Local businesses honor vets on Veterans Day

‘Salute for Heroes’ event draws huge crowd to Cowboy Joe’s Liquor Barn and Sportsworld, raising thousands for local VFW post

Kayne Pyatt, Herald Reporter
Posted 11/14/23

‘Salute for Heroes’ event draws huge crowd to Cowboy Joe’s Liquor Barn and Sportsworld, raising thousands for local VFW post

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Local businesses honor vets on Veterans Day

‘Salute for Heroes’ event draws huge crowd to Cowboy Joe’s Liquor Barn and Sportsworld, raising thousands for local VFW post


EVANSTON — A Salute for Heroes Veterans Day event held at Cowboy Joe’s Liquor Barn and Sportsworld drew a huge crowd on Saturday, Nov. 11. A rare bourbon auction and raffle were the main events of the day, along with free food, and vendors providing samples of bourbon and other spirits.

The celebration began at 1 p.m. with a 21-gun salute provided by members of Evanston’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4280. The veterans stood facing the nation’s commemorative flags which were displayed outside the store in front of the window. The seven veterans raised their rifles and fired three times, as a large crowd watched and, at the conclusion of the ceremony, applauded and cheered.

Cowboy Joe’s manager Lori Dynneson said, “We want to especially thank the members of VFW 4280 for the gun salute and starting our event off successfully. We estimate approximately 200 people attended the entire event. We are very thankful for the bourbon enthusiasts in the community and for those who make a long drive to donate to a great cause. We’d also like to thank our staff, store manager Janet McCormick and Sportsworld manager Mark Tesoro for their hard work and putting in the extra hours to make this event a success.”

Raffle tickets were available at Sportsworld, where the raffle items were displayed. First raffle prize was a Citadel 45ACP pistol; second prize was a Eagle Rare 10-year bourbon; and third prize was a 20-quart Pelican ice chest. Raffle tickets were also available for additional prizes of bottles of bourbon.

Vendors who provided tasting samples in Cowboy Joe’s included the following: Pine Bluff Distilling, Jackson Hole Still Works, Jack Daniels, Horse Soldier, E & J Gallo Wine & Spirits, Constellation and Teton Distributors. 

Double Dub’s food truck, available for purchase of wings and side dishes, was parked near the entrance of the parking lot. They gave veterans discounts on purchases.

Sportsworld and Cowboy Joe’s had advertised in the Uinta County Herald for several weeks, asking people to nominate their favorite veteran hero for the chance to win prizes. Dynneson said they received 19 nominations and Tesoro announced the winners. 

Two veterans received honorable mention. John Dunn, a long-haul truck driver was nominated by his 80-year-old mother, Louise Dunn, who lives in Kansas. She said he was her personal hero and had served in the Air Force for 17 years and in Iraq. The second honorable mention was Pearl Robins, 102 years old, who was nominated by local Jonathan Lange. He wrote that Robins had served as a communication expert during WWII and moved to Evanston in 2022.

Third-place winner of the hero award was Raymond (Scrubber) Dahlman, nominated by local resident Shelly Horne. Dahlman, from Almy, served in WWII and was part of the D-Day invasion. He received a $100 gift card and a Ruger 22 LCP pistol.

Second-place winner was Travis McClean, nominated by his mother, Marian McClean. He enlisted in the Army in 2000 and is part of the Calvary Scouts. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003 on May 2, and his son was born on May 8. He won a $100 gift card and a Ruger 22 LCP pistol.

First-place winner of the hero award was Michael F. Webb. Webb is a Vietnam War veteran who earned a Purple Heart for his bravery. He was visibly emotional as Tesoro read the nomination letter written by his daughter, Shelley Webb. Shelley said his consistent love and support makes him her hero. Webb won a $100 gift card, a bottle of rare bourbon and a Weatherby 6.5 rifle.

All of the other nominees received a $50 gift card and a gift bag. Gift cards and all of the guns were donated by Sportsworld.

Dynneson said it was very difficult to choose a winner, as the letters they received were very heartfelt. They are very grateful for all of the nominations and plan to do this event every year for Veterans Day.

At 3 p.m., the auction of 15 special reserve and limited editions of rare bourbon collections began with Kevin Kallas as auctioneer. The bidding was competitive and Kallas kept the momentum rising as the bids went higher and higher.

After the 15 collections had all been purchased, Cowboy Joe’s offered two more collections, one a repeat of one collection that had raised $1,100 — and Kallas was able to get the same amount for the identical collection. The other was a collection of four bottles of bourbon; two of which are now no longer available. Kallas was able to get $2,150 for that collection.

“A special thanks to Kevin Kallas who donated his time for the auction. We raised a total of $22,000,” Dynneson said. “That includes the proceeds from the bourbon auction, raffle and other tickets. We only take out the retail cost of the items and the profits all go to the local VFW 4280.”

After the auction, 72 people who had registered at the store ahead of time and been given a number in order of when they registered, stood in line to purchase other bottles of rare bourbon. Dynneson said that people were standing in line to register when she came to work at 7 a.m. that day. After those registered completed their purchases, if there was any of the rare bourbon left, others attending could purchase the bourbon.

“First and foremost, we wish to thank all veterans and active military personnel,” Dynneson said. “Without their service, we could not be or do what we do. We plan to honor veterans with a celebration event annually.”