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‘Happy to still have a season’: MCSD coaches thankful to have a season to prepare for, but challenges lie ahead

Coaches, athletes and parents were left anxiously awaiting throughout the summer the Colorado High School Activities Association’s decision regarding fall sports in Colorado.

On Tuesday, the governing body for Colorado prep sports made its decision, and quite frankly, threw quite a bit into disarray when it comes to high school sports. While there were no right answers to the issues CHSAA faced with making sure high school sports happened this year, the decision to split the year up into four seasons – all while moving sports out of their traditional seasons and into new ones – has coaches, players, and parents scrambling.

Northwest Colorado – and the Western Slope as a whole – has a number of challenges ahead when it comes to sports. Fall sports such as boys golf and cross country will be held this fall for Moffat County, but traditional fall staples in football, girls’ volleyball, and boys’ soccer have all been moved to…March.

While volleyball shouldn’t have many issues playing games indoors in March, picture football and boys soccer happening in Moffat County…in March.

Aside from weather issues that the two outdoor sports will undoubtedly face in Moffat County, all three teams could face travel issues due to the weather, while all three teams will have to adjust to new schedules and wait to play meaningful games next year after working hard all summer long.

FOOTBALL…IN MARCH…IN COLORADO??

The most puzzling decision from CHSAA was the one to move football to March. High school football will start practice on February 22 and will play its first game on March 4. The season will be seven weeks long, and just eight teams in each classification will make the state playoffs.

“I’m happy we’re going to have a season, that’s for sure,” said Bulldogs head football coach Lance Scranton. “But I just feel bad for the kids, honestly. They shouldn’t have been put in this situation.”

With a shortened season and a smaller playoff window, it will be paramount for the Bulldogs – who had playoff aspirations heading into the fall in the first year under Scranton – to get off to a fast start. With snow likely on the ground still (and most definitely still falling) the Bulldogs will have to adjust not only practice schedules, but travel schedules, and maybe even the style of play.

“I think because we want to play football, we’re going to make it work,” Scranton said. “I just have a feeling it’s going to be pretty dicey as far as the weather goes. That means that we’re probably going to have to do some things we’ve never worried about before, liking clearing off the field just to play a game.

“I don’t know that we’re going to be able to play home games at all, depending on how the weather goes,” Scranton added. “It could just be early in the season, but we only have seven weeks…it’s just a tough situation all around.”

Another thing that could ultimately affect the Bulldogs’ preparation is waiting for athletes in other sports to finish up their seasons before joining the football team. Wrestling and boys’ basketball will hold their seasons in January, and should the basketball team or individual wrestlers make it to the state tournament, the football team will have to wait for a full roster.

Scranton says the Bulldogs will wait and cross that bridge once they come to it. For now, the football team will continue working throughout the summer leading up to the first day of school. The team will also still hold its annual football fundraiser of Bulldog cards. Aside from that, everything is still up in the air for Scranton.

“We’re going to have to get together and regroup and figure out what we’re going to be able to do in the fall,” Scranton said. “We’re going to have lots of kids with a lot of time on their hands, so we have to make sure we keep them focused in school and make sure they’re staying busy.”

VOLLEYBALL FACES GYM-TIME CHALLENGE

While volleyball won’t see games delayed – or even possibly canceled – due to too much snow on the playing surface, the Moffat County girls will have to fight for gym time in a condensed season, head coach Jessica Profumo said.

“It will be difficult once basketball and wrestling starts up with it all swapped now,” Profumo said. “With girls’ and boys’ basketball, it’ll be really hard to get any gym time; that will be our biggest challenge. That February time frame will be the biggest challenge because of gym time and trying to get girls back up to speed with volleyball after basketball.”

Challenges aside, Profumo said the girls are simply happy to have a season at all this year.

“We had to break the news to them the last time we were in the gym, so we discussed it as a team, and they were pleased and they were still positive,” Profumo said. “They’re happy to have a season and want to stay in the gym.”

