Want to...
Do Something Big for Your Community?

Local Hero ...

Chuck Kaparich

Missoula, Mont. Four-year veteran

Motto: If we can build a carousel, we can build anything.

Start with a block of wood, an empty garage and a herd of willing

Chuck Kaparich wasn't above a little horse trading. His deal? He promised
the town a hand-carved carousel in exchange for a place to put it. The final
tally? One million pennies from schoolchildren, 15,000 hours of
carving,sanding and painting, 64 pairs of willing hands and 38 "adoptive"
families, groups and businesses. It all added up to one wonderful carousel.

"A gift," says Kaparich, "that the city gave to itself." Bring a little horse
sense to your community. Who knows how far you can ride!

Contact ...

A Carousel for Missoula
P.O. Box 3345
Missoula, MT 59806

Tune In ...

A community comes out of the woodwork

In 1991, Chuck Kaparich started on his impossible dream -- hand carving
his own carousel. He carved the first four horses himself, a job requiring
about 1,600 hours of work. Then he shared his dream and found hundreds
of Missoulans who were eager to make the dream come true.

Crowds of volunteers -- young and old, public and private, individual and
group -- came out of the woodwork (and into Kaparich's garage).
Businesses underwrote the costs and the city donated the land.
Schoolchildren adopted four carousel horses themselves by pitching in
$10,000 in pennies. Many carvers spent nights turning wood into horses,
each requiring as many as 400 hours to carve and paint. And in May 1995,
the carousel finally opened in Missoula's Caras Park to big crowds.

The volunteers were building a lot more than just an amusement for the
city. They were building a closer-knit community. "You could go into a
community 40 miles downstream and they might think a carousel was the
dumbest thing for a community to be involved in," Kaparich says. "But for
Missoula, it makes the people in the community say, 'Hell, if we could
build a carousel and no one else can, think of all the other wonderful things
that can happen.'"

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