Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sky Sox hold national-anthem auditions

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 4:20 PM


The Colorado Springs Conservatory and Colorado Springs Sky Sox are teaming up to host auditions on March 8 for the baseball team's upcoming season, which begins April 11. Between noon and 4 p.m., team staff, opera singer Amber Marek and area radio DJs will assess hopefuls at Chapel Hills Mall.

"Soloists, duets, trios and quartets are invited to audition for 'The Star Spangled Banner' and 'God Bless America,'" says a press release. "Interested parties who would like to reserve an audition time between noon and 2:00 PM should contact Brian Paneral in the Sky Sox promotions department at (719) 597-1449 or through e-mail at"

Ultimately, though, however you flex your pipes, you still will probably never be as cute as these kids from Columbia Elementary School. Action starts at 1:35.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why isn't the U.S. Olympic Committee taxed?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 1:29 PM

  • Mike Fleming
The Olympics in Sochi is front and center, prompting a policy wonk with the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution to have a thought:

Why doesn't the U.S. Olympic Committee pay taxes?

Read the entire column here.

Or, here's an excerpt:

The law says tax exempt status is granted to groups that “foster national or international amateur sports competition.” But do the hyper-marketed modern games even remotely fit the ideal of amateur sports? Sure, some athletes who represent the U.S. are amateurs but a great many others are highly paid professionals or marketing magnets. Snowboarder Shaun White–who won no medals– makes a reported $8 million-a-year in endorsements.

And then there is USOC itself. By almost any standard, it is a commercial enterprise. It exists primarily to help organize a bi-annual made-for-TV entertainment extravaganza. Yes, it provides some support for athletes (though surprisingly little). But its real business is marketing itself and playing its part in a two-week orgy of athletic commercialization.
Back in 2009, the city provided the USOC with a new headquarters building downtown, which is still held by the City of Colorado Springs Public Facilities Authority but will be given to the USOC If it sticks around here long enough. The city also spent millions to renovate the Olympic Training Center, at Boulder Street and Union Boulevard.

Neither of those is subject to property taxes, of course, because the USOC is tax-exempt.

If you got to the El Paso County Assessor's website and search for United States Olympic Committee, you can see that the USOC's training center is worth $41.2 million. The USOC also owns a tract of land out east valued at $400,000.

So if it paid property taxes to the city, which it doesn't, that would amount to about $51,600 a year. That doesn't include any other agency's mill levy, such as the county or school district.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

To the Denver Broncos: Next year

Posted By on Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Last night's Super Bowl XLVIII played out like some hellish flashback to the Denver Broncos of 1987 through '90. So here's quarterback Peyton Manning arriving in New Jersey, before the onslaught — and here's to next year.
  • Shutterstock/Devin Gustafson

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hick names a Colorado mountain after every Broncos player

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Pikes Peak — I mean, Joel Dreessen — with the orange and blue. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Pikes Peak — I mean, Joel Dreessen — with the orange and blue.

Come Super Bowl Sunday, all locals should look to the west and salute the 14,115-foot monster towering over Colorado Springs: Joel Dreessen. For the Denver Broncos tight end will lend his name to Pikes Peak, for just the one day, under Gov. John Hickenlooper's proclamation to name each 14er in the state after a Broncos player.

The governor reasoned that Dreessen deserves the honor since he's "a Colorado State University Ram and only player on the roster to graduate from a Colorado university."

As far as the proclamation, it begins: "WHEREAS, the State of Colorado is confident that the Denver Broncos will beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII" and goes on to declare Feb. 2 as Denver Broncos-Mania Day (with a snark at Seattle beer thrown in).

Continue reading »

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Monday, January 27, 2014

UPDATE: Art museums in Denver and Seattle bet on Super Bowl

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

SAM has been asked by the Nuxalk Nation to withdraw it's "Forehead Mask" in the bet, which the museum has honored. Instead, it will wager "Sound of Waves" by Tsuji Kako from it's Asian Art collection. The 1901 six-panel screen stretches 12 feet in length and is 5 feet tall.

  • Seattle Art Museum

——- ORIGINAL POST: MONDAY, 2:13 P.M. ——-

The arts institutions in Denver and Seattle are making Sunday's Super Bowl a little more interesting for themselves. The stakes are two pieces of artwork for a temporary loan.

