Co-sponsored by BMI, the ski-and-music event - the Ultimate Backstage Pass - is slated for Jan. 27 through Feb. 1, 2004. It is the signature fundraiser for the T.J. Martell Foundation's Nashville Division and supports groundbreaking work by cancer researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's Frances Williams Preston Laboratories, named after BMI President and CEO Frances Preston. She is also the president of the board for the Martell Foundation and serves on the board of VICC.
"Over the past 10 years, Country in the Rockies has become a family reunion of sorts, with the renewal of friendships and acquaintances among artists and songwriters, doctors and scientists, and friends and fans of both," said BMI VP and event co-chair Paul Corbin. "What really makes it magical is the wonderful blend of old friends with new folks who join the Country in the Rockies family each year."
First-time artists and writers at Country in the Rockies X will have plenty of event favorites to show them the ropes. Returning artists include Kathy Mattea, Lari White, Suzy Bogguss, Deborah Allen, Billy Dean, Gary Morris, Gary Chapman, Robert Earl Keen, Charlie Daniels and Jo Dee Messina. Also joining the fun will be BMI Award-winning songwriters Jon Vezner, Chuck Cannon, Doug Crider, Aaron Barker, Dean Dillon, Bob DiPiero, Jeffrey Steele and Leslie Satcher. In addition, Tom Gross will return to provide expert commentary during the celebrity ski races and emcee the event.
Additional artists will be added during the coming weeks.
Country in the Rockies X is being billed as a "10-10-10" celebration, marking 10 years of the Preston Laboratories and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, 10 years of Country in the Rockies, and Vanderbilt-Ingram's ranking among the top 10 places for cancer care in a national survey.
The event has skiing and music at its core, but offers something for everyone. Outdoor activities include snow-skiing, celebrity ski races, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog-sledding and horseback riding. Indoors, participants can take in all-star concerts on the Club Med stage, informal fireside "guitar pulls" till the wee hours, and a celebrity Happy Hour in downtown Crested Butte. Silent and live auctions will feature entertainment, travel and dining packages, artwork, sports memorabilia, instruments and other items.
The all-inclusive package includes lodging at Club Med, lift tickets, meals and hospitality, as well as the flight into the nearby Gunnison, Colo., airport and ground transportation to the hotel. Guests also receive a "goodie bag" with skis or snowboard, ski clothing and CD's and cool mementoes.
The Martell Foundation and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have been partners in the fight against cancer since 1993, when the Preston Laboratories, supported by the Martell Foundation, and the Cancer Center were first established. Since that time, Martell has provided more than $13 million in important seed funding to "jumpstart" innovative science in the Preston Laboratories; in turn, that investment has been leveraged into more than $100 million in competitive funding from other sources, including the National Cancer Institute.
Proceeds from Country in the Rockies support the Martell Foundation and the Preston Laboratories. The Martell Foundation's support has contributed to VICC's growth and reputation, including its designation as one of only 38 National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Centers and its inclusion among the top 10 places for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" ranking.