Profumo said the team will drop down to two days a week of workouts – down from three – until school starts. All workouts are voluntary.

SOCCER MOVES TO MARCH WITH NEW COACH

Diego Quezada is just excited to have a head coaching job. As far as how he’ll handle the switch for boys’ soccer from fall to early March? Well, that’s to be determined.

Quezada takes over the varsity program after coaching the freshman last season. It’s a tough role to not only step into for the first time, but also have your usual season moved due to a global pandemic.

He’s taking it in stride though and will adjust on the fly.

As far as how he’ll conduct summer workouts? Well, he needs to get to know the entire team first before deciding how to proceed forward.

“I need to get to know all of the boys first, but so far this summer we’ve only been allowed to basically do conditioning,” Quezada said. “We can’t use the balls in our workout due to restrictions, so it’s just been a lot of conditioning. We’ll probably continue doing that until school starts.”

While some coaches are concerned about the season moving, Quezada views it as a blessing in disguise, considering he’s so new to the position and still needs to try and understand his team’s makeup.

“It really helps me, honestly,” Quezada said. “It gives me a chance to catch my breath and really understand what’s ahead. Without these changes we’d be starting next week, which would be really tough for us.”

All programs across the state of Colorado will undoubtedly face new challenges while trying to conduct sporting events throughout the school year, but it’s hard to not factor in the weather and the smaller number of athletes available in Moffat County and not think the Bulldogs were dealt a tough hand all around.

CHSAA announces 2020-21 calendar, creating four separate sports seasons

The Colorado High School Activities Association has announced its 2020-2021 interscholastic athletics and activities calendar, following months of collaboration with Gov. Jared Polis, the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the state’s COVID-19 Response team, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the CHSAA Board of Directors and administrative staff.

The 2020-21 season will be played with a modified sport schedule due to the on-going global pandemic, creating four separate sports seasons during the school year, according to a press release from CHSAA.

The modified calendar splits sports into four seasons, concluding in late June: A, B, C and D

Dates and plans for non-athletic activities continue to be formulated.

Each season is approximately seven weeks from start to finish, according to CHSAA. Sports will have their regular season competition limits reduced. The postseason for each sport will also be shortened, including the number of state qualifiers.

The following 2020 fall sports will begin as originally scheduled: boys golf began practice on Aug. 3, softball and boys tennis is set to begin on Aug. 10, and cross country on Aug. 12. According to the modified calendar, this is Season A.

The remaining traditional fall sports are unable to be played under current state health guidelines. These sports are field hockey, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, competitive spirit, unified bowling and girls volleyball.

The sports played this fall will all be concluded by October 17.

Courtesy Photo / CHSAA

“The health and safety of our student participants, coaches, officials and essential personnel, including volunteers is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. “We are very grateful for the state, health and educational leaders for their shared commitment of a return to these highly beneficial education programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities.”

The resumption of all activities and athletics are subject to change based upon any changes to national, state or local guidelines.

Following a phone call with Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday, Blanford-Green and CHSAA received a final response on the plan it submitted to the state’s COVID response team. This includes the clearance for cross country to begin this fall. Previously, boys’ golf, boys’ tennis and softball had been given permission to start.

Due to the restrictive nature of the current state guidelines, and the ability to follow Colorado Department of Education requirements, all contact sports have been moved to a season which will commence later in the calendar, and allow for playoffs and culminating events without creating new conflicts, according to CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann.

“We would like to thank our member schools and our school communities for their patience as we worked through the many challenges to get to where we are today,” Blanford-Green said.

Getting student-athletes ready for sports

The past few months have been trying times for athletes across the country, from Little League players to elite professional athletes. COVID-19 put a hold on competitive sports, leaving many athletes with one of two choices: to take a break, or to use their newfound personal time to get in some extra training.

