Legless skydiver a highlight of Rocking the Winds slate in Crowheart

Jul 30, 2013 By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

The third annual Rocking the Winds Green Beret fundraiser is scheduled for Aug 1-4 at the Grizzly Rock Ranch near Crowheart.

The event was created as a way for "the local community to raise funds and awareness," for wounded warriors and their families, said Brian Bewley, event coordinator and military veteran.

Retired Green Beret Special Forces Sgt. Dana Bowman will skydive into the

opening ceremony at 5 p.m., trailing a 1,500 square foot American flag. Bowman lost both legs in a skydiving accident during the Golden Knights training in 1994, and now works full time as a motivational speaker, traveling, sharing his story and skydiving.

"There is rarely a dry eye when (Bowman) comes down out of the sky," said Audra Draper, who contributes to the event every year.

Master of ceremonies Crank Williams of the Blue Water Comedy Troupe will return to host this year's opening ceremony. Other speakers at the opening ceremony include Bowman, Liz Cheney, and Command Sgt. Anthony Copper, who recently retired after 30 years of military service.

Bowman will perform a second parachute demonstration during the closing ceremony on Sunday.

There will also be activities and entertainment throughout the weekend, and a full mess hall during breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

Also planned are live music nightly, a pig-picking barbecue, a poker run, raffles, games, rides, shooting events, and local activities including fishing and horseback riding.

This year's musical entertainment offers a wide variety of genres and styles, with appearances by Delta Hazz, Smokehouse, Full Blown Mosey, Messenger, Beyond Control, Steve Gora and Zoli, along with live comedy by the Blue Water Comedy Troupe.

Raffle tickets already are on sale, with three main prizes. The grand prize is a 2013 Anniversary Edition Harley-Davidson Road King, valued at more than $28,000; second draw is a custom Cheytac M4 rifle; third draw is a cash prize of $500. Smaller raffles are planned throughout the weekend. All raffle items come through donations. Tickets are limited and can be purchased by calling 486-2336.

Funds raised go toward the Green Beret Foundation to benefit wounded troops through the six programs of the foundation: casualty care, advocacy, Gold Star Family support, the rucksack program, Steel Magnolias, and scholarships.

"If a guy gets shot, the military does a great job of taking care of him, but they don't have a mechanism in place if the wife wants to go and spend some time in the hospital with him mending," Bewley said.

That's where the casualty care program comes in. It assists with unexpected costs that come with being hospitalized for long periods of time, and also provides additional case-by-case assistance.

The advocacy program provides counseling and for Gold Star families who've lost a family member in combat.

The Gold Star family support program provides miscellaneous support and advocacy for the families of those killed in action.

The rucksack program provides immediate logistical support for wounded warriors in need by immediately delivering a backpack filled with necessity items, as these individuals have usually just left everything in the combat zone.

The steel magnolias program provides support for caregivers of wounded, ill and injured soldiers and Gold Star families of the Special Forces Community.

The foundation also provides scholarships, sometimes full-ride, to give educational opportunities to the children of those killed in action.

Bewley said in the first year of Rocking the Winds, there were about 75 people in attendance and the event was able to raise $3,000. Last year, with 150 people in attendance, $5,000 was raised.

This year's goal is to have an attendance of at least 200, with a $10,000 financial goal.

Donations will be accepted throughout the weekend and will go directly to the Green Beret Foundation. Ten-dollar donations can also be made by sending the text message "GBF" to 20222. Donations are fully tax deductible under section 170 IRS Code 501(c)(3).

Tickets are $60 per person for the whole event or $25 for a day pass. Kids get in for free.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Burris Roadhouse and Trading Company and at the Crowheart Store, by credit card by calling 486-2336, or by mail-in to Grizzly Rock Ranch, 177 Burris Lenore Road, Crowheart, WY 82512. Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the event.

There is no cap on ticket sales, Bewley said. The camping area can support 400 to 500 people, and the concert area can support around a thousand.

Hotel lodging is also available at the Burris Roadhouse, about 5 minutes from the event, and in Dubois, with many locations offering discounts to anyone at the event.

For more information or for directions to the ranch, e-mail, call 486-2336, or visit the event's Facebook page at "Rocking the Winds Wounded Warrior Charity Event."

A previous version of this story gave an incorrect number of visitors the campground could accommodate. The correction was made July 31.

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