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!