With the promise of a start to the local youth sports season, it’s important for student-athletes of all ages and abilities to prevent injury, whether they’re ramping up their physical activity again or want to safely continue training without worry of overuse-related injuries. Nothing ruins a season more than an unexpected injury, so it’s important to teach kids how much to test their limits before they get hurt.

It’s also important for athletes to comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines, including social distancing and wearing a mask when required, to mitigate risk of spreading the virus and to prevent another round of sports season cancellations.

In the case that a student-athlete does get injured, Memorial Regional Health provides top-notch orthopaedic care, with help from the Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute (SOSI). Orthopaedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists work to get the region’s young athletes back to enjoying their sports and activities of choice after injuries occur.

Common injuries

Children and teens are often playing their sport while their bodies are still physically developing. The most common injuries seen in local student-athletes are from overuse, according to Dr. Alex Meininger, an MRH visiting orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist from SOSI. An overuse injury gradually occurs over time and affects muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and growth plates, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

These days, young athletes are often committed to only one sport, and they play that sport year-round. Elite student-athletes especially push their bodies to the fullest extent with travel leagues, sports camps, national competitions and more.

“The youth skeleton wasn’t built for that level of strain,” Dr. Meininger said. “We’re seeing more new injuries related to overuse; for example, in football and baseball, many arm or elbow injuries are due to excessive overhead or repetitive throwing.”

Acute injuries, which are caused by sudden trauma like a collision, are also common in young athletes. 

Prevention

Pre-participation sports physicals for young athletes are a very important part of injury prevention. During these physicals, providers can recognize any sports injury tendencies or weaknesses that children or teens may have.

Student-athletes should also have a comprehensive training approach. Dr. Meininger recommends their training schedules include aerobic conditioning, strength training, and most importantly, rest.

“Forced rest is one of the hardest things for some athletes to do,” Dr. Meininger said. “The point is to not contribute to an overuse injury or something that will set the athlete back in terms of their fitness. The body needs time to recover, rest and rebuild, whether they’re a recreational athlete or at the professional level.”

If a student-athlete is starting to feel pain from overuse, it’s important to work with a professional sports medicine specialist or physical therapist to avoid pain. This is usually accomplished through activity modification and appropriate cross training.

“Kids are in sports for the fun, the comradery and the chance to prove and test themselves to their highest ability,” Dr. Meininger said. “From a leadership perspective — the medicine team staff, coaches, parents — the goal should be to always keep it fun. If it becomes too regimented, formal or exhausting, we’re doing a disservice to the kids.”

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What will high school sports look like if and when they return?

Professional sports are making a return this month under some incredibly strict protocols; however, it’s still unclear in most states what high school sports will look like if they return this fall.

The Colorado High School Activities Association came out with a statement on July 16, which indicated the organization is waiting on the state’s decision and guidance regarding sports and will follow whatever that entails.

“Our office supports and respects the time taken at the state level to evaluate our proposed options for resuming athletics and activities for the 2020-2021 school year,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green in the announcement. “Their timeline is our timeline, and we will be ready to play, with planned modifications, once approved.”

On Monday, the Colorado Department of Education released guidance on returning to school, and the Steamboat Springs School District announced its tentative back-to-school plan earlier this month, but there has been no decisions made about sports.

In June, CHSAA put together a Resocialization Task Force comprised of pediatricians, sports medicine doctors, school administrators, coaches and CHSAA staff. The group started by ranking all 29 high school sports into three categories: lower risk, moderate risk and higher risk.

Lower risk sports can be done while social distancing and not sharing equipment. Moderate risk involves sports that have close, sustained contact with protective equipment, rare close contact or that use equipment that can’t be cleaned between participants. Higher risk involves close, sustained contact with little protective equipment, increasing the probability that respiratory particles would spread between participants.

California, a state that has the second most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. with more than 400,000, announced that fall sports will be pushed into January. The warmer weather in California allows for that shift, but in Colorado, that probably isn’t a viable option.

