As the USA Pro Challenge races through the mountains and into Breckenridge this week, it brings with it both national and international spotlights. While local hotels, restaurants and retail businesses are jumping at the chance to expose themselves to a larger audience, several of Summit County’s nonprofit organizations are stepping up to turn some of that attention onto the work they do and hopefully gain some more support in achieving their mission.
BOEC FREEDOM 2 RIDE
Last year, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) debuted the Freedom 2 Ride event, where BOEC volunteers and members of the Brain Injury Alliance group made their way down Breckenridge Main Street ahead of the USA Pro Challenge bike riders who were on their way to a Stage 2 finish. This year, that group will grow, joined by wounded warriors from the Denver Veterans Affairs medical center and more who are participating in the BOEC adaptive cycling summer program.
On Friday, Aug. 22, the group will go out for a ride on trails outside of Breckenridge on their adaptive cycles — bicycles with three or four wheels designed to be ridden by people with disabilities. The end of their ride will take them onto Main Street, where they will ride from the Stage 5 finish line down to Park Avenue. Spectators can expect a lot of noise — cheers, whistles, cowbells, etc. — and a lot of smiles.
“It is done BOEC style, where there’s lots of excitement,” said Jodi Flickinger, volunteer and wilderness coordinator at the BOEC. She was part of the ride last year and witnessed the vibe and energy firsthand.
“It was really fun,” she said. “The participants were really excited because they don’t often get to be the center of attention, so they were really stoked to ride down Main Street and … be what everyone came out to see.”
The mission of the BOEC is to allow people with physical and cognitive disabilities the chance to enjoy the outdoors through adaptive programs such as cycling in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The organization hopes to bring more awareness to its programs by highlighting Freedom 2 Ride on race day.
For more information about the BOEC and its programs, visit www.boec.org.
DUCKS FOR THE SUMMIT FOUNDATION
Among the many vendors to be found in the Festival Village in Breckenridge during the USA Pro Challenge will be one tent with one very obvious theme — ducks. This is The Summit Foundation, which will be selling rubber ducks for the 27th annual Great Rubber Duck Races. On Aug. 30, thousands of bright yellow ducks will bump, jostle and float their way down the Blue River from Main Street Station to the Riverwalk Center. Prizes await winners of the race, as well as winners of myriad other competitions, including slowest duck.
“We love that the Pro cycle Challenge comes to Breckenridge and to Summit County in general and think it’s so exciting The Summit Foundation gets to be part of it,” said Elisabeth Lawrence, events and marketing coordinator for the foundation.
Having a presence at the Pro Challenge event allows the foundation to reach even more people for the duck race fundraiser, particularly visitors. Winners of the duck race don’t need to be present to win, so anybody can benefit from a duck, Lawrence said.
Along with ducks, the foundation will be selling mementos and souvenir items such as hats, t-shirts, bags and cups, she added.
Last year, the organization raised more than $3,000 at the Pro Challenge event alone.
Proceeds from the duck race and other fundraisers by The Summit Foundation go toward supporting local nonprofits and high school scholarships. For more information on the foundation and its events, visit www.summitfoundation.org.
HC3 PROMOTES ZERO WASTE
By now, the brown and green domed zero waste tents are a common sight to Summit County locals at any big event. Provided by the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) and manned by volunteers, the tents give three options or “streams” for trash — compost, recycling and landfill.
The compost stream accepts biodegradable items, such as food scraps and manufactured compostable items like paper plates. It is then taken to the local landfill where it will become part of the composting program.
“This compost can, in turn, be purchased at the landfill and be used for garden production, landscaping, even golf courses,” said Jenny Hammock, community programs coordinator for HC3. “We encourage all our community gardeners to use the compost when they’re amending the soil in their pots.”
Before the event, the volunteers will be given a brief orientation so they can help identify which waste needs to go into which tent stream. Events like the Frisco BBQ, Oktoberfest and the Pro Challenge allow HC3 to tell more people about their mission, Hammock said.
“It’s a really good way for us to get involved in the community and get our message out among the community when everybody is in one place at the same time,” she said.
For more information on HC3, visit their website at www.highcountryconservation.org.