Dave Cole, middle, shares a laugh with Janae Shelton and other blackjack players Friday at Casino Night at the Holiday Inn of Craig, hosted by Horizons Specialized Services. The event, Horizon's biggest fundraiser of the year, pays for services in Moffat County, including development programs for children ages 3 and younger, adult day programs and others.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Dave Cole, middle, shares a laugh with Janae Shelton and other blackjack players Friday at Casino Night at the Holiday Inn of Craig, hosted by Horizons Specialized Services. The event, Horizon's biggest fundraiser of the year, pays for services in Moffat County, including development programs for children ages 3 and younger, adult day programs and others.

Horizons wins big with Casino Night

Fundraiser brings in $6,500 for organization

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Bill Mason, right, a Horizons client, plays roulette with Sarah Kostin, of Steamboat Springs, on Friday at Casino Night. Susan Mizen, Horizon's director, said the event raised more than $6,500.

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Betty McIntyre plays dealer Friday for five poker players. More than 75 attended the event playing poker, blackjack, roulette and many other games.

The roulette wheel spun.

The ball was dropped.

Chips of every color covered red and black numbers.

The dealer called out, "22 black!"

More than 10 people packed around a seemingly small table let out a roar.

This wasn't Las Vegas, however.

Gamblers were trying to find Lady Luck on Friday night for a good cause, a cause other than building up their own bankroll.

Horizons Specialized Services hosted its biggest fundraiser of the year, Casino Night, at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

Money raised through the event helps to fund a variety of services in Moffat County, and the funds raised supplement money received from state and federal sources.

Horizons provides services, including language and motor skill development for children age 3 and younger, and programs for adults who live in group homes and apartments.

Horizons Director Susan Mizen estimated volunteers sold more than 50 tickets to the event, raising about $6,500.

Players got the opportunity to try their hand at blackjack, Texas hold 'em, roulette, and other games.

"We were looking for something different, trying to find a niche. We were just dinner auctioned to death," said Kay Borvansky, Horizons resource development coordinator.

Horizons provides services to people with developmental disabilities in the five Northwest Colorado counties: Moffat, Grand, Jackson, Rio Blanco and Routt.

Money raised from Friday's Casino Night stays in Moffat County, however.

"We're here to support people with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community they grew up in," Mizen said.

"Most of the adults in the program have families here, many went to high school here, and so, being part of Horizons is kind of the next step."

Clients sold tickets to the event, and gambled as well.

Casino Night "is a great opportunity for exposure," Borvansky said. "It helps people get familiar with the people we help."

Bill Mason, 50, of Craig, is a Horizons client.

About an hour into the event, he was winning big at the roulette wheel with his sister, Becky Otis.

Taking a moment away from his game, he said he appreciates everything Horizons provides for him.

He talked about how Horizons helps him on a day-to-day basis.

But, just then, the dealer cut him off by calling out his number.

Mason won. He hugged his sister, and they cheered the winning spin.

He then picked up his handful of chips and began putting them down on the table again, ready for another round.

Hans Hallgren can be reached at 875-1792, or hhallgren@craigdailypress.com.

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