Skip to main content


Sponsor a Child

30 Years of History

The Sheridan Arts Foundation invites you to be a part of one of the most meaningful and exciting festivals of the Telluride community, the annual Wild West Fest. We celebrated our landmark 30th annual Wild West Fest on June 4-10, 2023 with 34 youth from Boys and Girls Clubs of Mobile, AL, Wichita Falls, TX, Farmington, NM, Denver, CO and regional youth from the West End traveling to Telluride for a celebration of the past and future at no cost to them or their families.

In 1991, Sandra and Keith Carradine held a Wild West Roundup at Carsten’s Ranch with celebrity friends like Mel Gibson, Rodney Crowell and Brian Dennehy to raise the much-needed funds to save the historic Sheridan Opera House from demolition and establish the Sheridan Arts Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit that owns and operates the opera house. During the Roundup, the idea to share the beauty and culture of Telluride with youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America was born.

The Carradines and the Sheridan Arts Foundation officially kicked off the program with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver skiing with gold medalist Franz Klammer with the help of community member Mickey Salloway and his relationship with Telluride Ski and Golf.

In 1995, WWF moved to the fall when twenty-eight kids and seven counselors from Farmington, Denver and the Ute reservation participated. Youth worked in mentorships with Daryl Hannah (pictured above) in drama, Rodney Crowell in songwriting and professional rodeo cowboy Larry Mahan in horseback riding. The week included a cutting event with participation from Ralph Lauren’s ranch to raise awareness for the program. 

Christie Brinkley and Richard Taubman

The next few years included Daryl Hannah hosting the entire week, celebrity cutting events with Christie Brinkley, performances from the Supremes, and expanding the program to include 35 kids from various Boys and Girls Clubs of America including Atlanta. Other celebrities like Mac Davis, Rickie Lee Jones, Peter Bogdanovich, Franz Weber, pro golfer Peter Kostis and Dennis Weaver all donated their time in the late 1990s.

Kids participated in the beloved Main Street parade alongside the Riata Ranch Cowgirls when the program was moved to the Fourth of July. Featuring Kansas Carradine, the kids and Cowgirls demonstrated their show-stopping trick riding and roping skills. With corporate sponsorships including Coca-Cola (still a sponsor today) and Chevy Trucks, participants grew to as many as 50 kids and included Telluride locals.

In 1998, beloved father, friend and Wild West Fest supporter Chip Allen tragically passed away. The Sheridan Arts Foundation honored his devotion to Wild West Fest by officially naming the three-day skill-building program that pairs WWF youth with experts in their field the Chip Allen Mentorship Program, or CAMP.

Namesake of CAMP, Chip Allen

Chip’s daughter Ann shares,

“Chip Allen was a man of character and integrity who always had a smile on his face. He was a wonderful father and inspiration to many young children and adults. He always believed in providing opportunities for kids from all backgrounds. We are honored that his legacy will continue with the Chip Allen mentorship program at the Sheridan Opera House.”

In 2003, Wild West Fest was moved to the first week of June making it easier to obtain the necessary lodging and services donated by local businesses. Other than a two-year hiatus during COVID, the SAF continues to bring kids from all over the country and the region for a week of empowering mentorship filled with A- list talent and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The SAF hopes to continue for another 30 years.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation ensures that kids attend at no cost to their families. The SAF has taken on the task of providing all lodging, meals and activities for the week, at a cost of approximately $45,000 annually. This substantial fundraising goal is achieved largely by generous contributions made by our local, regional and national patrons and granting foundations.

Wild West Fest has been supported in the past by grants from Colorado Creative Industries, The PeyBack Foundation, The Telluride Foundation, CCAASE and the Just for Kids Foundation. Each $1,500 raised covers the cost of welcoming one child to the Wild West Fest which does not account for the significant time spent by staff in planning and executing the week.

Wild West Fest Official Artwork

Artist Molly Perrault produced Be Open, the official artwork of the 30th annual Wild West Fest, using her signature collage technique. Using tiny shards of found colors and textures carefully cut from magazines, Perrault strives to create the illusion of oil paintings without paint. Some of the papers she used to construct this image of possibility, hope and the beauty of the west include old Wild West Fest posters from the previous 30 years. The hard work and support given to the past 29 Wild West Fests are symbolized in the scraps of past posters that build upon one another to create Perrault’s image of unlimited potential. Our present and future begin with our past.

With a focus on rendering landscapes, she enjoys slowly reconstructing the places that have been a source of inspiration, adventure, and comfort. Perrault views her process as cyclical: nature is used to produce the paper in which the magazines are printed, and she assumes her creative role in both the act of destruction and reconstruction. Perrault sees her detail-oriented method as a path to subvert the artificial colors, extravagance, and careful page layouts of mainstream print media by returning its contents to a state of nature.

Perrault graduated summa cum laude and received her BFA from Louisiana State University. She debuted her first solo exhibition, Regeneration, at the Telluride Arts HQ Gallery and has also displayed her work at MiXX Projects + Atelier. She is currently represented at Slate Gray Gallery in Telluride. In 2019, Perrault was awarded Best in Show at the Annual Ouray County Arts Association Fine Art Show and 1st Place in Ah Haa School for the Arts’ Annual Juried Exhibition, 12″x12″. 

