Man of the Cliff returns to Red Cliff this weekend | SummitDaily.com
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Man of the Cliff returns to Red Cliff this weekend

Daily News staff report

RED CLIFF – Though it seems like summer in the mountains has only just begun, residents of the Vail Valley are already getting excited for cool evenings and changing leaves. With ski season just around the corner, residents in the greater Vail area, throughout the Front Range and even some competitors from out of state are gearing up for the third annual Man of the Cliff 2011, presented by Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Saturday and Sunday.

This “distinctly Colorado” charity event will donate 100 percent of profits to outdoor adventure therapy for young adults with cancer provider, First Descents (www.FirstDescents.org), inviting men and women of all sizes, skill levels and from all walks of life to don facial hair, denim and flannel and spend two days trying their luck at outdoorsmen-type activities.

This year’s competition includes axe throwing, archery, keg tossing, caber tossing, sledge hammer throwing, speed chopping and two-man cross cut sawing, etc., all of which have been slightly modified to suit the skillsets of the untrained weekend lumberjacks and outdoor enthusiasts.

With twice as many competitors and spectators since the first Man in the Cliff event in 2009, organizers have seen a significant increase in interest from sponsors and competitors. This year’s event is expected to quadruple the current population of the town of Red Cliff’s estimated 330 residents.

“Going door to door with little or no existing documentation and trying to explain that we were going to have amateurs throwing axes and kegs in order to raise money for charity made soliciting donations a little difficult,” said event co-founder Amanda Williams of the increased awareness of the event. “Having two years in the books combined with increased exposure and press coverage in the Vail Daily and on Plum TV has made an enormous difference. Instead of being greeted with puzzled looks, donors are now familiar with the event and excited to be involved to the point where sponsors are now contacting us.”

The growing success of the event has resulted not only in sponsors like Coors increasing their participation but has also caught the attention of sponsors like St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, who contacted the organizers to provide a donation in support of the event and First Descents after attending last year. The biggest impact to this year’s event will come from the support of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, who agreed to be the featured sponsor of this year’s event and make a significant donation to First Descents.

“We’re excited to partner with such a cool, local event and such a great cause,” said Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Brand Manager, Kensey Davis, “Man of the Cliff is a unique concept that truly embodies the spirit of Colorado, and being the first Colorado whiskey, we wanted to take part in the fun.”

“There are a few reasons we wanted to support the local hotel and restaurant in town, help put our town on the map and most importantly find a creative way to generate funding for a great local charity.” says event co-founder Adam Williams. “We had volunteered at several First Descents events working behind the scenes, but thought that there had to be a way we could have an even bigger impact. Since we knew we weren’t the only ones that were not in the position to make a sizeable cash donation, we decided to come up with a way to get small donations from a number of people that could add up to a significant contribution.”

Last years’ Man in the Cliff event raised more than $8,000 in donations.

“We figured we weren’t the only ones who have watched a strongman event or highland games competition and wanted to try some of those things, but didn’t have the physique or skill to get involved,” Williams said. “So we decided to change the rules a bit and give all of the rest of us a shot. Beer might have also had some influence on us as well.”

First Descents was originally founded in Vail and provides free outdoor adventures for young adults surviving and fighting cancer, giving them confidence by providing participants the opportunity to try something most never considered possible following their diagnosis.

This year’s event will include a celebrity appearance from TV host and outdoorsman Tred Barta who will give a demonstration and a quick lesson at the start of the archery event on Saturday morning. Local hotels have increased their support of this year’s event. The 14-room Green Bridge Inn in Red Cliff sold out quickly as the competition dates were announced, but the Minturn Inn and Evergreen Lodge in Vail have offered discounted rates for the weekend and the Holiday Inn in Vail has offered discounted rates and shuttle services to and from the event as parking will continue to be tight this year.

Mango’s Mountain Grill will be running specials all weekend and local favorite Hardscrabble will play bluegrass at the conclusion of Saturday’s competition.

Registration and other details are available through the website http://www.manofthecliff.com.


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