LAPS nonprofit celebrates 25 years at annual Canine 4K race in Frisco | SummitDaily.com
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LAPS nonprofit celebrates 25 years at annual Canine 4K race in Frisco

Jessica Smith
jsmith@summitdaily.com
Participants in the 2013 LAPS Canine 4K. People running or walking are encouraged to bring their dogs along on the event, though it's not required.
Special to the Daily |

LAPS 25th annual Canine 4K

Date: Saturday, August 1

Time: Registration is 8-9 a.m. Race begins 9:15 a.m.

Location: Gazebo at Main Street and 2nd Avenue, Frisco

Cost: $25 per dog (so the whole family can come) until July 31, then LAPS members are $25 and non-members are $30 on event day. Pay online until July 31 at http://www.summitlaps.com.

More info: Learn more at http://www.summitlaps.com.

It was 25 years ago when Nancy Ring decided that Summit County needed a nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of pets. Then the director of the Summit County Animal Shelter, she felt that an organization could help out local pet owners not only with spay and neuter, but also in the case of traumatic incidents requiring extensive veterinary intervention.

“She saw a need,” said her husband, John Ring.

She also recognized that the organization would best serve as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, running on funding from grants and tax-exempt donations from individual supporters.

Now, 25 years later, the organization that she founded — the League of Animals and People of the Summit — is still going strong.

Every year, at the first weekend of August, LAPS holds its biggest fundraiser of the year — the Canine 4K, a run/walk event for dogs and their owners. This year, the event celebrates its quarter-century birthday along with the organization that spawned it.

NEW ADDITIONS

While the race is the main event, there are plenty of things happening around the block of 2nd Avenue and Main Street in Frisco during the Canine 4K.

A silent auction will offer a variety of items donated by local businesses, from restaurant certificates to doggy goody bags.

Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital, based in Dillon, will be offering discounted prices on microchips.

On the dog-entertainment side, in addition to the usual misting tent and kiddie pools, there will be a small agility course set up, which people can make use of throughout the event.

On the people-entertainment side, local musician Randall McKinnon will be performing throughout. He will also be a judge in the after-race dog contests, with categories like Best Pet/Owner Lookalike, Biggest/Smallest Dog, Best (Dog) Singer, etc.

There will be the usual free coffee and donuts from Abbey’s Coffee — long a supporter of LAPS — as well as a new custom-designed t-shirt. Liz Litwiller of Squeeze Designz has been creating unique designs for LAPS since she was in high school, said LAPS president Sally Beerup, “and always comes up with something new and fun.”

Registration is paid per dog because “we want it to be an affordable, family-friendly outing,” said Beerup, where cost doesn’t prohibit which family members can attend.

Even those without a dog of their own or a friend’s to borrow can participate in the race.

Nearly all the proceeds go toward LAPS’ programs. The organization is run completely by volunteers. Beerup said that each year, the race draws in about 150 dog entries, which means higher numbers in terms of people.

TRUE TO MISSION

Beerup has been involved with LAPS for almost 20 years, 15 of which have been spent as the president.

“It’s been fun,” she said. “We do get a little bit better every year.”

In the past few years, LAPS has added more events to its line-up, from the HOWLaween Ball in October (that also benefits three other local animal-related nonprofits), to the Mardi Paws Barkus Parade in the spring, the Copper’s Gone to the Dogs June event and, most recently, the BowWow Film Festival.

Abbey’s Coffee owner Suzie VerSchure has been involved with LAPS as either a volunteer or board member since 1999. That was right around when she opened her coffee shop and was looking for local organizations to support. She met Nancy Ring, who suggested LAPS, and the rest is history.

“I love animals, and I thought it’s a good cause,” said VerSchure, who owns three dogs.

Having the organization reach 25 years means a lot, she said. “It just illustrates that Summit County residents love their animals and that there has been need for something like LAPS.”

Ring passed away in January of 2010. However, her husband John says that while the years have passed, the founding essentials of LAPS have not changed.

“In overview of the whole thing, I think one of the truly exemplary pieces of this whole puzzle is the fact that the mission of LAPS has been served well, based on its founding tenants,” he said. “I think it does exactly what it was set up to do, and it performs very well. And, it’s almost 100-percent volunteers (who) make all this happen; so, that’s really the amazing thing, is it has such large community support, and it actually achieves the goal that it was originally founded to do. After 25 years, that’s definitely a good thing to say.”

He has participated in the event most years, either as a volunteer, coordinator or as a participant. He definitely plans to be around for this year’s event, he said, though he’s not entirely sure yet if he’ll be running.

Asked for a final thought, he said, “Nancy is undoubtedly looking down at the race every year with a smile on her face, knowing that it’s been 25 years, and the true mission is carrying on.”


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