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High Rollers concert: good music, good food, good cause

The High Rollers will perform in Town Park on the evening of July 16, for the benefit of local area wrestlers and all who enjoy good music, food and the incredible Pagosa Springs outdoor evening air.

The band is well known in the area for their professional on-stage show, which specializes in contemporary country music and classic rock and roll cover music, rehearsed and polished to treat the listeners to their favorites “just like they like to hear them.”

The band’s warning, “Caution, contains loud country music,” is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as the High Rollers are also known for the variety of styles they play, which include western, western swing, Spanish, ’50s, classic country, and some surprise numbers that make you want to laugh, tap your feet, or get up and dance.

At the urging of many of their followers and club owners, the band for the first time produced a CD of 10 songs performed live in last summer’s shows, and five original songs all composed by Andy Janowsky.

The band and its new CD have received enthusiastic reviews and they are booked well into the future. Local fans sometimes wonder how the wrestling club is able to hire a high caliber, busy group like the High Rollers, and the answer is ... family ties. Lead singer and band founder Andy Janowsky is the brother of local high school wrestling coach Dan Janowsky. An avid sports fan, Andy supports the Pagosa high school wrestling team in many ways, including hauling the High Rollers sound system to home wrestling matches to play “stadium rock” during warm-up and breaks in the action to add excitement and entertainment to the already exciting competition.

While the music is held in Town Park and is open to all, the wrestling club is asking a $5 ticket donation, with children under 12 free, to help with costs. In addition to the music, brisket or pulled pork sandwiches with chips and a drink will be sold for $5 a plate, and soft drinks will be sold throughout the evening. Baked goods will be sold at silent auction with a few being sold in a live auction during the band’s 15-minute break.

Proceeds from the benefit are used for travel expenses and workout equipment for the wrestling club, and with the help of donations from the dance many local athletes have been able to participate at the national level and earn college scholarships.

The first benefit was held in 2003 to help then high school athletes Daren Hockett and Michael Martinez travel to the Junior National Wrestling Tournament held in Fargo, North Dakota. Both put their sponsorship to good use, as Daren Hockett attended Western State College on a wrestling scholarship, and graduated this spring with a degree in exercise science. Michael is still actively competing for the University of Wyoming and USA Wrestling, and is currently one of the top ranked wrestlers in the nation at his weight. He has traveled overseas and competed internationally four times since his high school days in Pagosa Springs. Recent graduates Mike Smith, Steven Smith, and Joe DuCharme all used benefit funds to travel to national events and earn college scholarships as well, and DuCharme has the distinction of wrestling for the University of Iowa, the premier collegiate wrestling program in the nation, an honor that could only come with national exposure.

The Pagosa Wrestling Club has priced the event modestly to provide an affordable family evening of entertainment, but don’t be fooled, the quality food and entertainment you will receive will exceed the donation admission, and you will have a guaranteed good time. Food will begin serving at 6 p.m. and the music is from 6:30-10.

For more information on the High Rollers and their complete summer schedule see their website at www.highrollersband.com.