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Operation Warhorse launches with event at Steamboat Whiskey

Tyree Woods, and his band Buffalo Commons, will be headlining the fundraising effort this Saturday at the Steamboat Whisky Co. for the Warhorse Ranch. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When he first heard about Warhorse Ranch coming to Routt County, it struck a cord with Buffalo Common’s front man Tyree Woods.

“I wrote them an email just saying I’d like to be involved in some capacity,” Woods said. “Programs like that have literally saved my life.”

Warhorse Ranch is a historic North Routt County ranch that is planned to help those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma victims seeking support.

Woods’ support of the event is personal after being seriously injured in an explosion during his second tour in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. He still carries physical and mental impacts of that day.

“I know how important it is to have people out there trying to help people with these same issues, and I just think it’s a really incredible thing that they’re doing. I’m honored to be a part of it,” he said.

Woods and his Buffalo Commons bandmates will headline Operation Warhorse, the local organization’s first fundraising event, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Whiskey Co.

Buffalo Commons will be playing three sets throughout the day, the first staring at 12:30 p.m. Between sets there will be collaborative and informative discussions with other organizations offering resources in Routt County as well as a silent auction and raffle drawings.

Those attending will be asked to make a minimum $25 donation at the door, but organizer Mike Lozano said he is hoping to get more to support the equine-assisted therapy facility devoted to empowering veterans, first responders and trauma survivors who live with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Warhorse Ranch sits on 35 acres about 30 minutes north of Steamboat Springs on Routt County Road 56. Lozano founded the ranch with his wife, Valery, who is also president of the organization.

The goal is to turn the historic ranch into a sanctuary for those dealing with PTSD and other traumas. As a former Marine, Lozano understands the issues that military personnel, law enforcement officers and first responders often face. The couple plans to start offering retreats and other activities on the ranch in summer 2021.

The fundraiser is hoping to draw people into Steamboat Whiskey Co. for the music and silent auction items while raising awareness for the ranch and other community organizations that offer help, including the Routt County Crisis Center and Re-Generation Recovery. The group has also invited Jim Stanko to speak on the behalf of American Legion Post No. 44 and VFW Post 4264.

Valery and Mike Lozano stand inside the 100-plus-year-old barn located on the Warhorse Ranch north of Steamboat Springs. The two moved here a year ago with a dream of starting an equine therapy program to help veterans, first responders, police and those dealing with PTSD and trauma. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Alpine Bank is also helping fund the event and will be spearheading a month-long campaign honoring veterans and supporting Operation Warhorse. MTN-TV Steamboat will also be live-streaming parts of Saturday’s event.

Lozano said the event crowds will be limited and will follow state and county health orders related to COVID-19. He said the plan is to use the outdoor seating on the business’ deck, and masks will be required.

Jessica Lozano pets Star, one of the horses that will be used for equine therapy on the Warhorse Ranch north of Steamboat Springs. (Photo by John F. Russell)

“We’re hoping that on Saturday, at the very minimum, we’re getting people to the resources they need,” Valery Lozano said. “That’s why we wanted to pull everyone in Routt County that offers support whether it’s addiction therapy, or mental health therapy, or therapy for first responders.

“We wanted to pull everybody in and say this is the opportunity for everyone to get the word out that we have all these resources available to people, and we want them to know about it.”


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