Volunteers are worth their weight in gold, if not more. They willingly donate their time and talents without compensation. We believe it is right and necessary to acknowledge their contributions and let them know just how much they are valued. We know that our words will never truly encompass the depth of our gratitude, and we invite you to show your appreciation too. When you see any of these fine folks around town, be sure to thank them for everything they have contributed toward the success of the Ute Theater and Events Center.

Helen Rogers, President

The New Ute Event Center project was created in 2009 when a group of dedicated community volunteers decided to form a non-profit corporation in support of the restoration and renovation of the 1948 Ute Theater.

Over the past several years, it has been a pleasure to work with dedicated volunteers who have been as passionate as I have been to see the Ute Events Center come together. Without the drive and compassion of volunteers to see a facility such as this come alive, it would not have happened.

As the Interior Designer, I was asked to participate in the project early on with historic research and selection of exterior finishes. During the interior renovations, after speaking with people who either worked there in its early days or participated in events, I learned it was a huge part of Rifle’s Community, bringing families and friends together. I was honored to be able to collaborate with other professionals to bring the UTE back to life.

I came to Rifle for the first time in 1984, raising two boys, working and volunteering in various ways. I moved away from Rifle and lived on the Front Range for ten years, and then returned to Rifle in 2004. I could see the potential for several improvements in the downtown.

The need for a state of the art community events center and performing arts center was foremost on the minds of many, spending countless hours in strategic planning sessions and city council meetings to garner support and funding.

The New Ute Events Center is located in downtown Rifle. That opportunity brings economic and social diversity as well as vitality to the downtown. I believe the UTE will enhance not only Rifle, but Western Colorado.

Kelly Thompson, Vice President

Mr. Thompson is currently the Lead Systems Administrator for the City of Rifle and has over five years of experience in local government having previously worked for Garfield County as an IT Specialist. Prior to that he owned his own IT company in Rifle for 12 years serving home users and small to midsize businesses in the area. He was a music teacher and band director for the Garfield Re-2 School District for 8 years, also teaching some technology courses and assisting with the IT infrastructure as needed.

Kelly received his B.A. in Music Education and Performance from Colorado State University. He is still very active with the performing arts as the Music Director and Conductor for Symphony in the Valley in Glenwood Springs and is the vice president of the board for the New Ute Theater Society in Rifle.

Wayne Pleasants, Theater Director

As Ute Theater Manager, Wayne takes care of the day to operations of the Ute. His duties include maintaining the facility, staffing needs, and guest relations. Wayne and his team strive to ensure a pleasant and satisfying experience is had by both the audience and the performers. Coming from a background in theater management, Wayne ensures a high standard is held at the events center.

Shelley Aibner, Marketing

When I walked into the gutted Ute Theater for the first lighting of the Marquee at one of the first Members meetings in 2010, it was like a lightning bolt of possibilities went off in my head. I felt like I was on the inside of Noah’s arc and an amazing feeling came over me…. I call it the Ute Fever! I grew up with parents who were both artists and all my life encouraged us to see live performances of theater, music, dance, art exhibits and poetry. Knowing that diverse cultural experiences in the Arts leads to a person having more depth of the psyche, enriches a person’s life on insurmountable levels, brings a Community together, enhances one’s sense of self and therefore positively affects all those around them, connecting each of us through the celebration of performance. This is why I am a Board Member for The New Ute Theatre Society.

My passion has led me to concentrate my efforts in marketing and events coordinating for membership drives and fundraising, but I also take out the trash, move chairs and tables, mop floors and occasionally sell popcorn. Oh, and I went to a ton of City Council meetings! I really look forward to the success of the Ute and it being an added venue which attracts people and enhances the vitality of the Downtown businesses of Rifle. I LOVE the New Ute and I am honored to have the opportunity to work closely with so many dynamic, positive, fun, intelligent, charismatic people.

Tanya Giard, Treasurer

If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that. That is how I feel about my work with The New Ute Theater Society; it makes me happy seeing smiles on others. My name is Tanya Giard and I joined N.U.T.S. in 2011 when my husband became the General Contractor for the remodel work on the façade of the exterior of the Theater. During each meeting I learned a bit more history of The Ute and it became an inspiring project. To watch a building physically come back to life was truly astonishing. I am currently the Treasurer for The New Ute Theater Society, I am a bookkeeper by day for our family owned and operated Construction Company. I enjoy donating my time and efforts to this remarkable Community Events Center that the City of Rifle has developed.

Gary Miller

When I found out that the City of Rifle had bought the old Rifle Creek Theater, I was thrilled. So, I got on the board of directors to start the planning for a multi event, performing arts, and concert theater.

After the facade was restored to the near original 1947 design, I resigned to focus on other personal projects. I kept involved and expressed my opinion about the interior set up.

I am back on the board and I volunteer at most events. My favorite partner is the mop….WE take care of most spills and other assorted jobs. I also help keep the bar stocked and usher guests to their seats. I love it.

Please come to our events, but hold on to your drink. Otherwise, my partner and I will be at your feet.

Elissa Nye

I grew up in Carbondale, CO. My husband and I have lived in Rifle for 14 years. We have two boys Beau and Wiley who love coming to The Ute. We love Rifle and the small town atmosphere.
I have been in the catering and event planning business for over 10 years and I am passionate about volunteering in my community. I LOVE being a NUT! Walking into the Ute makes me so happy and so proud to be a citizen in Rifle. I also proudly serve on the Rifle Farmers Market Board and I am part of the PTA at Highland Elementary. I have enjoyed seeing Rifle grow and get better every year.

Anna Kaiser

I joined the NUTS board in 2015 when the theater had just re-opened. I am so excited by the amount of talent that have already been through the doors since then!