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Fundraising effort raises eyebrows and dollars

Longtime local community fundraising crackerjack Sheryl Rhoden got together a few months ago with Prineville business owner Rachel Carnahan to explore possible fundraising options to support this year's Crooked River Roundup.
   What was clear to them both was that the local fund raising pool from which special interest groups draw support, tends to shrink every year.
   The goal quickly became to create something that could generate funds of its own volition without contributing to the usual drain on the local economy. The product these two entrepreneurial gals came up with, if all pans out as planned, will generate enough resources to support this year's Roundup promotions and fuel some dynamic new enterprises as well.
   Rhoden indicated that after researching several possibilities they narrowed the options down to one exciting prospect _ the creation of a calendar which could foster local and national appeal.
   After receiving approval from the Roundup board, Carnahan and Rhoden began coordinating their efforts with enthusiasm and within two weeks the fundraiser was well on its way to production, complete with enough sponsors to pay for the venture.
   The results speak volumes. Titled after last year's Roundup theme `Expose Yourself to the West', the 12 month calender features 11 local beauties in fairly tame yet provocative western-style poses.
   Tastefully executed by local photographer Betty Woodward, the overall goal was to generate enough interest in the calendar by its cover that folks would be compelled to pick it up. And the cover is certainly the most risque photo of all, although it still leaves plenty to the imagination.
   "Although it's been fairly well received, you're always going to generate some discussion with a product like this," Carnahan conceded. "The cover has caused some controversy, but we feel that can only help in the long run."
   The ambition is to make the calendar available to as wide an audience as possible, hence the new website: www.westernexposures.net. where calendars are available to order online. The website takes the calendar virtually to the world's marketplace.
   Citing the success of similar calendar fundraisers conducted in communities across the nation, Rhoden believes that they will eventually garner enough support for the product to gain exposure on the national scene.
   "We've sent calendars to Good Morning America, Jay Lenno, AM Northwest and the Today Show with a note explaining what we're doing," Rhoden explained. "That we are a small community impacted by layoffs in the timber industry and agricultural decline, and this is our way to support our biggest local event and bring added tourist dollars to our city. Do we have expectations? You bet! I think that we will sell all 4,000 calenders, and we will get a phone call from a nationally broadcast show which will take us over the top."
   The proceeds are earmarked for Roundup promotions, geared toward augmenting the annual Rodeo and Races. Organizers hope to provide added headliner entertainment, or possibly bring more art to Crook County.
   "Eventually we would like to put some kind of cool sculpture down at the `Y' or bring in some really cool banners, or sponsor a concert with the proceeds, but we don't really know where it's all going to go, so we haven't made any decisions yet," Rhoden emphasized. "The calendar will be an annual deal, and we see this thing only growing."
    Calendars are available locally at retailers including the Robin's Nest, Napa Auto Parts, Boss Hogs, Fair Feed and Tip Toes Salon. For more information call 447-8633 or 416-1893.