$61K earns pig-kissing rights | PostIndependent.com

$61K earns pig-kissing rights

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Records are meant to be shattered. And competitors in this year’s Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser for YouthZone helped smash two records.

The candidates in this year’s competition brought in a combined $192,815 for YouthZone, which provides opportunities for youth to become responsible and contributing citizens to the community. That total smashes the previous record of $127,610, which was set in 1999.

“There is no ‘can’t’ in YouthZone,” said Debbie Wilde, executive director of the organization after she heard the final total this year’s Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser brought in during a celebration at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday. “That is fantastic. That is what can happen when you have a worthy mission.”

The Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser started in the beginning of July with six candidates working to raise as many votes as possible in the competition. In this contest, one dollar equals one vote.

The highest vote-getter earns the honor of kissing a pig at the fundraiser’s conclusion, along with helping a worthy cause that he or she believe in.

Candidates can raise money anyway they can, said Wilde, adding all the competitors have pushed each other to raise more money. All the money goes to the organization’s general operations, she said.

“It has been a great contest this year,” Wilde said.

This year, Ian Exelbert shattered the record for the amount of money raised by a candidate. He brought in a total of $61,076, smashing the old record of $52,486, set in 2001. The Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser started in 1991, with candidates raising $2,708.

“The community rallied behind each candidate,” said Exelbert, president of U.S. Bank’s Glenwood Springs area and who is also on the board of directors for YouthZone. “It was a team effort. All the candidates worked their tail off to raise money for YouthZone. It is an incredible organization.”

Because of his efforts to bring in the most votes, or the most money, Exelbert was given the honor of kissing “Big Mac,” a small little pig in front of dozens of people at Two Rivers Park on Wednesday.

“I thought the pig was going to bite my nose,” he said moments after he locked lips with the small animal. “I was a little scared.”

The other five candidates brought in the following totals:

– Mark Hanson and Quintin Anderson: $56,124.

– John Zeller: $34,584.

– Kathy Friesen: $30,451.

– Tami Sours: $7,158.

– Mike and Diana Sirko: $3,421.

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