Partners in Routt County hosts fourth annual Steamboat Amazing Race
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to the correct spelling of Beck Slamal’s name.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There might be some interesting characters running around Steamboat Springs on Saturday morning.
Teams of two dressed in costume will be biking, rollerskating, skateboarding or running around town to different iconic stops in the 2019 Steamboat Amazing Race.
The Steamboat Amazing Race enters its fourth year as the primary fundraiser for Partners in Routt County, an organization that provides a variety of youth mentorship programs across the county.
“There’s a widely recognized mentoring gap across the country,” Partners communications and operations manager Maura Walsh said. “Our national umbrella, The Mentoring Center, put out a study last year saying that 1 in 3 youth is lacking that mentor adult figure in their life. And we see here in Routt County as well, we have consistently more youth on our waitlist than we can actively pair up.”
The race, which invites kids ages 9 and older to pair with adults and 14-year-olds to pair with anyone, not only raises money for the organization but embodies its mission to build resilient youth in Routt County by creating and supporting meaningful mentoring relationships.
At 9 a.m., all teams will participate in a group challenge at Slopeside Grill, then they’ll receive their maps of challenge locations and scatter across town. If participating in the “In it to win it” category, teams will strategize their fastest route through town to be the first to complete 17 challenges.
The “here for fun” teams will compete in their own category, where teams still have to complete the challenges, but judges won’t be too picky about how. This system differs from previous years.
“We noticed some participants want to compete for prizes but are really more there to just have fun,” Walsh said. “The ‘In it to win it’ category is more about doing the challenge correctly and having more they have to do.”
What: Steamboat Amazing Race
When: 9 a.m., Saturday, June 22
Where: Slopeside Grill, 1855 Ski Time Square
Registration: Open until Thursday, June 20, online at http://partnersrouttcounty.org/steamboat-amazing-race/
Cost: $150 per team
The 17 different challenge sites have a unique Steamboat twist to them and competitors won’t know what they entail until they arrive on site. Challenges can be mental, physical or skill-based.
While the Steamboat Amazing Race is meant to raise money, it’s also meant to garner interest of potential mentors.
“It’s one other way we can get out the word of needing more volunteers,” Walsh said. “It might intrigue people who participate to become mentors.”
Michelle Petix, executive director of Partners, said the idea for the race came after years of doing a fundraiser called Java and Jazz, which was a gala and auction with live music and coffee.
“Eventually, those sort of get old, and they didn’t align with what we did.” Petix said.
She credits Beck Slamal, Partners’ former communications outreach coordinator, who found that big city mentorship organizations did scavenger hunts. She created the race as something similar but thought it would be fun to make it more engaging with challenges like the television show “The Amazing Race”.
Petix said the goal each year is to raise $20,000, and last year’s fundraiser raised $18,500 with a record-setting 54 teams participating. The event has grown each year since its inception in 2016, which hosted 34 teams.
The money helps fund part time mentors in schools throughout Routt County that fill in the social and emotional support gaps where counselors may need help. The program mainly focuses on providing one-on-one mentorships with youth or even peer mentoring programs within the schools. Mentors are also put through a mandatory orientation and training before being paired with a child.
On occasion, the money helps fund group activities for youth and mentors in the program to go snowmobiling, take cooking classes, go rock climbing or paint at the botanic gardens. Some of these activities incorporate life skills, like painting birdhouses and fostering discussions on building a better home.
If people still want to donate but cannot make it to the event, they can buy $25 tickets to the drawing for prizes, which include vacation lodging packages or outdoor gear. The drawings are capped at 300 tickets, so there’s a better chance of winning the prize, but Walsh said they have yet to sell all the tickets.
Prizes will be awarded to the top two teams in each category, following with the best costume and the sportsmanship awards. Prizes are hand picked by the winners in the order they finish.
“We have had absolutely fantastic feedback from our participants,” Walsh said. “One wrote on survey that this is the best Steamboat summer event for adults and kids to participate together.”
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