August 1982, at the ripe old of age of 26, was the first day I walked into Steamboat Springs to host a sports event with Steamboat Parks and Recreation. And from that day forward, a bond was formed with a group of people and a way of thinking.
The hospitality that the department provided us and the partnership feel we got made this long-term relationship possible. The department itself has been funded at a level that did not befit its impact on the community. It generates sports tourism daily.
When mountain towns look for identity, they often bypass those things that others so love. The Eastern Slope, Denver Metro, California, the Greater West, Texas, Chicago Land, Florida, the Missouri/Kansas area and many other areas have grown to cherish sports events in Steamboat and the trips back to ski or vacation. Why did they come and why did they return? Many times because of the treatment they received at the events and parks of Steamboat.
I approached this topic many times with the city and council, that TLC was the main financial item that the Steamboat Parks and Recreation had to use to create Triple Crown’s $10 million to $15 million of annual economic impact to the Steamboat area. The total impact of the 30 years of Triple Crown events is near $300 million. Capital budgets and maintenance budgets always were tight. Staffing budgets always were expected to deliver the whole package when finances were cut. Steamboat sports facilities always were limited and under the needed event specifications most every year we have been in Steamboat. But that never daunted the staff one bit. They always tried to make it work. Many times we reluctantly moved events and divisions that would not fit Steamboat’s facilities, but it always was with a sense of loss.
My respect and my staff’s respect of the employees of the city of Steamboat that represent these parks truly is one of a kind. They are dedicated, resourceful, loyal and supportive. And they need thanks from us, Triple Crown. They have done on a shoestring budget what no other city partner of ours ever has endeavored. They successfully have hosted one of the top sports tourism events in the nation for 30 years. Park City, Reno/Tahoe, Las Vegas, St. Augustine, Myrtle Beach, Omaha, Scottsdale, San Diego, Ft. Lauderdale and New York City are some of our other key city partners.
We want to give the Parks and Recreation staff an overdue thank you for making us feel welcome, for being our friends and partners, for making money work that never should have. I believe that one of the top sport tourism assets in Steamboat is the Parks and Recreation crew. I ask the city fathers, council members, city manager and political forces in the community to embrace the success that this department has meant to us and others and recognize them in your future planning.
President, Triple Crown Sports