Tiffany Asher, [email protected]
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — The Rock Springs Men’s Hockey Association is pleased to announce its 37th annual Bud Cup 2023. This hockey tournament will be held on March 31, April 1, and April 2, 2023. Ten different hockey teams will hit sticks to raise money for a young child in Sweetwater County. The event is held at the Rock Springs Recreation Center’s Ice Arena. Those interested can swing by to watch some hockey, have some drinks, but most importantly, help a young child in need. All proceeds will go to Luke Cunningham and his family.
Brodie McJunkin took over the Bud Cup and is part of the hockey team Square State Brewery. He mentioned that the Bud Cup started in 1986, and this is the 37th tournament they’ve held. The fundraising started around 10-15 years ago and McJunkin took over the Bud Cup about 3-4 years, right before Covid hit the area.
McJunkin said, “There are three teams from Rock Springs that will be competing to help raise money for charity.” According to their schedule, teams will be from all around Wyoming, Denver, and Utah. Those teams include Square State Brewery, Pinedale, Powder Hounds, Grand Junction, Bad Joker Brewery, Wyoming Club, Salt Lake City Number 8’s, Rocky Mountain Glaciers, Mooseknuckles, and Bottom of the Barrel.
When asked how the Bud Cup chooses a child, McJunkin stated, “People usually message us on Facebook, but this year my girlfriend came upon the story, so we reached out.”
Kids get the best treatment, as McJunkin pointed out, “We have the kid and family come down to watch the hockey tournament, then we try to see the kids afterward, take them to dinner, or just do little things.” McJunkin said that last year they were able to raise around $7,000. This event helped to raise money to assist the Gasperetti family of Green River in 2022 with medical expenses and travel accommodations in relation to the care of Gabriela Grace “GG” Gasperetti who was born with Renal Agenesis.
Proceeds this year will go to Luke Cunningham and his family. Tickets for the raffles are $20 per ticket or 6 for $100, with prizes being a Springfield XD(M) 10mm, Traeger Pro 780 Pellet Smoker, or Kodiak 52 Gun Safe. To donate cash or prizes to this event, please contact Charlie Barnum at 307-371-5982 or John Gilchrist at 307-371-1988. Drawings will be held on April 1 during the tournament. Basket raffles will be held all three days of the tournament and are 1 for $2 or a wingspan for $20.
“I would like to thank all those who donated the raffle items. We will still accept raffle donations up until Friday at 6 p.m. and money donations throughout the event,” McJunkin said.
About Luke Cunningham
This year, the Bud Cup Fundraiser will help a young boy named Luke Cunningham. According to their flyer, “Luke was admitted to the E.R. with a severe traumatic brain injury the evening before Thanksgiving Day 2013. For the best treatment, he needed to be life-flighted to Salt Lake City, Utah for life-saving care. As the ambulance pulled up next to the plane Luke went into cardiac arrest. It took over an hour back at the E.R. to stabilize Luke. When he made it back to the plane, he had tubes and wires all over his tiny body. He was in a medically induced coma and on life support, the medics breathing for him until they made it to Primary Children’s Hospital. For 16 days, Luke underwent many procedures to save his life including being on life support and draining fluid from his brain. When he returned home, he had to re-learn everything he had learned in his short 6 months of life. Luke had a feeding tube and specialty care for an injury to his foot. Luke is a survivor of child abuse. He suffered shaken baby syndrome resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury as well as 2nd-degree burns to his foot.
His father was arrested and charged with 3 counts of felony child abuse. He was ordered to pay child support and support Luke through any treatment or care he may need until he is 18. Unfortunately, that is not happening and Luke needs help now. When you meet Luke today, it guarantees you see something astronomy related. With a book under his arm, planet magnets in his hand, or the solar system on his t-shirt, it’s easy to see this rambunctious 9-year-old is a super fan of the universe. When you ask Luke if you can hold his planet magnets, hesitantly he will oblige you, only handing over one, making sure to tell you which one it is and something special about it. If you ask Luke what the atmosphere on Jupiter is like, his bright multi-colored eyes will sparkle, dashes of green, gray, blue, and gold dancing about as he answers correctly. Through his glasses, you will see his right eye looking directly at your eyes his left eye, and slightly to your right.
One of Luke’s injuries resulted in his left eye being extremely impaired. “It’s like looking through a scratched-up camera lens,” said the doctor, and because of that he is legally blind in that eye. On Feb. 23, Luke received eye surgery to help strengthen that eye.