Broncs’ in Bowl good for biz

Cruisers bartender Liz Smallwood serves a packed crowd Sunday at the local bar on Horizon Drive during the Broncos/Patriots game.



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Cruisers bartender Liz Smallwood serves a packed crowd Sunday at the local bar on Horizon Drive during the Broncos/Patriots game.

Co-owner Johnny Uren of Cruisers Bar, 715 Horizon Drive, No. 100, could not contain his excitement any longer.

Perched at the end of his bar, closest to the televisions with a hand-knitted blue and orange beer koozie cradling his beer, he let out a whoop just before kickoff during the Broncos vs. the Patriots game on Sunday.

Similarly ramped up, most of the bar patrons hollered back.

Like most other sports bars in Grand Junction, Uren’s bar was packed with Broncos fans sitting with a drink and some snacks, carefully eyeing the television screens.

A successful Broncos season means the difference of a couple thousand dollars to Uren, though he said he would rather the Broncos win than have the cash.

“When they win, it’s huge,” he said. “Last year, (when the Broncos lost) it not only hurt me, it was a financial loss. It’s either a win-win or a lose-lose.”

A winning Broncos team has translated into a $20 million to $40 million economic impact across the state, according to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Those dollars come from all the Broncos gear being sold, increases in food and drink sales, travel costs of locals going to Denver to take in the game and all the extra snacks and meals enjoyed by those watching at home.

The excitement over the Broncos was palpable Sunday at Cruisers.

Everyone was dressed in Broncos jerseys, or some form of blue and orange, and most people said they expected to buy more drinks and food as the game continued.

Robert LaGrange was stopping by the bar for a drink to watch the kickoff, before going home to his family. He hits the bar about once a week, but noted that seeing every seat taken was unusual outside of big events.

“Depending on how this goes, it’s going to be all joking around here or just plain quiet,” he said of the game’s outcome.

LaGrange has his own economic impact riding on the game. Two years ago, he bet his friend $200 that the Broncos would make it to the Super Bowl this year.

He stopped by his friend’s home recently to remind him of the bet.

“He said he he’d be glad to pay it,” LaGrange said. “He said, ‘It’s worth it.’ ”



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