39 years old this month, the Colorado 500 “dirtbike” motorcycle charity ride has provided very generous contributions to many Western Colorado governments and organizations over the years. Their records show scholarships totaling over $442,000.00 and over $950,000.00 to shelters and organizations in this part of our State. In Ouray County for example, Ouray Mountain Rescue has received $27,150. I know that the school, the ambulance service, and even the Ouray County Historical Society have been awarded grants for particular needs by the Colorado 500 or members who also step in to help.
A recent request to the Colorado 500 was that the Ouray Sheriff’s Communication/Command Post vehicle, which was originally funded by Homeland Security in 2006, was in desperate need of new tires. A badly stretched budget just could not handle the expensive 10 ply tires needed for safe operation. Colorado 500 put out our request to its membership and Hightone Automotive and Tire in Basalt and Tire Dealers Warehouse in Montrose provided the needed tires. Sheriff “Jr.” Mattivi appreciates this and other help provided to Ouray’s various emergency services operations over the years.
The Colorado 500 has also been pioneer in responsible visitation to our unique environment. The group has strict rules of conduct and they were early advocates of reasonable noise control. Because of the numbers of riders, they register with the Forest Service and pay a sizeable fee for their events. In 2013 alone the U.S. Forest Service fees exceeded $6,000.
The names of famous auto racing personalities were and are a part of the Colorado 500. Aside from the organizational expertise of a very small staff, perhaps it is the riding expertise of the members that has meant they rarely need to use the emergency services that they generously support. The group really enjoys the opportunity to get together each year to visit our special region in their special way. We are happy to have them as our guests and appreciate the special financial help they provide in addition to their positive benefits both economic and in responsible care for the environment.
Welcome back to Ouray for your 39th year Colorado 500 – you’re almost 40! We’re glad to have your “family” visit our “family”.
– Alan Staehle, Ouray County Emergency Manager, retired
Category: Letters to the Editor