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Super Bowl upsets?

ANDREW TOLVE
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
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BRECKENRIDGE ” Tommy McLaughlin had it all planned out. This coming Sunday the 24-year-old, lifelong Broncos fan would throw a party ” a rager up on Boreas Pass. Buddies would roll up to his place from around the county. There’d be a keg from the Breckenridge Brewery. Maybe even his mom would make the trek up from the Mile High City for the big game.

It would be the best way to watch his beloved orange and blue become Super Bowl champs.

Of course, plans changed.

“Oh man, well, I mean, it was disappointing of course, you know?” McLaughlin said with obvious grief in his voice. “You want your team to win. But we just lost to a better team, you know?”

Unfortunately, most people in the county do know. They too had to watch as the Steelers dismantled the Broncos two Sundays ago, humiliating Jake Plummer and his grizzly beard along the way.

So what now? Must local fans turn their backs on the Super Bowl? Can they muster the strength to watch another team take our crown?

McLaughlin, for one, will still be having his party.

“Back in the ’90s when the Bills were in four straight (Super Bowls), my family always went to my grandpa’s house,” he said. “Of course the adults would drink beer, we’d sit around and eat food, and listen to my dad yell at the TV.”

Now it’ll be the young apprentice hosting the festivities ” eating, drinking and probably shouting at the TV.

But what about others around town?

“Oh geez, I haven’t thought about anything special,” Lynda Colety, owner of the Moose Jaw, said in a half-hearted sort of way. “Probably just drink specials and, um, I think … oh boy, I don’t know if I’m going to do hot dogs or not.”

When asked if plans would have been a little more ironed out if the Broncos were playing instead of the Steelers, Colety (better known as Ma-Moose) came alive.

“Oh definitely,” she replied. “Absolutely. We’ve got lots of Bronco fans here … Any time the Broncos have played in the Super Bowl, it’s been chaotic. I thought a couple of times all my trophies were gonna fall off the shelves. The trophies are not in danger (this Super Bowl Sunday).”

Plans would have been different for Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake, too. Blake and his wife own the Bronco’s Mascot (the white Arabian horse known as Thunder), so they were down fieldside for the AFC Championship game and would have been there for the Super Bowl if the Broncos had prevailed.

“It means we don’t get to go to the Super Bowl with the horse, but it means we don’t have to go to the Super Bowl with the horse,” the mayor joked. “We would have been driving to Detroit, which for Super Bowl sights wouldn’t have been my natural choice. So we’ll wait for next year and a sunnier spot, which makes a nicer drive. We’ll leave Pittsburgh to go to Detroit.”

Instead, Blake and his wife Sharon will be watching the game at home by themselves. Blake added that he shaved his tribute, Jake Plummer beard within minutes after the Bronco’s loss, and that he gave Eric Mamula (owner of Eric’s Downstairs in Breck) a terrible towel that a Steelers fan threw at him fieldside a few weeks ago.

“We’ve been a Steeler bar for 17 years now,” said Mamula, who was born in Pittsburgh and still bleeds the black and gold. “We have a really good, hard-core group of Steeler fans who come in every week. So last week during the Broncos game we were probably 85 percent Steeler fans … (This Sunday) everybody in here will be wearing black and gold.”

There won’t be any drink specials at Eric’s (which features the NFL Ticket throughout the season), but patrons will find the bar’s owner armed with his terrible towel.

“Generally I don’t wear any Steelers stuff,” Mamula said, “but Sunday I’ll be wearing the terrible towel that Ernie gave me.”

If such a sight is likely to offend your Broncos soul, you might want to look elsewhere. Restaurants like Fatty’s in Breck will be showing the game in the midst of a far less Steeler-strong crowd. (Fatty’s is traditionally a Chicago Bears bar, although they will be serving up burgers called Big Ben Roethlisbergers during the game). A second option is the Dillon Dam Brewery, where bar manager Johnny Burnette will have a 9-foot by 12-foot big screen TV pulled down, as well as two-dollar pints and well drinks flowing from his bar for most of the game.

“We do have a Bronco crowd, but you know, this being a pretty transient area, you have people from all around the country who live here,” Burnette said. “… So I think it’s generally a football crowd … But Super Bowl Sunday is definitely a different kind of animal. I’m sure we’ll max out by the time the game starts out, so I would say get here early if you want to enjoy the game.”

And finally, if you want to avoid the game altogether (whether because your Broncos lost or because your husband gets a bit rowdy when the topic of conversation turns to football), you might want to consider a day with the Babes in the Backcountry instead. Director Leslie Ross has a full-day clinic planned for Carter Park in Breckenridge, which should provide any woman with a severe disinterest in football a suitable outlet.

“When I think of the Super Bowl, I think about people getting together for the day to celebrate sports,” Ross said. “So that’s kind of why we wanted to connect it (with our clinic) because our day is along the same lines. It’s an opportunity for the gals to get together and share a common interest, a common passion in the outdoors, and celebrate their love for sports.”

Andrew Tolve can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13629, or at atolve@summitdaily.com


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