"Challenge Eight Fund" Campaign Underway

July 6, 2005


A campaign to raise additional funds for the University of Wyoming's new outdoor track facility, while honoring the eight track ahletes tragically killed in a 2001 automobile accident, is now underway, Athletics Director Gary Barta announced Wednesday.

Gifts may be sent in care of "The Challenge Eight Fund" to the UW Foundation, 1200 Ivinson, Laramie, WY 82070, Barta said.

During the Wyoming State Legislature's most recent session, an amendment to the state's matching fund waived the $25,000 minimum to qualify for the state match, allowing donors to contribute any amount to the fund. While the Legislative match is essentially exhausted, $50,000 of that match was reserved by UW for the Challenge Eight Fund.

The new track will be named for the eight who were killed in the traffic accident Sept. 16, 2001. The eight student-athletes--Justin M. Lambert-Belanger, Cody B. Brown, Kyle N. Johnson, Joshua D. Jones, Morgan J. McLeland, Kevin L. Salverson, Nicholas J. Schabron and Shane E. Shatto--all were members of UW's cross country and track teams.

Gifts from the fund, as well as a generous gift from the estate of Louis S. Madrid, a member of the UW track from from 1952 through 1955, will build the new track . Construction on the new track will begin next spring.

According to the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Wasserburger of Gillette, the state will match any gift regardless of amount. The amendment required that all money raised during the campaign be utilized to construct the track, and that the state would begin matching gifts only after at least one donor made a contribution of $25,000 or greater to the account. The legislation also indicated that to qualify for the match, the gifts to the fund had to be made after July 1, 2005.

An anonymous donor has triggered the campaign with a $25,000 gift, made on behalf of the families of the eight student-athletes, Barta said.