Steamboat Stinger under new leadership in 10th year |

Steamboat Stinger under new leadership in 10th year

A cyclist competes in the Steamboat Stinger Bike Race on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Emerald Mountain.
Shelby Reardon

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Stinger, a popular endurance mountain bike and trail race, will now be managed by Routt County Riders and Partners in Routt County, rather than founder and primary sponsor, Honey Stinger.

The race, scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9, is in its 10th year, With Honey Stinger in the midst of major changes in the company, race directors decided to hand it off to primary beneficiaries Partners in Routt County and Routt County Riders.

“It’s not that we didn’t want to do it,” said Jordan Beall, former co-director of the race. “This was just the best option to keep it local.”

The two-day event, which features a trail marathon, half-marathon and mountain bike race, was previously owned and operated by Stinger Race Inc., which was founded in 2011. Staff from Steamboat-based company Honey Stinger and sister company Big Agnes volunteered hundreds of hours to produce and facilitate the race, according to a press release.

Routt County Riders has long worked with the city to manage the trails on Emerald Mountain and has a relationship with the Bureau of Land Management that oversees the Beall and Ridge trails on the backside of Emerald.

Partners in Routt County, specifically Executive Director Michelle Petix, has experience hosting large-scale, outdoor events. Partners in Routt County has put on the Amazing Race, and Petix was tournament director of the Steamboat Springs Soccer Tournament, which is one of the largest events in the city.

Honey Stinger will stay on as a sponsor of the races, but since the company will no longer be managing the event, they asked it to be rebranded. Routt County Riders and Partners in Routt County launched a race renaming contest in which the public can submit potential names for the race by Tuesday, Jan. 21. The winning name, which will be short, catchy and likely reference Steamboat or Emerald Mountain, will be announced later that week. 

“The community loves the branding and the name and the race itself. Honey Stinger has been such a supportive company for our town that that’s something people feel attached to,” said Routt County Riders Executive Director Laraine Martin. “We’ve been seeing a lot of names flowing in through the naming contest. They’re really great and creative.”

Other than the name, little else will change about the race. The course, aid stations and general format of the competition, will remain the same. The pair of nonprofits will likely require help from additional sponsors, though, to keep the event at the same scale it was.

Petix said they’re relying heavily on transitional support from those who have been putting the work in in prior years.

“It’s like becoming new parents,” she said. “People say, ‘We’re here for you, it’s going to suck for a while, you’re going to lose sleep.'”

Information for the race is still on the Honey Stinger website, but will eventually move to a brand new site. Until permits are secured and more details are arranged, registration is not open.

“We appreciate the community’s support and patience during this transition,” said Petix.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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