In Texas, another COVID-19 hot zone, high school football start dates will be delayed for the largest schools in the state.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a state experiencing a massive surge in cases, the Florida High School Athletic Association voted to keep fall sports on schedule.

What about college?

Many major college leagues, including the PAC-12, have announced the decision to play conference-only games, which will diminish travel. The PAC-12, which includes the University of Colorado, is also delaying the start of mandatory athletic activities.

Colorado State University, which plays in the Mountain West Conference, lost two games in September to PAC-12 teams, Colorado and Oregon State. The Rams are still scheduled to play the rest of the season on time and even bring in a limited number of fans.

The return of professional sports

By March 13, all major professional sports had been canceled or postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three and a half months later, some sports are starting to return but with no spectators.

The Major League Baseball season is back this week, with the Colorado Rockies taking on the Texas Rangers in the delayed season opener on Friday, July 24.

The Denver Nuggets, who are third in the Western Conference, are down in Florida in what has become known as the NBA bubble. Players and team staff are confined to a small corner of Walt Disney World, isolated from the rest of the world. The Nuggets will return to play with a game against the Miami Heat on Aug. 1.

Up in Edmonton, Alberta, the hub city for the NHL’s Western Conference, the Avalanche will start their playoff run against the St. Louis Blues on Aug. 2.

Eric Hamilton returns to MCHS sidelines as girls head basketball coach

After a year watching from the stands, Eric Hamilton will return to the sidelines at Moffat County High School. Hamilton was hired as the head girls basketball coach last week. The hiring was a year removed after Hamilton had coached the boys program for eight years.

“I feel really grateful for the unbelievable opportunity to coach the girls,” he said. “I’m very excited and we are already getting workouts going on an individual basis.”

This will be Hamilton’s third stint as a head basketball coach in the Yampa Valley. He first coached the varsity girls in Hayden from 2008-11. He was then hired as the boys coach at MCHS and served in that position from 2012-19. During that stint his teams won multiple league and district titles as well made a trip to the Great Eight in 2014, finishing sixth, which was deeper in the state tournament than any boys team had been in 25 years.

“One of the greatest joys in my life was getting to coach my son (Matt) for four years,” he said. “A significant motivation to coach the girls was to get to coach my daughter, Halle, for her final two seasons.”

Another motivator for Hamilton to apply for the position was the amount of talent currently on the roster and coming up for MCHS.

“I’ve been able to take a year and watch Halle and her teammates play, which I couldn’t always do when I was coaching boys,” he said. “I also helped with middle school age AAU and I know quite a few of the girls coming up. There is a lot of ability now and in the future.”

Hamilton will take the reigns of a team that returns its top three scorers in Cayden King (11.3 ppg), Halle (10.3) and Emaleigh Papierski (8.4) along with the core of all but two seniors who played significant minutes in 2019-20.

“The potential for success is there,” Hamilton said. “I’m fortunate to come into the situation with how it’s set up.”

Hamilton steps into a program that has traditionally been one of the most successful at MCHS despite recent turnover at the head coaching position. He is the fifth head coach since Craig Mortensen held the position for 28 years until 2009.

“I had a strong interest in being on the girls side of things,” he said. “Looking back at my time in Hayden I really enjoyed coaching the girls there and I’m excited to coach Halle and her teammates.”

Not to be deflated: High School sports teams adjust to limitations, unknown ‘normal’ for fall

Ryan Peck never thought he would miss the added pressure of having a coach watch over his shoulder as he threw a pass or read the defense. The incoming junior quarterback for Moffat County High School has had a change of heart.

“I miss having a coach point out what throw I could have made or what I missed,” he said. “There were definitely a lot of normal things that we took for granted that we don’t have now.”

At the beginning of June the Colorado High School Activities Association released its regulations for summer sports practices amid the safety concerns of COVID-19. Those rules were passed on to MCHS coaches at a meeting from Principal Sarah Hepworth. One of the most notable regulations was that teams would not be allowed to share equipment, which for the ball sports, was a significant change.

