The fourth annual Stephen Gardner Memorial Indoor Soccer Classic is set to take place Sunday, March 30. This year’s tournament and auction will be held for long-time Crested Butte resident Neil Gainous who is currently suffering from neck and throat cancer. The event, which started in 2011, is in honor of Stephen Gardner who was not only battling cancer but struggling to keep up with medical bills associated with the disease. Each year community members gather to raise money for someone in a similar position.
Crested Butte residents who love watching soccer, playing the game or just helping out neighbors can participate in the event. This year’s event is an expanded version that will allow young residents in grades seven to 10 to play.
Neil Gainous moved to Crested Butte in 1983, leaving his life as a musician behind. He married wife Suzette in 1984, whom he was convinced to move to the area by, and the two started a family. In November 2013, Neil was diagnosed with throat and neck cancer, forcing him to leave his 12-year post as the owner and operator of Equity Builders and Remodel.
Today, he has to travel to Grand Junction for radiation, chemotherapy treatments, surgeries and more. While his determination to be strong is present, the overwhelming costs of medical treatment have been tough on the family.
Each team costs $50 to enter the tournament and each team should consist of at least five people. The youth tournament begins at 7 a.m. and the adult games will follow at 9:30 a.m. After the sporting events are concluded, an after-party with a raffle and silent auction at the Brick Oven will begin at 5 p.m.