Steamboat Springs Tim and Scott Borden just keep coming up with ways to improve the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
Nevermind that the Bordens already contribute priceless expertise and equipment to the extravaganza that lights up the slopes of Howelsen Hill and much of the surrounding valley each summer.
And nevermind that the Bordens, through their membership and licensure with the American Pyrotechnics Association, purchase world-class commercial fireworks at wholesale prices for the city, thereby saving tens of thousands of dollars a year on a fireworks festival increasingly known for being the best on the Western Slope, if not in all of Colorado.
This year, they came up with yet another way to make Steamboat’s July 4 show better than ever. Tim Borden received an e-mail from some of his pyrotechnic friends that highlighted a Liberty Mutual Bring Back the 4th contest for communities across the country. He passed it along to Winnie DelliQuadri at City Hall, and a few group e-mails later, it went viral.
The contest called on residents of any city or town in America to take a short “Responsible Moments in U.S. History” online quiz. Regardless of whether respondents answered the questions correctly, a point was credited to their home city. When the contest ended Tuesday, Steamboat was one of the top four point-getters in the “small cities/towns” category. The result: A $10,000 grant to help fund the city’s July 4 festivities.
Other winners in the small cities/towns category were Springfield, Ga.; Belmond, Iowa; and Winslow, Maine.
City Manager Jon Roberts and Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the money will be used to add a fifth fireworks launch site on Howelsen Hill for the July 4 extravaganza. Grant proceeds also could pay for increased site security and marketing efforts.
The grant will not take the place of the $12,000 in city general funds allocated to the July 4 fireworks show. The show also is funded with another $12,000 from six corporate sponsors — Native Excavating, Ace at the Curve, Steamboat Resorts, My Wireless, TIC and Yampa Valley Bank.
That $24,000, combined with the support of the Bordens, means Steamboat plays audience to a July 4 fireworks show valued in the six-figure range, DuBord said.
“It’s all because we have the Bordens, who love doing this, and our corporate sponsors, who basically match the city’s cash,” she said.
Tim Borden said Thursday that he’s already ordered more fireworks and plans to pick them up next week.
“I was just ecstatic that we won,” he said. “We’re really happy about this deal. Our show is going to be every bit as big as it’s always been, and probably even bigger now.”
Adding to the spectacle is the unique topography and location of Howelsen Hill.
“We were just blessed with this great mountain where the town is like this amphitheater around Howelsen Hill,” Borden said. “It’s just such a perfect venue.”
City officials already are working closely with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and others to prepare for the busy holiday weekend and its trademark fireworks show.
“The Fourth of July weekend is a big event in Steamboat Springs, and the fireworks display is, we hope, the crowning jewel of the weekend,” DuBord said.