their sponsorships based on their positive attitudes, perseverance, and commitment to their communities. Collaborating with esteemed organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and local service partner, True North Youth Program, Wild West Fest has become a beacon of opportunity for deserving young people. This year, we’re delighted to welcome 42 bright souls from Naturita and Nucla, and from Boys & Girls from Denver and Durango, Colorado, Polk County, Florida, Farmington, New Mexico, and Wichita Falls, Texas.

At the heart of Wild West Fest is C.A.M.P., the Chip Allen Mentorship Program, a three-day skill-building program that pairs participating youth from underserved communities with experts in multiple fields.

Chip was a beloved father, loyal mentor, and foundational supporter of the Wild West Fest. After his passing in 1998 The Sheridan Arts Foundation honored his devotion by officially naming the mentorship portion of the festival after him. The Sheridan Arts Foundation is honored to help keep his memory and legacy alive through this important work!

C.A.M.P prioritizes each child’s personal and individual needs to ensure a positive learning experience. Kids work in small groups with nurturing, professional mentors, who then return home with a greater sense of self-confidence and personal awareness. During their week in Telluride, participants hike through our mountain trails, ride horses, play games, enjoy cookouts and live concerts, make new friends, and discover their own, untapped potential. In short, the Wild West Fest is a life-changing opportunity with long-term positive effects on the lives of its participants. This year the C.A.M.P offerings are Ranch Life, Fly Fishing, Native American & Modern Dance, Rock & Roll Academy, and Outdoor Adventure.


Ranch Life

Step into the boots of local homesteaders! Kids become ranchers for three days with this mentorship which involves visiting multiple working farms in and beyond our precious box canyon. Participants gain a feel for the responsibilities (and fun!) necessary to care for livestock animals and the land that sustains them. Youth will interact with creatures big and small on Giggling Goat Farms, Schmid Family Ranch, and Camel Valley Ranch, and enjoy enriching activities like feeding baby goats, pigs, even a camel.

Fly Fishing:

Find a peaceful flow state out in nature! Our fly fishing workshop will introduce beginning anglers to all aspects of this meditative sport. With instruction provided by local fishing experts Joel Kirkhoff, Paul Horrigan, and Chris Loccisano, participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice knot-tying and fly-tying, as well as the fine art of casting, while enjoying various alpine ponds throughout the San Juan Mountains, including Camel Valley Ranch.

Native American & Modern Dance

Discover the joy of movement and the beauty of Native American culture! Youth will learn the traditional Apache dance form of hoop dancing, led by Ken Duncan, graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and founder of internationally renowned Yellow Bird Productions, and Talon Duncan, currently second of the 2023 World Champion Hoop Dance competition and past champion. The circle of life dance focuses on recreating images found in nature like the butterfly and the hawk. Kids will also get to explore contemporary dance forms such as jazz and musical theater, taught by local sensation and dance instructor Hiep Witzel. This mentorship will culminate in a performance for the public on Thursday, June 6 at 4:00 P.M. on the prestigious Sheridan Opera House stage.

Rock & Roll Academy:

Explore the power of music and theater! Kids will enjoy an opportunity to sing and play musical instruments in a band, with guidance from up-beat instructor Mark Galbo. The state-of-the-art facility at the Rock & Roll Academy allows students to try new forms of self-expression including song-writing and stage presence. Their new found confidence and performance skills are showcased at the end of the week with a closeout performance on SOH stage on Thursday,June 6th at 4:00 p.m.

Outdoor Adventure:

Witness the breathtaking natural beauty of the San Juan Mountains! This mentorship sends youth into the great outdoors! There they will spend their days hiking in the dramatic Telluride landscape, while learning a bit about the native plants and animals. Avid outdoorswoman Nicole Cooper will lead this group through their adventures, with an emphasis on pushing themselves outside their comfort zone and meeting personal goals. Young explorers will delight in the majesty of Colorado’s tallest free-falling waterfall and experience the joy of summer in the region.

2024 Wild West Fest artist Jody Kauflin’s vibrant brushstrokes breathe life into the urban landscape, capturing the essence of architectural wonders with warmth and personality. With a career spanning 37 years as a graphic artist and greeting card Designer, Kauflin has transitioned seamlessly into the realm of fine art, where painting is her “happy place.”

Her journey towards defining her unique style has been deeply personal, drawing inspiration from within, while embracing influences from the world around her. Whether in her studio or en plein air, Kauflin’s playful approach to the canvas yields miniature masterpieces, characterized by bold contrasts and dynamic compositions.

Participating in Plein Air Festivals across Colorado, Kauflin has earned numerous accolades including Best Cityscape in Boulder and the Quick Draw Award in Littleton. She enjoys painting just about anything but is particularly passionate about painting buildings. Kauflin’s work invites viewers to appreciate the beauty that surrounds them everyday. In the artistry of Jody Kauflin, one finds a symphony of colors, and a heartfelt ode to western landscapes, plus appreciate the beauty that surrounds them everyday.

Bold events are open to the public.
*events are open to Child Sponsors


Participants and their chaperones arrive
from throughout Colorado, Florida, Texas, and New Mexico.


9:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M. Elks Park Welcome + Orientation
10:00 A.M.-3:30 P.M. First Day of Chip Allen Mentorship Program.
5:15 P.M.-5:30 P.M. Cowboy Duck Race in Town Park Bridge
*5:30 P.M.- 8:00 P.M. Brown Dog Pizza Party at Town Park


9:30 A.M.-3:30 P.M. Second Day of C.A.M.P.
*4:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M. Oak Chuck Wagon Dinner @ Schmid Ranch


9:30 A.M.-3:30 P.M. Third Day of C.A.M.P.
4:00 P.M.-5:30 P.M. Performance Showcase at Sheridan Opera House with Special Performances by Yellowbird Indian Dancers
6:00 P.M. Dinner at Rustico Restorante


9:00A.M.3:00 P.M.Circle K Ranch Day: Trail Riders + Nature Hike 
5:00 P.M.Esperanza’s Celebration Dinner + Nickel Drop + Face Painting at SOH
8:00 P.M. The Wailers SHOW at the Historic Sheridan Opera House


Participants Depart.

Safe Travels and Happy Trails.

Sheridan Arts Foundation, more:

The historic Sheridan Opera House was built in Telluride, Colorado in 1913 by J.A. Segerberg as a vaudeville theater and cultural center, attracting variety shows, orchestras and touring theater companies. Through periods of closure and changing ownership, the building was in a state of severe disrepair by the 1990s. In 1991, the Sheridan Arts Foundation (SAF) was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, saving the building from commercial development and creating a community hub for live theater, concerts, movies, youth education, and lectures in Telluride.

Today, the SAF’s mission continues to stand strong, generating year-round entertainment in Telluride’s beautiful 112-year-old Crown Jewel.

Combined with Young People’s Theater rehearsals, public and private rentals, the building is in use 270 days a year. Rental subsidies of non-profits and local entities average almost $100,000 annually. The SAF has spent over $2.4 million to restore and maintain the historic Opera House.

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