Bob Dowling: Kudos, Steamboat


My wife’s brother Peter Kenney finally coaxed us out to the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival. I blogged to friends that it was probably unique in America to find an all-volunteer event of that level of athleticism, pageantry and pyrotechnic sophistication.

On Tuesday as I was struggling with skate skiing on the baseball field at Howelsen Hill, a tall guy was wrestling with large rolls of blue safety netting and poles.

“Setting up or taking down?” I asked.

“Oh, we’ll be finding this stuff from the carnival for a month or more. We get such help from volunteers, it’s unfair to ask them to do all the cleanup,” he replied.

I told him how impressed we were to know that the Winter Carnival, from the munchkins with candles in flawless descent to the Lighted Man, was all volunteer. Where I come from in the East, they’d likely raise $150,000 or more, sell sponsorships and hire professionals to do that show. Steamboat really has a soul, I went on.

He smiled. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Bob Dowling,” I said.

“Rick DeVos,” he replied.

“Rick Devos. You’re the big cheese and you’re the cleanup? That’s like the hotel president taking out the trash.”

“Everybody volunteers,” he said.

As I skied back several hours later, he was loading evergreens into a line of carts.

“Wow, still working?” I asked.

“You did three hours on the hill. We admire that,” DeVos said.

Thanks, Steamboat. You’re the real deal!

Bob Dowling

Rowayton, Ct.


Julia Ford 4 years, 2 months ago

Kudos to Steamboat - the ski town with Soul! And kudos to Rick DeVos, who gives his heart and soul to the SSWSC and for inspiring all of the young (and old) skiers to be as good as they can be! Rick DeVos is the real deal.


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