Here's the bet: Should the Denver Broncos win, the DAM will get to display SAM's "Forehead Mask — Nuxalk First Nation." If the Seattle Seahawks win (ugh, gross), SAM will get to display the DAM's "Bronco Buster" bronze by Frederic Remington. And the losing city will have to pony up the costs for shipping and expenses related to a three-month loan.

From the DAM's press release:

“I’m confident that we will be enjoying Remington’s The Broncho Buster at SAM. We are already making plans to host it here in Seattle so that the 12th Man can see it,” said [SAM's director and CEO Kimerly Rorschach].

“We know the Broncos won’t be busted on Super Bowl Sunday,” [DAM director Christoph Heinrich] said. “I am looking forward to giving the losing team’s mascot a special place of honor in Bronco Nation.”

Dates for the display of the winning piece have not yet been finalized.
  • Seattle Art Museum
This Nuxalk mask shows the elegant elongation of the bird beak, a sensitive and human-like rendering of the eye/socket/brow area, with painted embellishments on the surface in black, red and blue. The open mouth suggests the ferocity of this bird of prey, possible a supernatural “man-eater.” Shredded red cedar bark symbolizes the mythical arena in which the dance-dramas would be enacted.
  • Denver Art Museum
In 1895, Frederic Remington first endeavored to sculpt and the resulting work is one of the most enduring visual images of the American West. The bronze horse symbolizes the spirit and tenacity of the Wild West. Popular from the time of its creation, The Broncho [sic] Buster stands today as an icon of the region and is thought of as the first action bronze of a western hero.
Read the rest of the press release here:

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super Bowl Shuffle: The Remake

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 12:28 PM

It hardly seems possible, but there’s more good news on the Super Bowl front.

Well, kind of. This morning brings us a new version of “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” courtesy of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, wrestler Colt Cabana, and a bunch of other musicians and comedians.

Fans of football novelty rap tunes will no doubt remember the song as originally performed back in 1985 by the Chicago Bears, who went on sell more than a half-million copies

Proceeds from this “all-star” remake will be donated to the non-profit Reading Is Fundamental campaign, so you can’t make too much fun of it. Instead, have a listen below and, if so moved, kick in a dollar to enjoy it for a lifetime.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

The 16 best reactions to KKTV dropping the Broncos game

Posted By on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Midway through the first quarter of yesterday's AFC Championship Game — which saw the Denver Broncos defeat the New England Patriots 26-16, sending Denver to its seventh Super Bowl —  KKTV's signal froze for about five minutes. Not only were hundreds of thousands of people forced to stare at Tom Brady, but the Broncos were driving (and eventually kicked a field goal to open the scoring).

"There's probably 30 computers that are all online that make the signal get to the airwaves," explained general manager Nick Matesi to the Gazette. "One of them crashed and there was no way to go around it."

This sent people, including yours truly, into paroxysms of panic, which KKTV tried to soothe with a Facebook post. Naturally, this just gave everybody a place to freak out, and what follows are some of our favorites from among the 320 comments.


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Monday, January 13, 2014

Name the Springs' new soccer team

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:04 AM

  • Jordan Arenas

The Snowballs? The Lynx? The Pikes Peakers? Or maybe the Front Rangers?

Those are a few ideas tossed out by Indy staffers in response to an invitation by Ragain Sports to name its new soccer team.

Mike Moran, senior media consultant for Colorado Springs Sports Corp., issued the news release asking for the public's help:
Ragain Sports is excited to announce our “Name the Team Contest" running from January 13th through January 17th. We are looking for team name ideas that hold some historical significance to Colorado Springs, names that tie-in one or more significant attributes of Colorado Springs, or creative names that simply work. We would like for all age levels to participate, however, those under 18 will need a parent or guardian to complete the online form.

Ragain Sports plans to announce the selected name on the evening of January 24th at Jack Quinn’s Pub & Restaurant where we will also raffle away items to those who have participated. Those who have submitted a name idea will also have the first opportunities to make season ticket deposits for the 2015 season.

