Aiming to raise $95,000 for operations and programs
By Katherine Nettles
It’s time for a signature event in the Gunnison Valley this weekend, Adaptive Sports Center’s Bridges of the Butte Townie Tour. And this year the event has had a lead up period over the past two weeks filled with playful challenges (on and off the bike) for participants, various prizes, a film screening and group rides.
The main event will take place on Sunday, September 10, from noon to 4 p.m. starting at Third Street and Elk Avenue. The after party will go from 4 to 6 p.m. at Third and Elk and there will be vendor booths, food, drinks and of course, costumery.
“We’re closing Elk from Third to Fifth Street from 3–5 p.m., so that’s a big basecamp area. And this year we’ve invited all our vendors to set up a booth. Then 5B’s BBQ and Irwin Brewing will be there and we’ll have some giveaway drawings starting at 4 p.m.,” says Adaptive marketing manager Jessica Taylor.
Although the event draws a big crowd, there have been several other events leading up to the big day. “Every two days we post on Instagram and Facebook a mini challenge for riders to take part in,” explains Taylor. Challenges include things like participants sharing the Adaptive fundraiser webpage on social media, gaining one new donor or sponsor for the event, and posting a photo of a bridge. Those who participate in each challenge are entered in a giveaway drawing, and winners receive gift cards.
The challenges kicked off on Sunday, August 24, followed by a movie night the next day at the Majestic Theatre, screening the inspirational documentary Go On, Be Brave about Andrea Lytle Peet. Peet is the first person with ALS to complete a marathon in all 50 states, and she took part in a discussion alongside the film screening.
Then last Thursday was a CB South bike ride and bib pick up, which included a bike decorating station provided by the Trailhead Children’s Museum and drink specials at the Wooden Spoon.
Now participants are preparing for the final event on Sunday, with 79 riders registered as of Tuesday, and some usual contenders raising big money ($61,351 so far) and even bigger support for the organization’s mission.
Long-time Bridges participants like Michael Blunck, the Hoyt family (Matthew, Aimee and their son Flint) and Garrett Dimon and his family will be there, and some other creative participants, whether individuals or groups, are sure to give a good show with heavily decorated or transformed bikes. As always, there is a balance between functionality and decoration, so participants are advised to plan carefully for some of the narrow bridges and tight crowds along the course around town.
Forthose considering last-minute participation, Taylor says it is easy to sign up online and get started. Awards will be given for the High Roller who raises the most funds, for the Mighty Grom who collects the most pledges, and many other efforts such as highest stoke, best team theme and pedaling the most.
“Another thing we are letting everyone know about is that we have an anonymous donor, ‘Friend of the ASC,’ who will be matching up to $5,000 between now and the Bridges event, which we are really excited about,” says Taylor.
Adaptive raised around $80,000 last year, and while participation has been down a bit so far this year, Taylor expects plenty of last-minute joiners and this year the goal is to raise $95,000.
This money goes to Adaptive’s operational costs, as well as scholarships and programming.
“This helps with our general operating budget for the whole year. Specifically, it helps us lower our lesson rates. Those are $95 per lesson which is almost unheard of. It costs us close $900 to run a daily lesson,” says Taylor of the subsidy Adaptive can provide.
Adaptive also offers scholarships for participants in an “Access for All” mission. “Most other adaptive sports organizations charge $250 per lesson, and organizations similar to us with our level of accreditation and professionally trained instructors charge $500+” says Taylor.
Bridges and Adaptive’s other major fundraiser, the Crested Butte Open golf tournament held August 6 and 7, help make these lower rates possible. Taylor reported that last month’s tournament was “a phenomenal event” and raised more than the goal and covered half of Adaptive’s operating budget for this year.
Taylor says with Bridges of the Butte, they are ready for another great event, however the numbers shake out. “This support from the community and beyond shows how much our donors care about us,” she says.
More information and a link to registration can be found at www.adaptivesports.org/events/bridges-butte-townie-tour-2023