Carbondale principal is rolling in cash after Kiwanis ball race
The weekend of Strawberry Days, Karen Olson wasn’t even in Glenwood Springs. Her son had broken his tailbone in football camp, and so the family was enjoying a quiet Father’s Day weekend at home when Karen’s phone rang that Sunday afternoon.On the other end was her friend, Gayla Rowe, who teaches at Glenwood Springs High School, with the news that Olson had just won the $5,000 first prize in the Kiwanis ball race.To say the least, the news took Olson off guard.”It took me by surprise, for sure,” said Olson. “When (Rowe) called, I thought, OK, what’s happened at school or in the district somewhere. I really thought it had to do with school.”Olson said she had barely given the ball race a second thought after she purchased a ticket from her assistant principal. She certainly didn’t count on winning anything.”You buy things, and you stick them on the refrigerator, and six months later you think, OK, I can throw that away now,” Olson said with a laugh.Though she’s never won anything close to $5,000 before, Olson admitted that “people have called me lucky in the past.””I’m not a gambler at all,” Olson said.Olson said she now plans to get herself “some extra sushi rolls” when she takes her family on vacation to California in August.Race organizer Coy Bretthorst, who oversaw the sales of tickets for the club, said Olson was one of 15 to 20 ticket holders who won a prize at the ball race. Other prizes included free meals, motel rooms and rafting trips, among other things.Bretthorst said he’s quite happy a local educator won the first prize, though.”We’re really pleased someone local won. Last year a lady from Denver won it,” said Bretthorst.The race has grown sizably each year since the first ball race was held in 2003. The first year it was held, Bretthorst said, the club probably even lost money on the operating costs because they didn’t sell very many tickets.This year, however, ticket sales weren’t a problem, and Bretthorst estimates the club will net between $20,000 and $22,000, all of which will be spent in or with local schools.”One hundred percent of the money is spent for kids’ programs,” said Bretthorst.The Kiwanis club offers scholarships, sponsors the Special Olympics each winter, and also supports the Terrific Kids program in schools up and down the Roaring Fork Valley.”Those organizations do great, great work,” said Olson, herself a longtime Kiwanis supporter.
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