Starting Monday, January 13th, please go to or to read the rules and submit your name ideas!
Ragain Sports wants the new team to call a proposed downtown sports events center home that's part of the city's City for Champions tourism project.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Be a blade runner, go skating

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Flatt: Olympics bound?
  • Flatt: Olympics bound?
Wanna try a double axel, triple toe-loop or a spiral? Wanna watch someone else do that?

Memorial Hospital is teaming up with the Olympic Training Center to present a public skating event at Colorado College on Jan. 2 with Olympic figure skater Rachel Flatt.

Flatt, 21, is a graduate of Cheyenne Mountain High School who's attending Stanford University. She worked as an intern at Memorial last summer and has qualified for the upcoming 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which will determine who represented the United States at the winter games in February.

The family skate event is one of several health and wellness initiatives Memorial and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the Southern Colorado region and partners have planned for weeks leading up to the Sochi Games. Here's more from the press release:

Imagine ice skating alongside a U.S. Olympic figure skater and national champion. Now is your chance! As the countdown to the Sochi Games continues, Memorial Hospital has teamed up with U.S. Olympic figure skater Rachael Flatt for a public skating event at the Colorado College Honnen Ice Arena.

Memorial is the official hospital of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Flatt, the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating national champion, 2008, 2009 and 2011 U.S. Figure Skating silver medalist, and 2008 world junior champion, will skate with fellow Colorado Springs residents, sign autographs, take photos with fans, and offer health and wellness tips.

“It’s important to take care of your body mentally and physically, and skating is a fun way to get active during this season,” Flatt said. “Colorado Springs has a rich history of athletics, and this is a wonderful way for the community to get involved, support athletes and inspire others.”

WHAT: Memorial Hospital Family Skate
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Jan. 2, 2014
WHERE: Colorado College Honnen Ice Arena, 30 W. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
COST: Admission and skate rental are free; participants are welcome to bring their own skates. Donations for the Memorial Hospital Foundation are welcome and appreciated! For parking, please use on- or off-street public parking.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

UPDATE: Pro soccer in CS? Maybe

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 8:06 PM

The reason why we couldn't find the Evergreen address of 1060 Clear Creek Road on the Jefferson County Assessor's website is because that address actually is in Clear Creek County. The residential building there is registered to Nicholas and Jessie Ragain, according to the Clear Creek County Assessor's website.

——- ORIGINAL UPDATE, MONDAY, DEC. 2, 2:13 P.M. ——- 

We've been scouting around for info about this Ragain Sports, and we found that this isn't Nicholas Ragain's first venture.

He started a business called Fashionably Efficient on Aug. 20, 2012, but it's considered noncompliant by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office for failing to file a report this year. Ragain is listed as the registered agent.

click image Fashionably Efficient: Give him five seconds and a 'business suite topper,' and he'll be looking GOOD. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Fashionably Efficient: Give him five seconds and a 'business suite topper,' and he'll be looking GOOD.
We'd really recommend you take a minute to check this out, but if you can't spare it, here's some text from the site:

The New Business Casual (TM) is a one peice [sic] business suite [sic] topper.
* Suite [sic], Shirt, Tie in one piece
* Attaches with velcro
* Easily stored
* Look professional in seconds

We also found two other businesses in which Nicholas Ragain is involved.

One is Historic Williams Ranch fishing and hunting LLC, established on Jan. 26, 2011, in Lake George and considered delinquent by the Secretary of State's Office for failing to file a report this year. Nickolas [a different spelling] Ragain is listed as the manager of the Lake George property, and Martin Ragain is listed as registered agent, giving a residential address in Golden, which the Jefferson County Assessor's Office says is worth $1,766,880

The other business is Saddleback emarketing LLC, established on Nov. 18, 2010, and also considered delinquent. Nicholas Ragain is listed as the registered agent. Fashionably Efficient and Saddleback both give the address of their principal offices as 1060 Clear Creek Road, Evergreen. We couldn't find such an address on the Jefferson County Assessor's Office website.

We tried calling Saddleback but couldn't get through. Someone picked up but there was just noise on the other end of the line. Dunn & Bradstreet Credibility Report says the company has two employees and generates about $100,000 a year in revenue. There were no listings for Historic Williams Ranch, Fashionably Efficient or Ragain Sports.

