A night to remember, honor

Future, past wrapped up in Winter Sports Club's awards night

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— It's the one night of the year the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club sets aside to remember the people who have left a lasting impression on the club, and to honor those who might.

"This is always a great way to finalize the year," said Rick DeVos, the Winter Sports Club's executive director. "It's a chance to honor athletes and coaches for the season's accomplishments, but it's also a chance to feel the connection this club has to this town, and this town's skiing heritage."

On Tuesday night, the club handed out 24 awards at the 2006-07 Awards Night, which was held in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill.

"Every year, I hear from people who walk away from these awards saying they had no idea about our club's heritage, or the level of commitment those athletes and the athletes in our club have put forth," DeVos said.

The athletes who won awards serve as examples - on and off the snow - for other Winter Sports Club athletes.

The awards include the Kirby, Hall, Barrett Burch, Hobart, Grant, Ritter, Stahly, Madsen, Buddy Werner, Abernathy, Magill, Skeeter, Gooding and Stamp awards - named for athletes in the Steamboat community who have set the bar high.

Although the awards often recognize athletes for athletic and academic commitments during the past year, DeVos said many of the awards go beyond basic results and account for the athlete's commitment, dedication and work ethic.

Some awards date back to 1973, when Lonnie Vanatta and Mike Gleason became the first to win the Ned Grant Memorial. Grant's widow, Mary Belle Grant, established the award in that year. Ned Grant skied in Steamboat Springs and purchased a working ranch on River Road shortly before his death in 1968. More recent additions include the Ashley Stamp and Tyler Gooding memorial awards.

Some awards, however, recognize people who support the club either through donations or hard work.

This year's John Fetcher Honorary Sustaining Member award went to John and Tammy Adams for their support of the club.

The awards ceremony also gave DeVos a chance to announce that the United States Ski and Snowboard Association recently named the club, the ski jumping and Nordic combined and snowboarding programs the club and programs of the year.

"This was a very big year for our club," DeVos said. "We grew by 10 percent, and hosted more than 100 events - more than ever before. I credit our staff from the leadership down to every single coach, the volunteers and the parents for our success this season. We couldn't do it without the support of the city of Steamboat Springs, the Steamboat Ski Resort and all the businesses and volunteers in Steamboat that support our club every year."

Three Steamboat coaches also were honored by the USSA for their hard work this season.

First-year coach Martin Bayer was named domestic ski jumping and Nordic combined coach of the year, and Spencer Tamblyn was named domestic snowboarding coach of the year. Veteran program director Todd Wilson was honored with the Al Merrill Memorial Award for going above and beyond the call of duty.

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