On Friday, Nov. 10, Rocky Mountain College will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Black Tie Blue Jeans in the Fortin Education Center Gymnasium. Alumni, community members, and friends of RMC will spend the evening enjoying a gourmet dinner, bidding on silent and live auction items, and dancing to a live band all to directly support student scholarships at RMC. For the last 30 years, Black Tie Blue Jeans has been the college’s largest fundraising event that supports student scholarships. This year, the event will continue to focus on the Scholarship Challenge, where each dollar raised will directly benefit students of Rocky.
Originally, the first Black Tie Blue Jeans was held in 1987 as “Rocky Mountain Roundup,” and was a benefit strongly supported by area ranchers and cattlemen, according to RMC’s website http://rocky.edu/giving/btbj/History.php. Ranchers had calves and steers that they were willing to donate specifically for scholarships. RMC would then brand the livestock with the college’s official registered brand – “RMR” for “Rocky Mountain Roundup” – and haul them to a public auction yard where they were judged and sold. While the benefit itself has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, one thing has not changed: the goal of raising money for student scholarships.
Nearly 99% of the student population at RMC receives merit-based scholarships. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Black Tie Blue Jeans supports RMC student scholarships. Additional events and year-long activities help support the Annual Fund, such as the alumni phonathon and the Giving Tuesday campaign. However, Black Tie Blue Jeans generates the largest amount of support every year. Last year alone over $350,000 was raised in one night, and the goal is to raise even more this year. To do that, volunteers are in high demand to help make the night a success. More specifically, student volunteers.
Each year roughly 100 student volunteers assist with a variety of different tasks including, but not limited to, serving dinner, silent auction monitor, greeter, coat check, valet parking and more. Students are strongly encouraged to volunteer because, as Jennifer McCalla, Direct of Annual Giving, explained, “It’s like putting a name to the face.” She said, “It is important for student(s) of [Rocky] to be a part of [Black Tie Blue Jeans] because the attendees see the students firsthand, can identify with them, and see who the donors are assisting.”
Though volunteer assignments are starting to be organized, it is not too late to sign up to help with the event. Students are more than welcome to go online to select their top three options for which tasks they would prefer at volunteer.blacktiebluejeans.com. Carrie Cota, a sophomore majoring in business management and art, believes that this is a great way to show donors how involved students are, and how much students care about RMC. “It’s important to meet the people who are giving us the opportunity to have the education we do,” Cota said. “We are so lucky as Rocky students to be granted scholarships, and I know a lot of us couldn’t attend [Rocky] without this financial help.”
The gymnasium will be unavailable beginning Tuesday, Nov. 7, as the Advancement Department starts to prepare the space for the benefit. A mandatory walkthrough for volunteers will be held the day before Black Tie Blue Jeans on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Fortin Education Center Auditorium. Last minute touches will be completed that Friday morning of Black Tie Blue Jeans and guests will start to arrive at 6 p.m. Individuals who wish to support student scholarships by attending the event are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at blacktiebluejeans.com or call 406-657-1006. For more information about this year’s Black Tie Blue Jeans scholarship benefit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.