As for Ragain Sports itself, it lists United States Corporation Agents, Inc., as its registered agent. The company lists 2 S. Cascade Ave., #1100 as its address. This address checks back to Cascade Business Center, Davinci Meeting Rooms, which operates a “virtual office.” As a woman named Stevie who answered the phone number there explained, this is a place that can “provide an address to put on your business cards or to have mail sent to.” Or, you can rent conference rooms on an hourly basis for meetings, she said.

Again, Martin Ragain is listed as the person who formed Ragain Sports, and Nicholas Ragain is listed as the contact person on the news release about Thursday's news conference. Could these folks be the same ones who are prepping Colorado Springs' pro soccer team announcement?

Yes, they are, Nicholas Ragain says in an interview. He says that he's been "requested not to say anything before Thursday" about the soccer announcement and that he plans to check into why his other companies aren't current on their filings with the Secretary of State.

Asked to describe the stage of development for the three non-compliant companies, he says, "They're just on paper, so to speak," but he adds that they are going concerns. He also says that Martin "Ed" Ragain is his father.

————— ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 2, 2013, 10:41 A.M.————

A media announcement will take place on Thursday at the swanky Penrose House, once occupied by millionaire Spencer Penrose, to make a "Colorado Springs professional soccer announcement."

We don't know exactly what this means, but note that Nick Ragain, with Ragain Sports, sent a letter recently on behalf of the city's City for Champions revised proposal seeking state sales tax money. We went to the outfit's web page, but that was no help. Neither was the Facebook page, which was set up Nov. 12 and hasn't had any activity on it.

Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Doug Price says via e-mail, "I understand it is a start up and all the info will be spelled out Thursday."

So here's the letter sent to the state Economic Development Commission to bolster the city's application for $120 million in state money for the $250 million package of tourist attractions, which includes a downtown events center.


Note that the letter says Ragain Sports wants to be "the primary lease holder" for a new stadium downtown. When we asked who would own the events center, as well as the downtown Olympic museum that's also proposed to be built with state sales tax money, donations and possibly local tax money, the city's economic development guru Bob Cope said such "details" hadn't been decided.

The news release about the announcement came in this morning:

WHO: Ragain Sports Owner Martin Ragain, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, USL President Tim Holt, Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Doug Price, Sports Corp CEO Tom Osborne, other notable Colorado Springs soccer and business leaders

WHAT: Colorado Springs professional soccer announcement

WHERE: Penrose House – Salon & Library
1661 Mesa Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO. 80906

WHEN: 3 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2013

We've put in a call to Nick Ragain seeking more information and will circle back when we hear something.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

C. Springs and Woodland Park receive 2014 USA Pro Challenge stages

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Earlier this morning, the officials at the USA Pro Challenge announced the route and host cities for next August's race. Among the latter: both Colorado Springs (Thursday, Aug. 21) and Woodland Park (Friday, Aug. 22).

Interestingly enough, organizers also are allowing fans to vote on four options for the final stage on Aug. 24.

Stage 1: Aspen.
Stage 2: Aspen to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte.
Stage 3: Gunnison to Monarch Mountain.
Stage 4: Colorado Springs.
Stage 5: Woodland Park to Breckenridge.
Stage 6: Vail.
Stage 7: Fans - It's time to weigh in and let us know where you'd like to go! (You can vote here.)

According to an article posted by the Coloradoan, "Fort Collins and Larimer County will not be a part of the route due to road damage sustained from September’s flooding." (On that note, the Pro Challenge is still selling Rain or Shine tees to benefit flood relief efforts.)
As you remember, Colorado Springs was skipped in 2013 after having hosted in both 2011 as well as 2012, a year that supposedly created almost $100 million in economic impact to the state overall. 

That's good money. So here's hoping for a fruitful August 2014. 

People of Colorado Springs ... - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • People of Colorado Springs ...

... get ready to mob downtown once again ... - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • ... get ready to mob downtown once again ...

... for more of this. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • ... for more of this.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Dumb logic and the Denver Broncos

Posted By on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM

What do you think, Championship Bailey? - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • What do you think, Championship Bailey?
I'm a fan of the Denver Broncos, and generally, I'm a fan of NFL writer Gregg Rosenthal — seems like an astute dude. I like to follow him on Twitter; you can too. But I can't say his column today, on why the Broncos will probably lose to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, is doing much for me.

