John F. Russell: Chasing dreams isn’t always easy in Steamboat Springs |

John F. Russell: Chasing dreams isn’t always easy in Steamboat Springs

— Dreams are the things we hold onto, dreams are the things we chase and for the lucky few, reaching dreams can define their lives.

When kept in perspective, dreams can drive our day-to-day lives to a higher level. They act as the pot of gold we constantly are chasing and, even when we don't reach them, they can make us better.

Steamboat Springs resident Tanner Barr grew up skiing in the powder of Steamboat Ski Area, he played quarterback for Steamboat Springs High School and he knows the good and the not-so-good parts of this mountain town.

After his graduation from Steamboat Springs High School in 2002, Tanner was driven by a dream and his love of golf. He attended the Golf Academy of America in Florida, where he passed the playing ability test. He has worked at Catamount Ranch & Club and, more recently, Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club in Steamboat Springs.

But Tanner's dream is about more than working as an assistant, more than being a teaching pro and more than striving to be the head professional at his own course someday.

He wants to play.

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Tanner has played in the Colorado Open qualifier three times and the Rocky Mountain Open two times. He hasn't had the results he wanted, but he thinks he can break through with a little more tournament experience.

Tanner said he has what it takes to play and to win regional tournaments and, maybe someday, make a name on the PGA Tour.

Sure, he understands the odds are against him, but he isn't about to let that stop him from chasing his dream.

Tanner is the first to admit that the pursuit of his dream has strayed from time to time. He has enjoyed more than a few parties in Steamboat Springs and has waged his own battle against a lifestyle that included too much alcohol.

But now he wants to put those days behind him, he wants to follow a new path to his dreams and he knows the only way to get there is through sobriety. He has been sober for the past three months and said he has shifted to a lifestyle that includes staying in top shape and remaining focused on his goals. Who knows if Tanner will reach his goals — the point is that he is willing to chase them.

"The sky is the limit," the 29-year-old said. "I have no girl, I have no kids and I'm free to pursue my own dreams."

This month, he plans to leave for San Diego and begin his journey by playing in some minor league golf tours on the West Cost, including the Golden State Golf Tour. He plans to pick up a job working at local clubs and to hit the course with other aspiring pros to raise his level of play. For Tanner, the pursuit of his dreams means leaving his home.

"In order to get somewhere, you have to make choices. I'm going to have to sacrifice living in a great place like Steamboat Springs. I know it's not going to be easy, but I also know it's what I have to do."

Yes, it's true we all have dreams, but nobody ever said it's easy to chase them.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email