Hayden Not since 1983 has a Hayden basketball team made it to the state tournament, but for the past 20 years the high school has been represented at the tournament.
Robert Preator, the school's athletics director has headed to Denver each February since the early 1980s to help run the playoff games.
For the last 10 years, Preator has been in charge of the floor activities of the boys 4A and 5A games.
"I work in a little basketball town, but once a year I get to be the athletic director on the biggest floor in the state of Colorado for a week," Preator said.
It has been Preator's responsibility to make sure all 16 4A and 5A schools eight in each classification have everything they need.
"I run the floor," he said. "I have to organize locker room assignments, get in the bands and cheerleaders and assign the student section in the arena. I make sure everyone gets what they need."
During the course of the three-day state tournament this year, Preator, 53, had to shuffle in teams, bands, students and cheerleaders for 14 games.
Preator also makes sure that the referees for each game are taken care of, the basketball floor conforms to prep rules and he even finds the basketballs.
"It is a lot of trivial stuff," Preator said. "The list is endless. I basically do what athletic directors do in their home gymnasium but this is on a bigger scale."
But it's enough trivial stuff that Preator rarely has time to see the action.
"I'm working so much I don't get to see the games," he said.
However, during the 2001 tournament, which ended on Saturday, Preator did make it a point to watch the Steamboat Springs High School boys in a quarterfinals game last Thursday. The Sailors ended up losing to Lewis Palmer.
"The games were all close," he said. "The fans were good, and the kids were good. We had a real good tournament."
Preator is just one of many volunteers who help out at the state tournament.
"People don't realize the state tournament is run by volunteers," he said. "About 80 percent of the workers are volunteers. They rely on people like us to run these things."
Preator has been involved in the state tournament for more than 30 years, either as a player, a coach, a spectator or a volunteer.
"I haven't missed a state tournament since 1970," he said.
Preator played in the state tournament while he attended Pueblo East High School. He then went on to play basketball at Western State College.
After graduating, Preator took a teaching position at Peetz High School.
He spent six years there before coming to Hayden in 1976. Preator coached the boys basketball team for four years.
In 1980, the Tigers finished second in the state.
In 1982, Preator became the school's athletics director and became actively involved in the Colorado High School Athletic Association, which governs prep athletics in the state.
During one trip to the state basketball tournament, Preator told CHSAA officials that if they ever needed help with the tournament to give him a call.
"I told them I would be in Denver for the tournament anyway," he said. "Sure enough, my phone rang."
This year, he arranged for the tournament to be held at Steamboat Springs High School.
Preator, who plans on retiring after the 2002 school year, plans on staying involved in prep athletics and especially the state