The Easter Bunny almost hopped on by the University of Montana this year, but thanks to local business owner Michael Burks, western Montana children will once again have the chance to scoop up thousands of colorful eggs and candy during the annual Easter Eggstravagaza on Saturday, April 4, on UM’s Oval.

Burks, owner of the Missoula Maulers Hockey Club and the Garden of Readn' Christian Bookstore, said the University reached out to him last week for help.

"They remembered that we did the Phoenix Easter Egg Hunt a couple of years ago and had some good success with that," Burks said. "They wanted someone who had been there before and knew how to put together a good show, and luckily for us, our name came up and we jumped at the chance to help out."

Burks said the preparations are already underway.

"We've already ordered over 20,000 stuffed Easter eggs and we'll age-sort those out so they are appropriate for all age groups," he said. "We're going all over town asking for businesses to donate prizes, such as gift certificates we're putting out Maulers tickets and whatever we can to fill up thos Easter baskets."

Burks also said he has sent out a call for all mascots in the area to attend.

"We've put out the call on Facebook for any mascot in the city that wants to be involved," he said. "We'll be looking for Slash, Ollie, Monte, any of the high school mascots, Carpet garage, Red Robin, in fact, we'd like to see 20 mascots out there playing with the kids."

Anyone who wishes to donate prizes or to assist with the event is asked to call 728-3032.

The event will be held on the UM Oval on Saturday, April 4 at 1 p.m.