Loghill Lungbuster Added to Summer Calendar
by Peter Shelton
Mar 22, 2012 | 1149 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RIDGWAY- Mayor Pat Willits called last week’s regular Ridgway Town Council meeting to order with the words: “As mayor, for the last time . . . It has been a total pleasure. You all rock!” Council gave the 12-year mayor a rousing hand before hearing about a new bicycle race, a request to move the Farmer’s Market into downtown, and a first-ever chambers-of-commerce-sponsored “Mudfest.”

The bike race, dubbed the Loghill Lungbuster by presenter Kevin Chismire, president of the Ouray County Historical Society, would start in downtown Ridgway and finish, 15 grueling miles later, at the Divide Ranch Country Club on Log Hill.

The race is to be open to both skinny-tire road bikes and mountain bikes, Chismire said, and would be a fundraiser for OCHS. It would be run in time-trial style, with racers starting about a minute apart and racing against the clock. He was targeting Sunday, September 16 for the inaugural event, and said he already has permission from CDOT to ride the shoulder of Hwy 550 from the start to the turn-off at CR 24A. He said the OCHS was negotiating with the Old Schoolhouse Emporium, at the west edge of town, to use their parking lot as the start area.

“Wouldn’t it be more fun, for cyclists and spectators, to start in Town Park?” asked the soon-to-be former mayor. “It’d be good for downtown business. And I’d be willing to stand on a corner in a yellow vest.” (Chismire had earlier mentioned such a CDOT stipulation for every in-town intersection the race traverses.)

Council voted unanimously to grant a special use permit for use of the town’s streets for the event.


Also on Wednesday, council enthusiastically approved a request from the Ridgway Farmer’s Market to move its Friday operations to Hartwell Park, downtown.

RFM board members Nicole Greene and Marietta Johnson told the council that while the market has been a success at its fairgrounds location, “A highway presence is important.” And Hwy 62 through town is preferable to Hwy 550 southbound. Greene sited a CDOT study that shows 6,400 vehicles a day passing by Hartwell Park, while 4,700 vehicles per day travel Hwy 550 past the 4H Event Center parking lot.

Not to mention that the park has big shade trees, and grass, and is within walking distance of most in-town residents.

“I love the Farmer’s Market,” said councilmember Rick Weaver. “But to be honest, I forget about it when I don’t see it.”

Exactly, said Johnson and Greene.

True Grit Café owner Tammy Tuttle added emphatically, “I love it. But as a boardwalk retail business, I want to see the vendors parking far, far away. I want you guys to succeed. But maybe we need some ‘Boardwalk Parking Only’ signs on Lena Street?”

Mayor Pat Willits said, “You’ve heard we are supportive. Come back with the actual location, southwest corner, or southeast corner next to the tennis courts (as Councilmember Ellen Hunter suggested), and we’ll do the necessary permission.”

“We want to make it happen,” concluded Councilmember Jim Kavanaugh.

The Farmer’s Market will be open on Fridays through the summer, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


“We will have mud!” said Tamara Gulde, Vice President of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association, of the first annual Mudfest slated for the last weekend in April at the Ouray County Fairgrounds. “If we don’t have natural mud, we’ll make it. We’ve got fire hoses. We’ve got water.”

The inaugural event, spelled out for Ridgway’s town council last week (in part because town property is involved), will be a one-day mud-and-machine extravaganza, according to Gulde and fellow planners Susan Long, Fairgrounds Manager, and Kari Wage, president of the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce.

This may be the first time in living memory “that OCRA and RACC have done something together for fun,” said Gulde. “The girls are throwing a party, and the boys are going to play in the mud.”

Gulde said County Road and Bridge Manager Chris Miller “is building the course” and that there will be an antique tractor pull, a motocross exhibition, and various races and obstacle courses for Jeeps and other 4X4s.

Entry fees will be $25 for competitors, $8 dollars for adult spectators and $5 for children.

Gates will open at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 29, Gulde said, with the first event, the antique tractor pull, happening at 10 a.m. That will be followed by the 4X4 mud racing. “And we’re working on a tug-of-war between the two fire departments.”

Ouray’s Volunteer Fire Department will host a “Mud Ball” Saturday night at the Ouray Community Center, and there will be an “unofficial” pub-crawl the night before, on Friday.

Family activities at the Fairgrounds will include a bounce house, a meet-and-greet with drivers from Olathe’s Thunder Mountain Raceway, a climbing wall, food vendors, and more.

Gulde said the group hopes “to build on this in future, make it a two-to-three day event. We’re expecting about 500 people to attend, maybe more, from Durango, Palisade/Grand Junction. We’re doing radio advertising in Montrose.”

“It’s time to celebrate our mud!” said OCRA’s Kat Papenbrock, in a release.

“It’s been too long coming,” said Councilmember Rick Weaver, the town’s representative on RACC. “I’m very pleased that the two chambers are working together.”

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