'Gala' event continues after more than 60 years

Fred Trouth, a 76-year-old ex-firefighter, was attending the fire department's annual fund-raising event back in the days when firefighters were still called "firemen" or "smoke eaters."

It was a gala event that drew the entire town.

Trouth said he attended the yearly Firemen's Ball even before his 20-year career as a firefighter in Craig.

"It really was a town-wide event," Trouth said. "It was the thing to do. You looked forward to it."

"We used to really like to cut a rug," Trouth remembers.

As much as Craig has changed in the 60-plus years the ball has been held, the event still is a social affair where dancing and drinking bring people together to raise money for firefighters.

This year, the Firefighters' Ball, as it's now called, will be held March 6 at Cassidy's in the Holiday Inn. The band "Scooze" will play live music. Tickets are $10 and they're being sold by all individual firefighters. Tickets are also available at Moffat County Lumber and the fire station at 419 Yampa Avenue.

The ball begins around 10 p.m., immediately following the Kiwanis play. Firefighters will use the money they collect to give scholarships to Moffat County High School seniors.

"We like to give it to people going into fire-related or emergency-related fields," said Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Roy Mason.

Space is limited at the event. Cassidy's has a capacity of more than 300. But hotel guests and revelers bound for the ball can fill it up quickly, Mason said.

Last year, even ticket-holders had to wait in line because the bar was full to capacity. Mason urged people to arrive early to avoid waiting in line.

The department will designate a group of "non-drinking" firefighters in case a fire or other emergency happens during the Firefighter's Ball.

Application deadlines for the scholarships will be announced in the coming months. For more information, call Craig Fire/Rescue at 824-5914.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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