Thank you for the supplement in Friday’s paper celebrating athletics in the Yampa Valley. It’s great to recognize their achievements and impart the tenants of hard work, commitment and determination to many of our younger, up-and-coming student athletes.
This community is rife with businesses and individuals who recognize and support our athletes from the T-ball teams on a Tuesday afternoon to our varsity squads playing under the lights on a Friday. One of the biggest testaments to this support was evident last Tuesday night. About 300 people packed the Steamboat Springs High School commons area for the second annual Sailor Luau. The luau is a cornerstone fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Booster Club, and this event is tantamount to supplying the funds for the Pio Utu/Booster Club Scholarship. With the help of Freshies, Steamboat Smokehouse and Rick Spencer, the attendees enjoyed a fabulous meal while members of various athletic teams ensured that everyone had everything they needed. A live auction, door prizes and a raffle drawing supplied the guests with some great prizes from companies like Ski Haus, B&K Distributing, Excel Gymnastics, Terry Sports and many other private donors. This led to the grand finale of the evening when student athletes from Steamboat performed a Samoan dance routine under the tutelage of Pio himself. It was indeed a wonderful event, and I am especially proud of the alumni who had returned to attend the event.
We were fortunate to have Stan Whittemore in attendance to accept his Fan of the Year award. And we were pleased to announce girl’s lacrosse coach Betsy Frick as Coach of the Year. Many volunteers were needed to pull off an event of this magnitude, and I am especially thankful for the work of Bette VanDahl, who was responsible for overseeing this event. She had some wonderful help in Karen DeLine, Mary Melius, Linda Stark, Mary Jo Weidel and Sandi Crouch. And we certainly would be remiss in not acknowledging Guerin Lewis and his talents in entertaining us during dinner.
We are all mostly aware of the funding challenge that has reared its head recently. The support shown on nights like this make me feel that, while we still have work to do, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As I sat back at the end of Tuesday night and reflected on the evening, I was a bit surprised at the emotion that ran over me as I saw how truly blessed our children are to have the support that they do. This support comes not only from their family and coaches but also from the community as a whole. This event was another in a long line of events that has shown just how important our students are and how important Sailors athletics are to the student athletes and the community.
This is an annual event every spring, and even putting aside the fundraising aspect of it, it is a great way for the community to come together for an evening to enjoy one another’s company and celebrate our student athletes who make us all so proud.
Steamboat Springs Booster Club president
2013 Yampa Valley Athlete of the Year