Community celebrates business leaders |

Community celebrates business leaders

Retired Mainstreet Steamboat Springs program manager Tracy Barnett enjoys a standing ovation after receiving the President's Award for Community Leadership on Friday at the Navigator Awards held at the Strings Music Pavilion.
Matt Stensland

— During an emotional night, Steamboat Springs business leaders honored two men and a group of restaurants, as well a downtown advocate for their contributions to the community.

“As soulful as business can be, this is extremely soulful,” outgoing Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association board president Randy Rudasics said. “There is a lot of heart in business, and this is a reflection of that heart.”

Rudasics presented the Steamboat Chamber’s President’s Award for Community Leadership to Tracy Barnett, who retired this year as the program manager for Mainstreet Steamboat Springs. She served in that role for a decade, and previously owned Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner.

In a video presentation, Barnett spoke about how the Mainstreet organization was formed at a time when downtown business owners felt they needed to do more to keep visitors coming downtown from the base area. During her tenure, Barnett expanded the Farmers Market and spearheaded a project to install new bus shelters that were recognized as Downtown Colorado Inc.’s Best Public Space Project in 2012.

Barnett was speechless when she accepted the award but spoke after with her family at her side.

“It’s really nice to be honored for something I would have done anyway,” Barnett said. “I love this place. We all love this place.”

Barnett and her husband, Cooper, love Steamboat, but Saturday they left in their RV to spend the winter at an RV park in Tucson, Arizona.

“It’s our 40-year dream to do this,” Barnett said.

Also honored was Business Leader of the Year Bob Dapper, Business of the Year Rex’s Family of Restaurants and Young Professional of the Year Glen Traylor.

Barnett and Dapper both teared up when they took the stage. Dapper, the director of mountain operations for Christy Sports, said he was blessed to have found Steamboat.

“I don’t even cry at funerals,” he said.

Rex Brice and his wife, Bettina Neset, who own Rex’s Family of Restaurants, took the stage with a group of their employees, whom they credit for the success of the business.

Traylor, who moved to Steamboat from Park City, Utah, to open a Ski Butlers franchise, said Steamboat stands out because of its sense of community.

“It’s up to all of us to continue this culture of Steamboat,” Traylor said.

Barnett said it was nice to be able to turn the community over to the next generation.

“Steamboat is in good hands,” she said.

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

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