“I left that meeting scratching my head at how we were going to get anything done,” said head boys basketball coach Steve Maneotis. “I was pretty downhearted.”

Sports without a ball

That brings us back to Peck’s desire to have a coach watch his throws. “Sharing equipment” meant that the football team could not transfer a football from one player to another.

“Practice looks completely different,” Peck said. “I wonder if this has changed how we play sports for the next decade?”

Another “ball sport” that has had to significantly adapt is volleyball. Instead of heading to camps or working out in the same space, MCHS Head Coach Jessica Profumo turned her June focus to encouraging her athletes from a distance.

“As a coach I want their focus to be on what they are still in control of; their attitude, their effort, and their health,” she said. “So our focus has been on independent strength, conditioning and mindset.”

When July began the volleyball team started to meet in person and Profumo had worked through what that would look like.

“We still have a lot to do even if we can’t share volleyballs yet,” she said as she planned for returning to the court with her athletes.

One significant adaptation for all sports that traditionally practice in the summer is the loss of team camps.

This week the football team was scheduled to head to a camp in Wyoming. Instead, they are working out this week in small groups in the weight room and on the field. Tuesday morning, several coaches were running their athletes through formations on the field while also reminding them to stay at a distance and all-the-while working without a ball and pads.

“I know the coaches had stuff they wanted to put in this summer that we haven’t been able to,” said Peck. “They encouraged us to find ways to work on routes and skill development on our own, separate from what we’re doing here.”

Lance Scranton picked a heck of a year to start his head coaching debut.

“We haven’t been able to run any offense, defense or special teams,” he said. “So that leaves a lot still to be figure out once that happens.”

Scranton said he is working with Hepworth and Superintendent Scott Pankow on a plan to be able to at least run some drills where a ball is sanitized between each play and is alternated often, but it is an ongoing conversation.

After a month of small group workouts but no scrimmages, Maneotis said he and his coaching staff were actually relatively pleased with what they accomplished.

“We were just reflecting the other day and we think the individual-focused practices were very beneficial to our program,” he said.

The coaches offered three different sessions each day of practice with point guards, shooting guards and post players each having a time. Each player brought their own ball for the sessions. Maneotis said it felt a little like a “back-to-the-basics” effort with the hoopsters.

“It sounds cliche, but I feel like we took lemons and made lemonade,” he said. “Just to name a couple of things, kids developed their individual skills and without the camps, they and their families were able to save some money.”

Looking ahead

After a June announcement that basically stated most fall sports were in jeopardy of not happening, CHSAA redacted the prediction and said it would wait until closer to August to make any decisions. Until then, coaches are doing the best that they can with their allowed time with student-athletes, giving them direction for what they do outside of official practices.

Around Craig in the evening one can see basketball pick-up games, football route-running and soccer scrimmages happening amongst teenagers.

Coaches are also asking their peers around the state for best-practices in the new normal.

“It has been great to share information and get some ideas,” Scranton said. “It will hopefully ease restrictions as we scrimmage against Meeker on August 22 and open the season in Denver versus Northfield on the 29th of August.”

All of the coaches mentioned the value of keeping perspective for both their staff as well as the athletes.

Profumo summed it up: “Physically, we have lost team camps, skills camps and fundraisers but it really comes down to losing the ability to do something, in this case play volleyball, that brings you joy. As a coach, I truly believe the value of sport is so much deeper than wins and losses. But it is the losses that teach us the most. In this case, these losses have reminded me that to be successful you must adapt and find new strengths.”

Moffat County High School hires Jeremy Cheuvront as new Athletic Director

A desire to officially settle down and raise a family in Moffat County spurred former Wheat Ridge High School Athletic Director Jeremy Cheuvront to pursue the open Moffat County High School Athletic Director’s position a few months ago.

