Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs helped raise money Wednesday night, to rebuild the Flying W Ranch destroyed by the Waldo Canyon Fire.
The chapel provided facilities to host a two-hour concert featuring the Sons of the Pioneers and the Flying W Wranglers, two groups that normally performed daily during summer at the ranch. The groups are the world's oldest western singing groups.
The crowd of 1,600 people each bought a $35 ticket to attend the concert. Half of the proceeds will benefit ranch employees who have been unemployed since the fire, and the remaining money will pay for rebuilding the ranch.
Ranch Founder Russ Wolfe said he hopes to reopen the ranch by the summer of 2014. He received a standing ovation for his 60 years of managing the ranch, and for his efforts to rebuild it.
"We're famous because since 1953, we've been clean, entertaining and good for everybody," said Wolfe. "We're going to continue."
David Bradley, a Wrangler who also is a former Pioneer, said both groups have been fortunate to find regular work since the fire.
"We've been on the road a lot," said Bradley. "A lot of private parties, private functions and some public functions."
Former Wrangler Scotty Vaughn, pastor of the ranch's church that was lost in the fire, said the concert represents an opportunity.
"This is a great chance for us to thank the community for its support, and to thank the ranch for all that it's meant to me," said Vaughn.
The concert came a week short of the two-month anniversary of the fire.