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Bridges of the Butte back to 24-hour event

Community members step up to make it work

by Mark Reaman

Thanks to a wave of support that came after changes were announced, and some community members pledging to step up and help out, the Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) has chosen to return the annual Bridges of the Butte Townie Tour to its original 24-hour status. The ASC had announced in March that because of some problems with the event, the tour was going to be reduced to 12 hours.

“We have a core group of enthusiastic and passionate participants in Bridges of the Butte, and a number of them, including Trevor Bona and Will Dujardin, spoke up and have offered to help,” said ASC executive director Chris Hensley. “Earlier this year, we decided to dial the event back to 12 hours because our staff was stretched thin and we had a hard time filling those overnight course marshal shifts, and people were complaining about unregistered riders and noise. We hope that this year is different.”

Dujardin is a Crested Butte town councilman and after the winter announcement, he and Non-Native Denim Disaster Team teammate Trevor Bona, jumped in to see if there was a way to return the event to 24 hours. He received a pledge from the Crested Butte Marshals Department that officers would pitch in and work overtime like they do for the Fourth of July holiday to help facilitate the event and keep it under control.

“I don’t expect the event to change in a general sense,” Dujardin said. “I hope that more of the local community puts their money where their mouth is and registers/volunteers for the event. Event poachers and disrespectful behavior really put the event in jeopardy for the future.

“When the initial press release came out about Adaptive shortening the ride to a 12-hour event, we approached Adaptive and the marshals with potential solutions to keep the event 24 hours,” Dujardin continued. “After a lot of good conversation between Adaptive, the marshals, and community members, we think we can keep BotB a successful fundraiser for Adaptive and a unique, 24-hour event in Crested Butte. We are going to continue to reach out to community members to ensure more late-night volunteering, respectful behavior, and less late-night party-poaching.”

The Bridges of the Butte Townie Tour fills up every year with about 300 registered riders. The ASC works to ensure riders follow rules, including riding with lights at night and being respectful of neighbors. But with recent events, the ASC had problems that included having difficulty finding volunteers to work the late-night course marshal shifts, excessive noise and dealing with disrespectful behavior from late night riders, and declining participation in the overnight hours by registered riders.

The structure of the tour will remain as it has in the past, starting at noon on Saturday, June 29 and going until noon on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, every year a few riders don’t follow the rules or ride without registering and neighbors have had some legitimate complaints about noise and other disrespectful behaviors,” Hensley says. “We hope that this year the community can take a more active role in helping us keep this event safe and respectful as a 24-hour ride.”

“We hope the community can get behind supporting the event in the right way through volunteering, registering, and a thoughtful late-night presence while remembering that Bridges is a fundraiser for Adaptive first and foremost,” said Dujardin.

ASC marketing manager Brian Barker said the ASC “needs a total of 15 course marshals and nine base camp volunteers during the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. overnight period, spread out between three different shifts. There won’t be changes from last year’s route and we’re working to encourage riders to register ahead of time. With the help of Will Dujardin and Trevor Bona, we hope we can reach many of those who’ve ridden without registering in the past.”

“We’re grateful for this renewed energy from our core base of passionate riders,” added Hensley. “We hope this year we can all work together to re-energize this event while being respectful of our community during the overnight hours. We truly care about the local community and this event and want to make sure it continues so we can keep raising money for the ASC’s scholarship program.”

Last year, the 300 registered riders rode nearly 6,000 miles around town and raised nearly $60,000 for the ASC’s scholarship program.

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