In 1999, it was announced that the City of Steamboat Springs would be fulfilling the desire to honor outstanding community citizenship by introducing the Heritage Award for the City's Centennial Celebration Year of 2000.
The Heritage Award is given to applaud the gift of time, effort and service over a number of years of giving back to the Steamboat Springs' community. The community "gift" can be in the field of human services, open space preservation, maintenance of community character or any other type of community giving. The honoree can be an individual, a couple, a small group of people or an organization.
The Heritage Award is a bronze, six-point elk statue that was designed exclusively for the City of Steamboat Springs by local rancher and sculptor, Curtis Zabel. Mr. Zabel also appropriately named the statue, "Meeting the Challenge."
The Heritage Award signifies the importance of preserving "who we are and what we represent" in our beautiful valley. It's the Year 2000, the City's Centennial Celebration Year and the first, very deserving and appropriate recipient of the award was . John R. Fetcher.For more information on how to make a nomination for this award please contact the City of Steamboat Springs.
JOHN R. FETCHER
Our first ever recipient of the Steamboat Springs Heritage Award was born on News Year Day in Winnetka, Ill, where he spent his childhood. His higher education brought him to Harvard University where he obtained a masters degree in business and engineering. Six years after marrying his college sweetheart, he moved to Steamboat Springs in 1949. Although he came to the Yampa Valley to become a rancher, it soon became apparent with his professional expertise, enthusiasm, and "can do" attitude, that ranching would never be enough. I would like to take a moment and highlight some of his accomplishments:
- Participated in planning and development of the Steamboat Ski Area as vice president and chief engineer for Storm Mtn. Ski Corp: 1959-1962
- President Mt. Werner Ski Company: 1962-1971
- Supervised construction of Christie, Thunderhead, Four Points, Burgess Creek, and Headwall lifts
- Designed ski jumps for Crested Butte, Purgatory, Winter Park, Aspen, Park City and others
- Chaired the Jump site selection Committee for the Denver 1976 Olympic Organizing Committee
- Chaired the Steamboat Springs Ski Jump Commission, spearheading fundraising and construction of the $1.1 million rebuilding of the Howelsen Hill jumping complex and installing snow-making equipment
- While installing the Poma lift at Howelsen Hill he first had to translate all the instructions from French to English. He then engineered and built the lift.
- Winter Carnival Grand Marshal:
- Winter Sports Club member and president:
- National Ski Patrol: 1959-present
- National Ski Hill Engineering Committee: 1952- present
- Jumping Referee at the Sapporo and Lake Placid Olympics
- Inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame: 1983
- Recently lead fund raising effort for Winter Sports Club Alpine Slide
- Instrumental in the construction of several reservoirs, including Stagecoach and Fish Creek
- Manager of the Mt. Werner Water District
- Colorado Water Quality Control Commission
- Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District Board
- Colorado Water Conservation Board : Chairman in 1983
- Our recipient has been on more water boards than the Beach Boys .
At 88, Our recipient still ranches with his family and remains a pioneer in land and water conservation issues. He has helped lead the way in open space preservation and continuation of viable agriculture. There is not a part of our valley our "Heritage Award" recipient has not touched over his decades of service to our community. Sometimes called a renaissance man, he is an innovative rancher, an accomplished skier, a champion squash player, "a walking encyclopedia on water issues, a terrific husband, wonderful father, and super grandfather. For the one or two people in our audience who don't know exactly who I am talking about .. It is indeed an honor and privilege to introduce the CENTENNIAL RECIPIENT OF THE STEAMBOAT SPRINGS' "HERITAGE AWARD". The 2002 Winter Olympic Games marked the second time the award was presented; this time to an organization, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC). For community-wide residents, it is a household name. For the world, the SSWSC is a highly respected, visible landmark within the international competition venue of winter snow sports. A familiar face and a familiar place--John Fetcher and the SSWSC; two recipients boasting similar ages, who seriously endeavor to uphold the preservation of a rich legacy tucked away in a pristine ranching valley in northwestern Colorado.
John turned 90 this year and can still be found in the winter tirelessly running up and down the narrow staircase leading to the event timing room fondly called the "Crows Nest" in Howelsen Hill Lodge. He's making sure the technical details of the Club's many events are up to par. He might stop just long enough to have a friendly chat with a visiting French athlete (chatting fluently in their native language, of course) or attend the end-of-season awards night to support athletes, their coaches and volunteers honored for their hard work throughout the season. Last year the SSWSC renamed its "Honorary Sustaining Member" award to "The John Fetcher Honorary Sustaining Member Award."
In February 2003, The SSWSC will host the 90th Winter Carnival, celebrating nine decades of interactive winter fun, history and sports while maintaining a core attribute of this community's heritage reflected by the SSWSC's mission statement:
. . . to provide an opportunity for young athletes to become successful individuals and achieve their personal goals through participation in winter sports.
In 1932, the Club had one athlete, John Steele, in the Winter Games. In 2002, the Club had 15 athletes present in Salt Lake the largest SSWSC group yet. To top it off, SSWSC athlete, Travis Mayer, returned home with an Olympic Silver Medal! Travis is the first SSWSC medalist since Nelson Carmichael came home with an Olympic Bronze in 1992.
City Council President, Kathy Connell, made a surprise appearance on stage last year during the SSWSC's 89th Winter Carnival Night Show to present the Heritage Award to Executive Director, Rick DeVos. He gratefully accepted the Curtis Zabel bronze elk statue on behalf of not only the SSWSC but the countless individuals and businesses whose endless efforts and funding enable young athletes to succeed. Rick repeatedly makes sure that extensive appreciation and acknowledgement goes out to the City of Steamboat Springs and neighboring Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., upon which so much of the SSWSC successes are based. Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner nominated the Club and went on to establish an awareness of the Heritage Award's special nature and that it was not something the City will give on a routine, annual basis.
The SSWSC thanks the City of Steamboat Springs for this Prestigious Award!
Complete list of Award Recipients:
> 2000 - John Fetcher
> 2002 - Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
> 2004 - Kevin Bennett
> 2006 - Jayne Hill
> 2008 - Gloria Gossard