Steamboat Pentathlon, Town Challenge up for grabs | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Pentathlon, Town Challenge up for grabs

Racers compete in the Steamboat Pentathlon in March at Howelsen Hill.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the city of Steamboat Springs faces tough budget decisions in 2018, some leaders think the city needs to shed a couple of events that cost the city thousands of dollars.

During their budget retreat last week, city council members expressed a desire to find other groups to take over the Town Challenge mountain bike series as well as the city's very unique Steamboat Pentathlon.

"I'm not trying to sit up here and ruin a good thing and make this town look like less fun, but I do think sometimes you have to look at things when you're talking about other choices," Council President Walter Magill said.

Craig Robinson, the city's parks, open space and trails manager, said he would welcome any group that would like to come forward and take over the events.

Kim Weber, the city's finance director, said the Town Challenge currently has a net loss of nearly $30,000. The summer-long series brings in $19,300 in revenue, but the city has to pay its employees $36,800 worth of salary and seasonal workers cost another $5,000 to help man the event.

The race also has operating expenses of $12,500.

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Routt County Riders, the local cycling advocacy group, has expressed an interest in taking over the series.

Jack Trautman, the group's president, said the race series is a significant event.

"All ages, boys and girls," Trautman said. "It's a great community activity that's been going on for a long time."

Routt County Riders currently is not in the business of running races.

"I think the bottom line is we don't want to see it go away," Trautman said.

Trautman said the group likely is not interested in taking over the Steamboat Pentathlon, which has existed for 26 years.

The annual one-day event in March features individual and team events that involve running up Howelsen Hill and skiing down, a rigorous snowshoe run up the hill, cross-country skiing, mountain biking along River Road and then a run on the Yampa River Core Trail.

"I've been in it," Magill said. "It's a lot of fun."

It is also expensive for the city.

Weber said the net annual cost to the city is about $26,500. With about 250 participants each year, the event generates about $10,000 in revenue.

Cara Marrs, who helps run the Steamboat Springs Running Series, said her group was likely not interested in taking over the pentathlon.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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