The idea was born 28 years ago in an effort by former Olympic skier Jim "Moose" Barrows to make sure that every child in Steamboat Springs had a chance to be a part of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
"We want to make sure that nobody is denied the opportunity to ski in Steamboat just because they don't have the money," Barrows said. "That's why we have held this event for the last 27 years."
Barrows hopes the community of Steamboat Springs will take part in the long-running tradition known as the Moose is Loose Golf Tournament, scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club.
The money raised from the tournament will go to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Scholarship Fund, which hands out between 30 and 50 scholarships each winter to athletes across Yampa Valley.
The golf tournament, which put about $8,000 into the scholarship fund last year, and the annual Scholarship Day at the Steamboat Ski Area are two events that raise money for the club's scholarship fund.
The tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club.
Katy Tirone, the club's director of special events, said lots of other events in Steamboat support the club, but the money from this tournament goes directly to the skiers.
"We are hoping to get between 32 and 34 teams for the event," Tirone said. "We encourage everyone to come out for this one -- it's just a lot of fun."
Barrows said the golfers in the first Moose is Loose in 1975 had to play in rain and cool fall temperatures. But while the players got wet, the idea of a golf tournament that supports skiers took root.
Last year's event was greeted by clear blue mountain sky, warm temperatures and a touch of rich fall color, Tirone said.
Organizers are hoping for a repeat performance in 2003.
The tournament's entry fee is $100 per person. Players will compete on five- or four-person teams (five-person teams must have at least one female player) in a scramble format.
The entry fee covers green fees, two carts per team and the after-event awards party at the Tugboat.
"It's a fact that when I was growing up, my parents didn't have a lot of money for coaching fees and the other expenses of skiing," Barrows said. "I got help from other places and a lot of people stepped up to the table to help me out. This is our chance to step to the table for some of the young skiers out there now that need our help."
Barrows said the tournament has helped fund all sorts of skiers over the past 25 years -- and, yes, a few of them went on to national teams and international competition.
"It's definitely a worthy event for us," said Rick DeVos, Winter Sports Club executive director.
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