Steamboat Springs Once again, the Over the Hill Gang has made the holiday season a little brighter for some of Steamboat Springs' most promising athletes.
The local organization recently doled out more than $9,700 to 13 local athletes to help offset expenses associated with training in their disciplines.
"We had some really strong applicants this year," said Kay Burch, co-chairwoman of the Over the Hill Gang's financial assistance program selection committee. "This is our chance to contribute to Steamboat's long tradition of producing top winter athletes."
Burch said most of the selections this season were skiers or snowboarders, but any winter athletes are eligible for the financial assistance program if they show potential and need.
The only non-skier or boarder selected for a scholarship this year was 17-year-old figure skater Jenny Spencer. Burch said most of the Over the Hill Gang's applicants each season are members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, but she also pointed out that the organization is not affiliated with the club, and she encourages members of the figure skating club and youth hockey association to apply for financial assistance in the future.
This year's selections also included Alpine and freestyle skiers, snowboarders and Nordic competitors.
Freestyle skiers Kylie Douglas and Caterina Mader earned awards, as did Alpine ski racer Robyn Dye.
Snowboarders earning a check included Sean Busby, Paul Innes, Cody Kurowski and David Manthei. Nordic skiers making the cut included Sarah MacCarthy, Marty Smith, Kyle Steitz, Davis Miller and Sam Chovan,
Several of the winning athletes earned financial assistance from the Over the Hill Gang in past years. They are Dye, Innes, MacCarthy, Mader, Manthei, Steitz and Spencer.
The dues from the Gang's membership, which is nearing 400 skiers, generate the money for the financial awards. Burch said some members also made private donations to the Gang's financial awards fund, which allowed the club to continue to offer awards at a high level.
This year, the Over the Hill Gang awarded $750 to each of the 13 athletes. This is the 10th consecutive year the Over the Hill Gang has offered money to help offset the expenses that accompany competition. Burch hopes the athletes will use the gift for equipment, coaching and entry fees.
The selections were based on potential, financial need and academic effort displayed by the candidates. There were 24 applicants.