Animal lovers gathered under the big top in Castle Pines Village to enjoy the talented Diana Ross at the 15th annual Lulu's BBQ fundraiser. This event benefits homeless pets and horses at the Dumb Friends League Buddy Center in Castle Rock and the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown. Thanks to so many generous donations, the event raised more than $1 million, which will go directly to support the Dumb Friends League.
Article and photos by Lynn Zahorik
If you recently noticed a pristine white tent rising out of the hills of Castle Pines Village (CPV) and wondered why it was there, you are not alone. The tent was home to the 15th annual Lulu’s Barkin’ BBQ to benefit homeless pets and horses at the Dumb Friends League Buddy Center in Castle Rock and the Harmony Equine Center in Franktown. More than 560 passionate animal lovers from across Colorado and other parts of the United States gathered at this sold-out event held on August 20 at the beautiful CPV home of hosts Jana and Fred Bartlit.
A beautiful summer evening was the perfect backdrop for enjoying this fantastic fundraiser. As guests arrived they were greeted by adorable dogs and cats who were available for adoption. Stormy, Hula, Aladdin and Jasmine were just a few of the cleverly named critters who stole everyone’s hearts. Eight-week-old Bessie and Delta were the first two charming puppies to be adopted.
While partaking of appetizers and drinks, attendees perused the silent auction tent submitting bids on the collection of 125 unique auction items. A delectable Texas-style barbecue of beef tenderloin, fried catfish and all the fixings was prepared by Perini Ranch Steakhouse, whose owners and staff came all the way from Buffalo Gap, Texas to prepare their famous food. Immediately following dinner, a spirited live auction warmed up the crowd for the main attraction.
This year’s entertainer was singer, songwriter, actress and record producer Diana Ross, who rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes. Ross brought the crowd to their feet when she took to the stage and kept them
dancing for the rest of the concert with favorite tunes like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She mesmerized the audience with her fashion flare and regal beauty.
CPV residents Nancy and Steve Hardardt have attended Lulu’s BBQ for the past seven years. They adopted their Pekingese, Yorkie, Shih Tzu-mix at this event five years ago. Steve praised the fundraiser, “It’s a wonderful cause to help animals. It’s such an enjoyable evening of good food, good friends and good music.”
Sisters Jennifer Gerdes, Kim Bontrager, and Melissa Szymanski have been coming to this event with their parents Karen and Gerry Koch for 11 years. “We continue to come back each year, because the fundraiser supports such a good cause and one-hundred percent of the fund raising goes back to the DFL ,” said Kim. “Each year they bring animals to the event who get adopted, allowing us to see the impact that this fundraising event has on animals lives and in turn ours. Pets become part of our families and live in our hearts forever. Jan and Fred Bartlit rescued [their dog]Lulu, and this amazing event and fundraiser is the result. Lulu has had a huge impact on all of us!”
Thanks to so many generous donations, the event raised more than $1 million, a new all-time record for Lulu’s BBQ, and all of it goes directly to the DFL to support its services.
To learn more about the Dumb Friends League, visit ddfl.org. To view a slideshow of the event, visit www.castlepinesconnection.com and click on “Photo Albums.”