Ear to the


“Don’t you guys have your own skiing over there?”

– The words greeting a group of Durangoans buying bad $7 lattes at a Telluride establishment

Mobile mallets

Durango is taking bike polo on the road this weekend. Local organizers are staging the Colorado Cup, the state’s “first modern-rules grass bike polo tourney” in Lyons, Colo. this Saturday. Why Lyons? “I organized this in another town because people won’t travel down here to Durango to get their asses kicked,” said Chad Cheney, Mallethead in Chief.

Teams from Salt Lake City, Ridgway, Carbondale, Lyons, Boulder, Salida, Fort Collins and Denver will square off against the Durango Malletheads. The local squad includes Cheney, Jon Bailey, Brendan Shafer and Doom, and the games will be held at Planet Bluegrass headquarters.

Bike polo has evolved in Colorado over the past couple decades, Cheney explained. The local vintage of the game/sport has one simple rule – “if you touch your foot to the ground, you cannot play the ball.” Last fall, Cheney and friends traveled to Fort Collins to play in an informal match and discovered that bike polo is universal. “People have been playing all over Colorado without really knowing that there are others doing the same style of play,” he said.

This Saturday’s tournament was the next logical progression. For any last-minuters out there, registration will take place at 9 a.m. at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, and the mallets start swinging at 10 a.m. The cost is $50 per team and includes a post-polo meal. More information is available at the cyber headquarters of the Singlespeed World Championships: www.sswc09.wordpress.com.

The beer business

At least one business is thriving in the hostile U.S. economy. People are continuing to belly up during lean times, and they’re drinking a better class of pint. Craft brewing posted major increases in 2008, a time when nearly every other industry slipped.

The Brewers Association recently announced that small, independent craft brewers are gaining alcohol market share. It noted that consumers are shifting away from the Lucky Lagers of the world and toward full flavor beer and an increasing support for homegrown, local breweries. As a whole, microbrew sales were up 10.5 percent to just over $6 billion in 2008.

Locally, this trend is reflected in the continued strength of Durango’s four breweries. As evidence, Steamworks Brewing Co. posted a 32 percent increase in sales in its wholesale beer business in 2008.

“From the Brewers Association’s statistics, it appears that beer from small, independent breweries is in demand, and that is certainly positive for the beer industry in general,” said Kris Oyler, Steamworks CEO.