Gatorade co-creator gifts his remaining land in Steamboat to local nonprofits |

Gatorade co-creator gifts his remaining land in Steamboat to local nonprofits

Gatorade co-creator and Steamboat Springs second-home owner Dana Shires has donated the proceeds from the sale of a property he owns in Sidney Peak Ranch to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. When the sale closes this March, the money will be gifted to Steamboat Digs Dogs and the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association. (Kathy Connell/courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local Realtor Kathy Connell likes to refer to Gatorade co-creator Dana Shires as an unsung hero for the contributions he has made to the mountain community where he owned a second home.

“Maybe not unsung, but he was an unlikely hero for our community and for Steamboat,” Connell said. “He is a second-home owner, who lived here passively, and fell in love with our community. … Look at what he’s given to the world, and aren’t we lucky that he gave so much to us here? It’s just serendipitous how it all came together.”

Shires was a nephrologist, a doctor that specializes in diseases and conditions that affect the kidney. In 1965, Dr. James Cade and a team of researchers, which included Drs. James Free, Alex de Quesada and Shires, researched dehydration and its effects on athletes at the University of Florida. The team’s efforts led to the creation of Gatorade and sparked the multibillion-dollar sports drink industry.

He would visit his home in Steamboat Springs on a regular basis until just a few years ago when his health no longer allowed it. The 88-year-old Florida resident can no longer make the lengthy trip to Colorado.

Shires’ 10,000-square-foot Steamboat home sat on 50 acres in the Sidney Peak Ranch. He also owned the two 40-acre lots on either side of the home. He would use the estate for family getaways and meetings for his nonprofit, the LifeLink Foundation.

LifeLink, which was founded in partnership with a fellow Gatorade co-creator, helps to facilitate the recovery of organs for transplantation within all hospitals in its donation service area. It also provides public education about the facts of donation and how individuals can save lives by joining the organ, tissue and eye donor registries.

Shires sold his Steamboat home and one of the lots in 2017. The new owners, however, had no interest in the furniture, so Shires held an estate sale that raised $60,000. A dog lover, Shires donated half the money from that sale to the local nonprofit Steamboat Digs Dogs and half to the Yampa Valley Botanic Park, where he enjoyed taking his guests.

The remaining lot stayed on the market until 2019 when Shires and his family decided to gift the land to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. Shires made the stipulation that the property’s listing agents, Connell of MR Realty and Cam Boyd of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty, choose two organizations as beneficiaries of the proceeds.

The land is currently under contract with an expected closing in March.

While a sale price was not disclosed, the two organizations chosen — Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association and Steamboat Digs Dogs — are expected to receive in excess of $200,000 from the sale, according to the listing agents.

“(Shires) could have put all his money towards his loves, his family and kids, but he chose to give back to the community,” Connell said. “I think more and more of our second-home owners, and maybe some of our locals, can become heroes in gifting this type of thing.”

Boyd chose the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association because he said it impacts so many young people in Steamboat.

“When I got here, the hockey rink was just a little outdoor place with a semi trailer that we used to change your clothes in and stuff,” Boyd said. “It’s totally evolved, and when you think about what the kids in this town used to do? It was skiing, wrestling, basketball, and now, probably one the biggest things is hockey.”

Kerry Shea, president of the Youth Hockey Association, is excited about the closing and the potential to build on his organization’s ability to serve local youth through the donation.

“The fact that we’re even being contemplated as a beneficiary of this is amazing,” Shea said. “We have been made aware of this potential, and we are just hugely grateful that we are even being considered for it. It will go a long way in our drive to continue on our mission at the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association to continue to have a positive impact on the youth in our community.”

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