Steamboat Pilot & Today sports reporter and photographer Joel Reichenberger can be reached at 871-4253 or jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Joel here.
Steamboat Springs This weekend likely signals the pinnacle of the summer sports season in Steamboat Springs, and those of us charged with documenting it have struggled a little just making sure we include a bit of everything.
Consider: Saturday and Sunday each included or will include two major sports events in Steamboat. On Saturday, it was the Tour de Steamboat and the Spring Creek Memorial run, and Sunday is the Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon in North Routt and the Big Mountain Enduro on Buffalo Pass and at Steamboat Ski Area.
Sure, events stack up here, but two usually might make for a busy weekend. Tack on two rodeo performances, a Triple Crown tournament and a rugby match and, well, wow.
I’m not complaining, and I doubt many in town are, either.
In fact, weekends like this are what it’s all about. From the city’s standpoint and from a reporter’s, it’s actually awesome.
Each of the four largest events are filled with locals. The Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon, introduced last summer, is a great option for those turned off by next month’s longer, more difficult Steamboat Triathlon. The Steamboat Springs Running Series always is a bastion for locals, and on Saturday, five of the top six finishers at Spring Creek were Routt County runners. The compartmentalization of amazing athletes in Steamboat never ceases to amaze, and that’s proven yet again by the fact that a mostly different crowd will hit the trails for the Enduro. The Tour, meanwhile, has such a wide variety of rides that it draws from a wide audience of locals.
All four events, meanwhile, are just as stacked with visitors — a sweet, sweet deal for the town.
Sure, there are some downsides. Although the Tour expected record numbers, the Spring Creek race was down a tad, likely because of competition among the events. Surely, there’d be a little overlap in competitors in Sunday’s events, too, were they aligned differently.
The whole arrangement probably isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s powerful nonetheless. Hotels and restaurants were brimming with customers this weekend. Locals were busy, racing across the county to compete or volunteer. And this great weekend was brought to you entirely by sports in Steamboat Springs.
As a sports reporter in the town, that’s awesome to see, even if it makes for a few long days.
Not all of the events are likely to survive in the long term. The Spring Creek run — a comparatively low-to-the-ground event — has been around more than two decades. The Tour de Steamboat, meanwhile, has persisted even longer in various forms. Its current one continues to grow.
The fates of the Enduro and the Steamboat Lake tri remain to be seen, but there’s little doubt both are popular and will be in demand this time next year.
And if it all crowds up on the same weekend again, that won’t be a bad thing. This busy weekend in Steamboat was brought to you by sports, and that’s great.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com