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OJC Press Release ID: 2608

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fifth Annual OJC Ag Gala Raises over $10,000 for Scholarships

The Fifth Annual OJC Ag Gala raised more than $10,000 to help fund scholarships for students in the OJC Agricultural Sciences Program.  Held on New Year’s Eve in the OJC Banquet Room, the benefit dinner/dance has become a New Year’s Eve tradition at Otero Junior College. 

More than 200 area residents joined in the celebration, enjoying a brisket dinner followed by an auction of donated items and an evening of dancing with music provided by Wiskey Creek that continued into the New Year.  While the event provides a fun way to ring in the New Year, the primary purpose of the Gala is to raise funds for the OJC Premier Agriculture Scholarship, with all proceeds used to build the scholarship fund.

The scholarship fund has also grown through the generosity of community members who have made donations directly to the OJC Foundation.   Since its inception in 2012, the Ag Gala has made it possible to provide 18 scholarships to 16 different students.  The 2016-2017 recipients of the Premier Ag Scholarship are Chelsea Lewis-Broce of Cheraw, Dalton Davis of Rocky Ford and Justin Hinkle of Fowler. 

The Ag Gala raised money through ticket sales, sponsorships and auction of donated items.  Much of the fundraiser’s success is due to generous sponsorship and donations by local businesses and families. 
•    Platinum Sponsors donated $1000 or more to the event, and included Colorado Vet Clinic, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, The State Bank, and Waddell and Reed Investment Services. 
•    Gold Sponsors donating at least $500 were Beatty Canyon Ranch, First National Bank of La Junta, Goodrich Harvesting/Trucking, Howe Feeders, Lewis Trucking, La Junta Livestock Commission, La Junta Mill and Elevator, the Goff family, TLC Vet Clinic, Tri-County GMC, and Wallace Oil Company. 
•    Silver Sponsors donating $350 were Bent County Health Care Center, Best Bet Beeflot, Broce’s Well Service, Jim and Debbie Crowder, Winter Livestock, Matthew Farms, Mosimann Outfitters/Balenseifens, Pipeyard Inc., and Sodexo. 
•    Additional sponsors were Dairy Queen of Las Animas, Arc Valley Construction, Ark Valley Co-Op, Almabeth Kaess, John and Laurie Knapp, Jim and Nancy Rizzuto, Robert and Sue Samaniego, and Ricken Land and Cattle Company. 

Jace Honey presided over the live auction which, along with a silent auction, raised $2,655.  Auction items included gift baskets donated by Scaff Brothers, Hidden Hive, the Hinkle family, and the Leininger family.  Handmade objects were popular auction items, including a ceramic bowl by Andy Goettel of G3 Pottery and Arts, original art by Sandy Campion, a hand-quilted table runner by Nancy Balenseifen, placemats by Andee Leininger and a knitted afghan by Martina Murray.  Other popular items included a concealed-carry purse and jewelry from Bar K Corral Boutique, Tocara jewelry from Lynette Reeves, decorative items from the Lisa Gallegos family, pet supplies from Big R, a $500 tire rebate from Tri-County GM, Colorado Avalanche tickets donated by RMC Distributing, and limited edition “Worth the Wait Cantaloupe Gose” beer donated by Hirakata Farms. 

Current or future students interested in attending Otero Junior College in the Agricultural Sciences Program are encouraged to apply for the Premier Ag Scholarship through the OJC Financial Aid Office.  Scholarship recipients are selected based on agricultural involvement such as previous employment, extracurricular activities, and future aspirations.  Grade point average of candidates is considered, but there is no minimum grade point average requirement. 

Students interested in the OJC Agricultural Science program can get more information by contacting Brooke Matthew at 719-384-6964 ( or Martina Murray at 719-384-6930 (

Press Release Photo
New Year’s Eve Ag Gala attendees ring in the 2017 year with laughter and cheer.

Press Release Photo
The Ag Gala allows neighbors and friends to celebrate the accomplishments from throughout the year and the opportunity to visit.