Following a lengthy – and sometimes challenging – interview process, Cheuvront got what he wanted…a job offer to become the next Bulldogs’ AD.

“I’m hoping this is it,” Cheuvront told the Craig Press in late June. “I hope that I’m a good fit here ultimately and that I’m able to have some success and stay awhile and raise my family here.”

Born and raised in Denver, Cheuvront has moved around the state over the last 13 years, holding down a trio of athletic director jobs over the years, highlighted by the Wheat Ridge job he leaves. His first job though came at Lake County High School in Leadville, which caused he and his wife to fall in love with the mountain-town life, drawing him to Moffat County.

“My wife and I really liked working and living in the mountains,” Cheuvront said. “When I saw the Moffat job open up, I knew I was going to chase it because we desperately wanted to get back into the mountains and away from Denver; we’ve just grown tired of the city life and want to slow down.”

For now, Cheuvront will get a chance to do just that in his personal life in Moffat County, but after accepting the job with the Bulldogs, Cheuvront had a lot to work through quickly, in terms of hiring new coaches and taking over for outgoing AD Bobby Howard.

Cheuvront had to hire a new football coach, a new girls basketball coach, and a new boys and girls soccer coach. So far, Cheuvront has checked off two of the four boxes while working remotely as he and his wife look for a home in Moffat County.

“The principal [Sarah Hepworth] has really helped me out a lot so far,” Cheuvront said. “She’s lined up the interviews and they’ve been conducted online, so it hasn’t been super challenging, but I’ve learned I miss the interpersonal interactions with folks. The hiring overall isn’t too challenging; there’s just a different way of doing it.”

Based on the reaction from the community following the hiring of Lance Scranton as the new football coach, Cheuvront is off to a good start with the beloved Bulldogs.

“I really like Lance; he was a great interview,” Cheuvront said. “In fact, he interviewed me for the AD’s position. He’s really invested in the community, has kids at the school, and he’s a teacher there. He’s already entrenched in the community and entrenched at the school, so it was a good fit. I always like to have my coaches working in the building in some capacity.”

With a couple of key hires down, Cheuvront now has to prepare for a fall sports season that could be much different from what he’s used to, based on school district funding and public health rules as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues.

The challenges that lie ahead won’t dampen his mood about landing the Moffat County job though.

“I’m really excited to be part of this program and hope to have a lot of success here,” Cheuvront said. “The community is passionate about their high school sports here, so I can’t wait to experience that in person and become part of the community.”

Siblings shoot their way to awards at state competition

Ty and Abbie Blackwell may have needed to add more air to their tires just to make sure they could make it back with their new hardware on the way home from the Amateur Trap Association (ATA) Colorado State Championship Shoot and Academics, Integrity, Marksmanship (AIM) Championship Shoot in Colorado Springs, June 19-21.

The teens were the only locals that competed among nearly 300 shooters during the event. Like many sports and summer activities there have been trap shoots canceled or rescheduled and many have changed requirements to utilize masks, but the Pike’s Peak Gun Club was able to host the tournament.

Abbie was the High SubJr. Lady Singles AIM Champion with personal-best scores in singles and handicap. The 13-year-old made the top six in an 18-and-under Annie Oakley competition.

Ty was the ATA Colorado Junior Doubles Champion, AIM Junior Doubles Champion, ATA Colorado Junior Handicap Champion, AIM Junior Handicap Champion, AIM Junior Singles 3rd Place and ATA Junior High All Around Champion.

Courtesy Photo

“I have won some champion awards in the past, but I never expect to win,” Ty said, “The scores I posted…added to my overall average,” he said, with hopes to move on to larger-scale competitions throughout the summer.

The next level of competitions for the ATA are zone shoots, which bring together shooters from multiple states to compete for a spot at the national competition in August.

Ty said the siblings are out practicing every week and typically competing somewhere most weekends.

“I’m always working toward a high score and specific goals,” he said. “It pushes me toward the next shoot to continue to do better.”