Previous official Wild West Fest artists include Donna Howell-Sickles, Bernard Williams, Nicole Finger, Lauren Metzger, Julee Hutchison, Terry Gardner, Keith Wicks, Roger Mason, Thom Ross, Wayne McKenzie, Michael Swearngin and Brett Schreckengost.


Please click on the button at the top of the page to become a child sponsor. 

Since 1991, the Sheridan Arts Foundation has raised more than $40,000 each year to bring 35-50 underserved youth from Boys & Girls Clubs from around the country, Nucla and Naturita to Telluride for a week of nurturing, child-centered mentorship programs and fascinating cultural experiences as a part of the Chip Allen Mentorship Program (CAMP). Chip Allen was a wonderful father, patron and mentor who tragically passed away in the early years of Wild West Fest. We are honored to help keep his memory alive as a champion of the program.

Children travel from cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Farmington N.M., Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Colorado Springs as well as local participants. The Sheridan Arts Foundation covers all costs of the program for each child which comes out to $1,500 per child. As costs continue to rise, our fundraising goal is now $45,000-$50,000. Child sponsors donate $1,500 or more to cover the cost of the week for a child. With their tax-deductible donation, child sponsors will receive:

  • an invite to every activity during the week, including our BBQ at the legendary Schmid Ranch which includes seeing their baby animals, going on tractor rides and sampling locally grown food.
  • receive a thank-you note from their sponsored child
  • two Wild West Fest t-shirts
  • a tax letter to the extent allowed by law

We also are dependent on corporate sponsorships. If your business is not able to make a monetary donation, we are always looking for local restaurants to donate a meal, activities that help us expose kids to the western culture of Telluride and lodging companies that can donate a condo for the week.

The 29th annual Wild West Fest took place June 6-11, 2022 after a two-year hiatus. We welcomed kids from Wichita Falls, TX, Denver, CO, and Nucla and Naturita, CO to our beautiful valley as well as local kids from Norwood and Telluride for an unforgettable week.  

Play Video
Watch this video to learn more about the program


Here in Telluride, we enjoy many privileges, and Wild West Fest is a chance to share our community with kids who can really benefit from what it has to offer. This is our chance to open our town and our hearts to kids in need. The goal of the Sheridan Arts Foundation every year is to provide an esteem-building experience for each child that allows them to challenge themselves in a supportive and non-competitive environment.

For many of these kids, this trip to Telluride marks their first time out of their home cities, their first time on an airplane, their first real vacation or first summer camp experience. Kids who come to the Wild West Fest learn about themselves, the world and the possibilities that exist.

During their week in Telluride, these kids work with nurturing mentors in the fields of fly fishing, performance, cooking, outdoor adventure, music and ranch life as well as take part in exciting outdoor adventures and meaningful cultural experiences.



Youth and counselors arrive from various Boys and Girls Clubs across the country including Mobile, AL, Farmington, NM, Wichita Falls, TX, Denver, CO, plus local groups from Nucla/Naturita, CO,  and move into their condos for the week


9 A.M. Elks Park Orientation

10 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. WWF CAMP

4:30 – 7:30 P.M. Wild West Fest Kick-Off Celebration and BBQ at the Down Valley Park for participants, supporters and sponsors with games, food and paddle boarding, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


9:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. WWF CAMP

4:30 – 7:30 P.M. Schmid Ranch Western BBQ for participants, supporters and sponsors (catered by Oak)


9:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. WWF CAMP

5 P.M. dinner at Rustico Ristorante


9 A.M. – 3 P.M. Circle K Ranch for WWF youth; featuring hikes, games and horseback rides

6-8 P.M. Pool party in Telluride Town Park (catered by Brown Dog Pizza)

8 P.M. Big Head Todd and the Monsters concert at the Sheridan Opera House, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


11 A.M. – 3 P.M. Wild West Fest Roundup– stagecoach rides, sheep-shearing demonstrations, nickel drop, Butch Cassidy reenactment, old-timey photos, Native American dance demonstration, Main Street, Elks Park, Oak St. Park, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

2-4 P.M. Meet and greet with official WWF artist Molly Perrault in the SHOW Bar. View and purchase Be Open, her collage that is on all WWF promo materials, with a portion of proceeds going to the program.

5 P.M. dinner at the Sheridan Opera House

8 P.M. Six One Five Collective concert at the Sheridan Opera House, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Groups depart for home

Donate to Wild West Fest

What Past Participants Say About Our Program:

MarcusAtlanta, age 15

Wild West Fest helped me to see a part of the world I never saw before. It also made me be able to meet new people and create new friendships that hopefully will last a lifetime. It opened my eyes to a new beginning

ValerieFarmington NM, age 14

Everyone in the whole town treated us like we were really important, and it felt good!

HeatherDenver, age 15

I loved everything about our trip to Telluride. I will remember most the kindness that everyone showed me.

BrandonAtlanta, age 13

It was fun meeting kids from small towns and big towns, everyone got along so well with each other. I liked the Opera House, it was fun to be able to perform on the stage.

AltaAtlanta, age 10

This place made me feel like a princess!

Support underserved youth from Boys & Girls clubs across the country.

Bring them to Telluride for a week of nurturing, child-centered mentorship programs and fascinating cultural experiences.