With rising student tuition making a college education more difficult to obtain, hundreds of local runners and walkers will gather at UCSB on Saturday, April 27 to raise critical funds for student scholarships.

The sixth annual Gaucho Gallop, presented by GEICO, will take place as part of UC Santa Barbara’s All Gaucho Reunion weekend. Options include the Santa Barbara Running Company 10K Race, the Elite Rehab 5K Run/Walk, the Dioji Dog Dash, a free Kids Mile and the Gaucho Challenge presented by Santa Barbara Airbus.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three in each 10K division and the winning Gaucho Challenge team. Winners of the Dog Dash will receive a three-month supply of dog food. All proceeds from the event will benefit the UCSB Alumni Scholarship Fund, providing financial support to current and future Gauchos.

With tuition skyrocketing in recent years, the overwhelming majority of UCSB students now qualify for but receive less than needed financial aid packages. In fact, 74 percent of UCSB students receive some form of financial aid through the university. With fees and expenses at $32,343 for in-state undergraduate students, it’s clear why more support is needed.

It was because of this growing problem that the UCSB Alumni Association launched the Alumni Scholarship Fund in 2008. Since then, 59 students have received scholarship support. These students must qualify for financial aid and demonstrate high academic merit.

The Gaucho Gallop Finish Line Festival celebration will be held inside Harder Stadium, where participants and friends can have fun and relax with free breakfast burritos, fruit and coffee, provided by Country Catering. Live music will be playing throughout the morning by Brengrass, the official band of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

“I’m most excited for the Gaucho Challenge,” said David Monico, chair of the Gaucho Gallop Committee. “It’s a way to raise money for a great cause, and to have a fantastic time while doing so. This ‘Amazing Race’-style event is made up of the most enthusiastic teams I’ve ever seen.”

Monico, who had a decorated running career at UCSB that included all-conference honors for the Big West, graduated in 2004.

Gaucho Gallop Schedule of Events

» 7:30 a.m. — Day of event registration opens
» 8:15 a.m. — Start of the Dog Dash
» 9 a.m. — Start of the 10K Race & 5K Run/Walk
» 9:30 a.m. — Start of the Gaucho Challenge
» 10 a.m. — Free Kids Mile

Rates Until April 24

» UCSB students — $20
» UCSB alumni — $20
» UCSB faculty and staff — $20
» General public — $25
» Gaucho Challenge Team — $40
*Additional $5 charge per person for day-of-event registration

Click here for more information or to register. Click here for more information about the All Gaucho Reunion.

— Daniella Lavi is a senior at UCSB and student supervisor for the All Gaucho Reunion.