Triple Crown strikes out in efforts to return this summer to Steamboat

For the first time in almost four decades, the Triple Crown series of youth baseball and softball tournaments will not be held in Steamboat Springs.

In a unanimous 7-0 vote during a regular meeting Tuesday, members of the Steamboat Springs City Council decided not to endorse a variance that would have asked the state health department to allow Triple Crown’s tournaments to move forward this July and August in Steamboat.

While Gov. Jared Polis is expected to amend the state’s guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 later this week, council noted the existing public health order on behalf of the state limits gatherings to 10 people unless otherwise allowed by health officials.

Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports, had submitted a variance request asking the Routt County Board of Health for the ability to host the tournaments in July and August, according to Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter. The county requested input from City Council before making a decision on whether to forward the variance request to the state.

“If the community says it’s not the right time, we’ll walk away from 2020,” King said. “In the event that the variance doesn’t pass, then Triple Crown will be forced to relocate the events to where they can be played.”

Triple Crown wanted the variance to be approved by Friday to allow participants adequate time to plan for the tournaments.

“Given the short turnaround time, it is highly unlikely the state will have a ruling by June 19,” Suiter said.

Suiter gave council three options for considering the variance request: support the variance and ask the county board of health and state health department to expedite a decision allowing baseball tournaments to occur this summer, take no position on the variance request or inform the county the city does not support the variance request.

City staff recommended council not support the variance.

City Council members ultimately decided to follow the staff’s recommendation and refocus efforts to hold Triple Crown in 2021.

Hosting Triple Crown would have cost the city about $65,000, which had already been built into the current city budget. The city’s ballfields are available to be used by the public by way of reservations, but they are only receiving baseline maintenance, according to Suiter.

Discussion regarding hosting Triple Crown this year was mixed, as council members and members of the public considered the impacts from both a public health and fiscal standpoint.

Council member Michael Buccino had indicated there was “a groundswell of opposition” toward Triple Crown voiced by many community members. 

“This goes deeper than the public health order,” Buccino said.

He added that Triple Crown has a “tarnished reputation” but not due to the Steamboat community. He noted the poor attitudes of many of the participants toward locals.

“We’ve already lost all the things the community actually likes, why would we go out of our way for something that Steamboat Springs people dread every year?” said Steamboat resident Sam Ogden.

Others worried about the potential economic impacts of not holding the event, which contributes to city sales tax and lodging.

“The loss of Triple Crown is not sustainable for Steamboat,” said Barbara Robinson, Steamboat resident and general manager of Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs. “They are a partner we’re not willing to lose.”

According to a study completed by Yampa Valley Data Partners in 2015, the city could lose up to $340,000 in additional sales tax revenue without Triple Crown. Citing third-party research, King said not having Triple Crown this year would also result in a loss of 68 jobs in Steamboat.

Council member Heather Sloop told King the city would likely come with a larger ask when it renegotiates its contract.

After deciding to forgo a 2020 season for Triple Crown, Buccino suggested the funds previously budgeted for the tournaments be used to support local summer youth camps. That measure was also unanimously approved by council.

Photos: A night at the gymkhana in Maybell

Following the renovation and rejuvenation of the outdoor rodeo arena in Maybell thanks to a grant from the Women of Moffat County, the Maybell Rodeo Club worked hard to host a full season of Gymkhanas for all ages this summer.

While COVID-19 pushed the start date back for Gymkhana in Maybell, the Maybell Rodeo Club kicked things off on June 10 with roughly 30 kids.

The Craig Press was there Wednesday, June 17 to shoot photos of the kids competing on the second night of the summer-long series.

The gymkhana includes barrels, poles, flags and keyhole runs. The cost to compete is $5 per event. There are five age divisions for including a 19-and-older group. There are seven more Wednesday-night events planned for the summer. Entries open at 5:30 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 6:30. Updates and more information can be found on the Maybell Rodeo Club’s Facebook page.