Bob Dowling: Kudos, Steamboat |

Bob Dowling: Kudos, Steamboat

Bob Dowling

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.

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"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.

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