Tourney is Moose's chance to give back

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Former Steamboat Springs Olympian Jim "Moose" Barrows has never forgotten growing up on the slopes of Howelsen Hill.

It was a time when most of the children in Steamboat spent their winter afternoons skiing, even children such as Barrows, who came from a family with only modest means.

"My family didn't have a lot of extra money," Barrows said. "We had to kick and scratch for everything."

In those years, coach Gordy Wren and the other leaders of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club always found a way for children such as Barrows to train, compete and ski.

"The guys running the show just did it," Barrows said. "They made sure that everybody who wanted to ski got to ski."

Barrows understands things have changed.

Skiing is big business, and the days when coaches and administrators at the Winter Sports Club could let a few children slide are gone.

These days, the Winter Sports Club constantly faces the challenge of trying to balance the rising cost of skiing with the idea that every child in Steamboat should get the opportunity to learn to ski.

Barrows, always mindful of his childhood experience, is driven to take care of the children who might need a little extra help paying for the expenses that accompany skiing.

In the 1970s, Barrows started a scholarship fund that was supported by LTV Golf Classic and a grass-roots scholarship day.

LTV Recreation Development Inc. was a subsidiary of a Dallas-based aerospace company that ran Steamboat Ski Area and owned and operated the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club.

When LTV sold its holdings in Steamboat, the golf tournament turned into the Moose is Loose golf tournament, which has been held annually since 1984.

Each year, the event generates between $10,000 and $12,000 for the Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund, Barrows said.

This year, the tournament will take place Sept. 21, with a 12:15 p.m. shotgun start.

The cost is $100 a person and includes 18 holes of golf, golf carts and the awards presentation at The Tugboat Grill & Pub, which also has supported the tournament for many years. Teams of five golfers (one must be a woman) will compete in a scramble tournament with all proceeds benefiting the Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund.

"This is a unique experience," Barrows said. "It's a chance for golfers in Steamboat to socialize with golfers they wouldn't normally play with. People come back and play in this tournament year after year."

Barrows said many of the players in the Moose is Loose tournament are his friends from Denver, and many of them have no real ties to the Winter Sports Club other than supporting the event and its scholarship fund.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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