8 — Junction hosts major events for first time
More than 1,200 Special Olympians came to Grand Junction for the 2013 Colorado Summer Games in June. It was the first time the Colorado Summer Games have been held on the Western Slope.
The games were moved to Colorado Mesa University at the suggestion of Charles Monfort, a former CMU trustee who recognized the university and surrounding community offered a great venue for the games. Prior to 2013, the event was held at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where the Monfort family has been linked for decades. Charles and his brother, Dick, are primary owners of the Colorado Rockies.
The opening ceremony was conducted at Stocker Stadium with a huge crowd of athletes, coaches, volunteers, family and supporters numbering more than 1,000.
The 2013 Summer Games torch run started May 11 and traveled more than 600 miles to an emotional and rousing arrival at Stocker Stadium.
Another first-time event for Grand Junction was also a success. The Grand Junction Off-Road mountain bike race drew hundreds of competitors from around the region to compete on a grueling course.
Labor Day weekend was a combination of mountain biking, vendors and entertainment that drew large crowds to downtown Grand Junction. The three-day event included a mountain bike criterium race around downtown, mountain bike races on two courses — 30 and 40 miles — that challenged both the weekend warrior and the elite rider, and lots of music, including Cracker, which headlined the event.
Local man Dave Grossman partnered with Epic Rides out of Arizona to bring the event to Grand Junction. Grossman said the timing was perfect to bring a cycling event to the area. Grand Junction was discussing a possible pitch to bring a stage of the USA Pro Challenge road cycling race to the area, so a bicycle-focused group already was assembled.