The weather outside may have been biting cold, but the cards were flying hot for Matt, the grand prize winner of the 6thannual All In For Kids charity poker tournament! Congratulations Matt on your incredible win, and for going “all in” for the kids and families that we serve. We really appreciate the outstanding generosity of our 275 players and special guests!

We are very grateful to have hosted a SOLD OUT tournament for the second year in a row! Thank you to our incredible Calgary corporate supporters for your sponsorship of this longstanding and growing event. Your sponsorship has cultured this event into our single largest and signature fundraiser of the year. We extend a heartfelt thank you to the following companies for their generous sponsorship of the sixth annual All In For Kids Charity Poker Tournament.

  • The Parks of Harvest Hills, by Cedarglen Homes, Royal Flush Sponsor
  • Anthem United, Reception and Suds Sponsor
  • TD, Pocket Aces Sponsor
  • TriWest Capital Partners, Three Jacks Sponsor
  • Luxuria Homes, Entertainment Sponsor
  • Morrison Homes, Snack Bar Sponsor

The evening began with appetizers, drinks and socializing before Jock Wilson announced cards were set to fly and everyone needed to take their seats. There were 25 full tables of players vying for the final table, as well for celebrities’ bounty items. Andrew Phung (of Kim’s Convenience fame), Neil Zeller (local photographer), Russ Romaniuk (NHL Alumnus), Leaving Thomas (musicians with a newly released album), and Dana Murzyn (NHL Alumnus) were just some of the celebs mingling with our guests and vying for spots at the final table. Thank you to all of our invited celebrities for giving of your time and interest to make this evening special for everyone. Jock, you have been our host for each of the six years of this tournament; your enthusiasm and steadfast support is much appreciated. You take many of our worries away by helping the event to run seamlessly. Many thanks!

The fun continued throughout the night, with a silent auction, dinner and live music by Alberta’s very own Drew Gregory (ACMA award winner, 2015 and 2016) and Quinn Smith from the Calgary Stampeders. This was an exciting addition to the 2018 tournament. Thank you, Drew and Quinn, for your collaboration on the set and for adding some fun and much-loved music to our dinner break!

Thank you to Westjet for donating two Gift of Flight tickets to our silent auction; we trust the winner will use these to escape the current wintry blast we are experiencing!  We appreciate the support that WestJet has provided to Kids Up Front over the years; WestJet and their employees are generous community supporters to many organizations across the city and this deserves to be recognized.  Thank you for being a part of our 2018 successes!

Thank you, as always, to Big Chief Meat Snacks, a longtime supporter of our events as well as a generous ticket donor. Thank you to Paul and your staff for being so lovely to work with, and so generous with the beef jerky that our guests have come to know and enjoy every year!

Thank you to Mark, Chris, Zac and Meryl at Cowboys for assisting us at every turn to ensure the event was ready to go and did not disappoint!

We also wish to extend a very big and heartfelt thank you to our team of 20 volunteers who helped us out that evening; we really and truly could not have hosted this event without you! Kids Up Front is only a staff of four; our volunteers are integral team members.  We really appreciate your willingness to take on all kinds of tasks, even dirty ones (such as set up and clean up), picking up items for us, delivering items, setting up displays, hauling boxes, unpacking, and much more. Volunteering is not always glamorous, and we appreciate the willingness of so many to pitch in where needed most, to stay late in the evening on a work night, and to problem solve “on-the-spot”. Thank you to all who helped with registration, greeting guests, finding table numbers, checking the coffee, replenishing the snack table, helping at the silent auction, and tidying up. This is many man hours that our small team would not be able to do on our own.

A big shout out to Will and Denise who each spent about 14 hours with us that day, picking up product, hauling items in your vehicles, setting up, cleaning and packing alongside us. We wish we could offer you more than our team’s collective thank you; we truly appreciate the gifts of time and talent that you have given us. We can not thank you enough! You are tremendous assets to our KUF Krew.

Thank you also to our Board of Directors and the established poker committee that helps us to put on this incredibly successful event each year. We are grateful to work alongside such a dedicated and reliable group of people every day. Your advice, ideas, availability, and hard work are sincerely appreciated by our very small team. Thank you for stepping up when you are needed most!

Bryton Udy from Leaving Thomas with T the Ticket!

Finally, thank you to Dave and Zul at Mad Monkey. Mad Monkey donated all of the printing for the event, the mementos and signage and sponsor boards. This is truly valued by our team and our organization; your incredible support continues throughout the calendar year and we hope you know that we sincerely appreciate it. You deserve to be recognized as one of our longstanding and committed supporters.  Thank you. Your support allows donor dollars to go where they are needed most, and that is to our programming for deserving kids and families. Always a pleasure to work alongside you.

Along with the previously mentioned celebrities, we were joined by Alex Singleton, Brent Krahn, Brock Andrews, Cayla Spiess, DeVone Claybrooks, Ekaterina Zavialova, Fuzzy from 98.5, Gord Sherven, Jasmine Mian, Terry “THE Man Tracker” Grant, Mike Cvik and Ray Schultz. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, Charlie Simmer and Tammara Behl could not attend, but we hope to have them back next year.

Finally, a thank you and goodbye is owed to Charleston Hughes. The 10-year Stampeder was traded just days prior and settled with the rival Roughriders, but spent his final day in Calgary supporting the community, first skiing with fans at Sunshine before going All In. He made the final table for the second year in a row – we’ll miss you, Charleston. Take it easy when you play the Stamps.

The 6th Annual All In For Kids Charity Poker tournament was again a knockout success, and we thank all of our sponsors, corporate supporters, individuals and companies that purchased tables and invited guests to ensure that thousands of local kids get a seat in the crowd in 2018.

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