Zombies land in Steamboat in ‘new kind of fundraiser’

The first-ever ZomBe event will come to Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs on Sunday, Oct. 23. There will be running and bike races of all distances in which zombies and humans will compete alongside each other.
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The zombies are coming to town this weekend with the first ever ZomBe Fest at Howelsen Hill. The event was created by Justin Dillie who founded his company ZomBe just three months ago.

“It’s a company that does fundraisers for nonprofits,” said Dillie. “We wanted to create something where people could be actively engaged in the community at an event and also have the choice to donate and connect online.”

Steamboat’s ZomBe Fest is the first event for the company. Participants are invited to walk, run or sprint and to choose their side: zombie or human? There are also two biking options; a 5-mile mountain bike race which will go up the Blackmere trail or a 14-mile road bike race that loops through downtown Steamboat.

Kids aged 4-7 will begin the afternoon with a 200-meter run (parents, beware: kids have the option to be zombies and chase their parents). The 8-11 age group will follow with an 800-meter run. One and five mile run options are next, and then the afternoon will cap off with the biking portion of the day. The fee to enter the races is $12.

“I wanted to make sure it was an affordable event for locals,” said Dillie. “There are so many events in town that cost a lot of money to enter and I didn’t want this to be cost prohibitive.”

Race participants and attendees can then donate in person or online; funds raised from ZomBe Fest will be split between several local nonprofits who have signed up to participate in the event such as Routt County Horse Rescue, Tread of Pioneers Museum and The Cycle Effect. It is Dillie’s hope that representatives from each nonprofit will mingle with guests at the event, potentially attracting new volunteers and sharing their stories with the community.

Participants will receive points – some for registering and more based on the amount of money they donate – which can then be used to redeem prizes from the prize pool which includes rock and ice climbing trips among others. Points don’t expire so if a participant doesn’t have enough for the prize they want at any given time, they can wait to earn more at a future event, or they can buy more on the spot.

If you go

What: ZomBe Fest 2022

Where: Howelsen Hill

When: 12:00-5:00 p.m., Sunday, October 23

To register: $12, the day of the event

With one ZomBe Fest under his belt, Dillie plans to take the show on the road. After living in Steamboat for the past decade, he’s moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, at the beginning of November where he plans to introduce ZomBe Fest to the community there. will launch early Friday, Oct. 21.

“The goal is to do it in a bunch of different areas and cities, like Salt Lake and Denver and more,” he said. “Then I’ll bring it back to Steamboat, hopefully each year.”

It’s a business he was inspired to create when he discovered his passion for volunteering while in Poland last March helping with the refugee crisis.

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“I enjoyed that and wanted to capture the idea of volunteering as a full-time job,” he explained. “I also love doing events and I wanted to create something where anyone and everyone could participate. This is a combination of all my passions.”

ZomBe Fest will be a creative fundraiser that pits zombies against humans in bike and running races on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022 at Howelsen Hill.
Justin Dillie/Courtesy

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