MBA Student Creates Fundraiser to Provide Hay for Horses Displaced by Roaring Lion Fire

Miles Wetzel and musicians at event

The entire Bitterroot Valley community was affected by the Roaring Lion fire near Hamilton.  Numerous structures were destroyed, and over 500 homes were evacuated.  As a result, an overwhelming number of horses needed food and shelter.

School of Business Administration MBA student Miles Wetzel knew that the community desperately needed help and that he had the skills and connections to make a difference. 

In the span of just five days, he created a fundraiser and benefit concert called “Hay for Horses” to support the animals displaced by the fire.

For a venue and sponsorship, Wetzel contacted Lolo Peak Brewery, which donated one dollar for each beer they sold that evening to the disaster fund.

With the venue pinned down, Wetzel reached out to friends Melissa Forrette, a Missoula singer-songwriter, and Darci Carlson, a Seattle-based outlaw country musician, to play the event.  After hearing them play, the UMEM A&R team was very interested in adding these artists to their student-run record label.

“I tried my best to include all the different elements,” said Wetzel.  “Mike Morelli’s event management class gave me the extra confidence to pull something like this off.”

The Western Montana Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation (WMERR) also contributed to the fundraising efforts by selling “whiskHAY” glasses as well as beer and wine glasses during the event.

WMERR sold out of the glassware they took to the brewery in just two hours, but glasses are still available by special order on the WMERR website.

To date, “Hay for Horses” has raised nearly $1,800, and it was one of the highest grossing days ever for Lolo Peak Brewery.   All the funds collected went to a non-profit created by Shannon Alexander of the WMERR.