A group of riders heads up Colorado Highway 131 just outside Steamboat Springs during the 2014 Tour de Steamboat. The event raised a record $72,000 for local causes, but organizers hope to surpass that mark during the 2015 charity ride.

Ben Ingersoll/file

A group of riders heads up Colorado Highway 131 just outside Steamboat Springs during the 2014 Tour de Steamboat. The event raised a record $72,000 for local causes, but organizers hope to surpass that mark during the 2015 charity ride.

Tour de Steamboat continues to grow, support local causes

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— The Tour de Steamboat raised $72,000 last summer, but with the ride still more than eight months away, organizer Katie Lindquist-Eriksen already is focused on reaching new goals in 2015.

“Last year, the riders came from all over,” Lindquist-Eriksen said. “There were 26 states and three countries represented in the ride. There are a lot of people who like to come to Steamboat Springs and want to be a part of a fun event.”

The 2014 ride, which took place July 18, drew 725 riders and more than 35 sponsors who donated everything from food for the barbecue to gas for the support vehicles. Many of Steamboat’s biggest businesses and a ton of individuals also came to the table with in-kind and cash donations to support the ride and the organizations that benefited from the event.

The event collected $72,000, which was an all-time high. In 2013, the ride brought in $50,000, and in 2012, when the proceeds were donated to the Sunshine Kids, the event raised between $40,000 and $50,000.

The local organizations that benefited from the ride all expressed gratitude to the Tour de Steamboat.

“Routt County Riders is very grateful to work closely with the Tour de Steamboat volunteers and beneficiaries helping it to grow,” Routt County Riders Vice President Eric Meyer said. “We are already planning for next year’s event, and sponsors are a big part of what allows this event to contribute so much to this community.”

Lindquist-Eriksen said an all-volunteer board runs the event, and while some of the money raised is spent to promote the event and cover costs, the majority goes to local organizations. The money raised in 2014 was split evenly among Routt County Riders, Partners in Routt County, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide.

“It means a lot to us,” Partners in Routt County Executive Director Michelle Petix said. “It’s a significant donation, and it’s also great to be a part of that type of event.”

Petix said the money donated to Partners by the Tour de Steamboat helps leverage other grants and was a tremendous help to the organization that matches adults with youths who are in need of mentors in Routt County. She said the money is used to help cover screening, orientation and youth services and also helps with staff training and the organization's school outreach program.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Petix said. “We were honored to be a part of the story.”

Petix said the ride also has been a good way for those involved with Partners in Routt County to help promote, support and be part of the tour. She said that kind of involvement has been great for the youth members of the program who may not have been exposed to something like this ride.

In July 2015, Lindquist-Eriksen said, she would like to see the number of riders, the number of sponsors and the amount of money raised continue to grow. She said the ride is capped at 1,000 riders — a mark that has not been reached in the past 11 years. This year, Lindquist-Eriksen thinks that cap might be a possibility. She said an additional 300 riders would bring the event's fundraising total to more than $100,000.

Entry for this year’s Tour de Steamboat will open in early January. This year’s ride will take place July 18 and will include a 110-mile route with climbs over Rabbit Ears and Gore passes. There also will be 40-mile and 25-mile rides.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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