Rally hangs in limbo

The fate of the Rally in the Rockies, scheduled for this weekend outside Mancos, is hanging by a thread. Early this week, Montezuma County Judge Sharon Hansen released an injunction calling for a halt to the event. The rally filed an appeal and was still awaiting an answer as of press time. The rally also approached the Southern Ute Indian Tribe about a last-minute relocation to Ignacio. That request was denied.

Rally in the Rockies was created after the Four Corners Iron Horse Rally, which had run a motorcycle gathering in Ignacio since 1993, failed to hold an event in 2002. During the last three years, the rally has been staged in Ignacio on Southern Ute Indian Tribe land and drawn as many as 20,000 bikers. However, the relationship between the rally and the tribe disintegrated this year with Rally in the Rockies terminating its contract with the tribe and setting its sights on Echo Basin Ranch, just outside of Mancos.  

Montezuma County commissioners didn’t see the move in the same light and refused to grant the rally a permit for the event. The rally and Echo Basin Ranch fired back with a lawsuit, charging that the decision violated their constitutional rights and moved ahead with plans for the Labor Day Weekend event regardless of permit.

Just three days before rally attendees were scheduled to arrive, Judge Hansen ruled that no more than 600 campers may use Echo Basin Ranch and that no official events or vendors would be permitted at the site. Rally in the Rockies promptly appealed the decision and issued a statement that said, “The rally regrets the decision from the district court for an injunction stopping the rally. We believe that it is a shame that Montezuma County has done everything it can to quash the rally, especially since it is one of the most economically depressed counties in Colorado, and the rally would have brought a significant economic benefit.”

In addition to appealing the injunction, Rally in the Rockies revisited some familiar territory. After receiving Hansen’s order, rally organizers approached the Southern Ute Indian Tribe about a last-minute return to Ignacio. Saying three days were not sufficient to prepare for such a large event, the tribe declined the request. The Tribal Council’s vice-chairman Matthew Box said that the request was given due consideration but that the tribe’s leading responsibility was to the health, safety and welfare of its members.

Box commented, “After hearing that the Southern Ute Police Department, like many local law enforcement agencies, will already be burdened during the Labor Day Weekend due to all the visitors coming for the rally, the Tribal Council did not feel it could provide adequate police and safety if these additional events were to be held in Ignacio.”

The tribe, in conjunction with the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce Bike Week, has its own slate of events planned for the weekend. It appears that the Rally in the Rockies is also remaining optimistic. The rally’s website reads, “We are no longer selling tickets online for 2006. But don’t worry tickets will be available at the gates.”

Racers survive Durango MTB 100

For the fourth year running, the annual Durango 100-mile Mountain Bike Race was a grueling affair. Last Saturday at Durango Mountain Resort, mountain bikers from around the country slogged through mud and thin air on what is hailed as the hardest 100-mile course in the country.

“The event brought pro mountain bikers in addition to weekend warriors to compete in the hardest 100-mile course in the nation with the spectacular San Juan Mountains as a backdrop,” said Will Newcomer, race director. “Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, and in addition to the tough course, racers had to battle cold temperatures, rain and hail storms throughout the day.”

The race began at 6:45 a.m. on Saturday after a 15-minute delay to let the rain storm ease up. Held on singletrack, doubletrack and four-wheel drive roads, the course makes three laps, covering more than 18,500 feet of elevation gain. Unfortunately, weather forced race organizers to stop racers from beginning the final lap in the 100-mile course.

Still, Mitch Moreman, of Durango, finished in first place in the pro men’s category with an official time of 6 hours and 58 minutes for two laps (100K). Second place went to Cale Redpath and third place went to Peter Kenyon. Elizabeth Vollmer took first place in the women’s 100K category with an official time of 10 hours and 23 minutes.  

“The MTB 100 is the definitive test of toughness and perseverance in mountain biking,” said Newcomer. “No matter how you tackle those 100 miles or just push yourself through the shorter course, there’s nothing quite like it. There’s a true sense of accomplishment for all competitors when they cross the finish line.”  

Full results are available at www.MTB100.com.  

Accusations fly at governor candidate

Bob Beauprez, Republican candidate for Colorado governor, is being taken to task for his record on Western Slope water issues. ProgressNowAction, a watchdog group, has alleged that Beauprez has consistently pushed for diversion of Western Slope water to the thirsty Front Range.

“Beauprez publicly supported Referendum A to take water from the Western Slope and send it to the Front Range,” said Michael Huttner, executive director of the group. “Now the ever-slippery ‘Both Ways Bob’ is trying to run from his record of supporting Referendum A.”

Referendum A was a failed attempt in 2003 to build $2 billion of projects that would take the water from the Western Slope and send it the Front Range. The measure was voted down in every county in Colorado, including 81 percent of voters in the Front Range’s Pueblo County.

ProgressNowAction also alleged that Beauprez has a history of voting for polluters over protecting water and has voted to exempt the oil and gas industry from portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The group also noted that Beauprez voted consistently to bail out the makers of MTBE, a human carcinogen that has contaminated water in his district in Colorado. 

‘Fall for Durango Days’ launched

Just as the summer season is beginning to wind down, the Durango Business Improvement District is hoping to keep cash registers ringing. The group recently announced “Fall for Durango Days,” a $12,000 umbrella marketing program to help promote Durango events and activities during September and October.

The program is based on last year’s “Holidazzle,” a six-week effort over the Christmas holidays. BID noted that Holidazzle boosted sales tax in the Central Business District, and the group is hoping for a similar response during the next two months.

“Part of the mission of the BID is to help sustain existing businesses within the district,” said Rod Barker, BID presiding officer. “We find such umbrella marketing efforts a cost-effective way to keep Durango in the public eye for an extended period of time. We feel underwriting Fall for Durango Days is certainly a good investment.”

– compiled by Will Sands



In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down