Now, I have no idea if Peyton Manning and Co. will stay undefeated, but it won't be arguments like his that convince me. (Especially considering he begins it by saying that the Broncos, or anybody I guess, won't go undefeated because they have to lose ... even though two teams have, uh, sort of answered that one already.)

Now, for your reading pleasure, my snarky, shit-talking, 10-second rundown on why Rosenthal's logic pants are a little short.

Contention one: "They won by three points in Dallas against a mediocre Cowboys team. The Broncos then let Jacksonville hang around in Denver."

The game in Dallas was a bitch to win, and yeah, there will be tough ones. But I'm having a hard time using Denver's victory by 16 points as a reason it will lose. Take it away, The Onion"Broncos’ Perfect Season Ends With Humiliating Win Over Jaguars."

Contention two: "[The Colts] also are capable of smacking the 49ers around ... [and] beat Seattle this year."

But look, they only beat the 2-4 Oakland Raiders by ... no, wait, they lost that game.

Contention three: "The Broncos haven't faced an above-average defense since Week 1."

So, the Colts have the 11th-ranked defense, by yards-per-game. Not bad. Two spots later, though, are the Raiders, who Denver beat handily a month ago. Of course, it was only by 16 points, and we all read contention one, so ...

Contention four: The Broncos' defense has been "a mediocre group this year, overall." 

Considering that, right before that sentence, Rosenthal wrote, "Yes, the Broncos' defense is different with Von Miller (and Champ Bailey) back in the lineup" I'm not sure this one needs rebuttal. But I guess, if you were being nitpicky, you could throw linebacker Wesley Woodyard and defense end Robert Ayers on to that list of players back at full strength.

Contention five: This one is actually just gibberish, but here you go: "Football is a sport for the young. Manning is doing incredible things at age 37. He's the best quarterback in the league, and the Broncos are the best team overall."

Yes, all those sentences were in that exact order. 

So, to recap, here's why the Broncos will lose: They won their last two (plus four) games; the Colts have also won games; the Broncos haven't seen a decent defense, except when they have; the Broncos defense is bad, except that same defense isn't playing this Sunday; and there are players in the NFL younger than Peyton Manning, plus going undefeated is hard.

Convinced yet?

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

UPDATE: Ultrarunner to make quad-Pikes Peak attempt inside 24 hours

Posted By on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Brandon Stapanowich did complete his quad-Pikes Peak run in a total of 41 hours and 47 minutes. 

"Not what I was hoping for time-wise but the experience was incredible," he wrote in an email to me earlier today. 

And indeed, looking at the experience via his photos and his own words in this blog post, it does look incredible — not to mention punishing and truly testing in every manner of physical and mental will power. 

Congrats to him for seeing his big challenge through to the end. 

——- ORIGINAL POST: 4:32 P.M., THURSDAY, SEPT. 26 ——-

Leave it to the guy who founded and won the inaugural "Inclinathon" to create yet another physically brutal challenge that makes the rest of us, even the modestly fit, squirm anxiously just imagining it. 
Brandon Stapanowich, running. For a really long time and distance.
  • Brandon Stapanowich, running. For a really long time and distance.

Local runner and Pikes Peak Sports blogger (and pediatric physical therapist by-day) Brandon Stapanowich aims to take off tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. from the Barr Camp trailhead and complete four round-trip ascent/descents of Pikes Peak with a possible finale climb of the incline. Within 24 hours, ideally. 

That's 96 miles and around 30,000 feet of climbing — 100 miles if the incline's thrown in. 

You can read all about Stapanowich's inspiration for the jaunt as well as some prior history of quad attempts on his own blog post here

I spoke with him briefly earlier today to learn more about how he's bat-shit crazy ... I mean, um ... how he got into running and how's he's prepped for tomorrow. 

Stapanowich only entered the long-form game with a 40-mile race, the Mount Mitchell Challenge, in 2006, in his home state of North Carolina. 

He says he later dabbled in triathlons and completed a 50-mile race in 2011 when he moved to Colorado. 

Sprinting up to this year, he says he finished the prestigious Wester States 100-Mile Endurance Run in California in June, finishing 13th out of 277 competitors, in just over 19 hours. 

Then came the Trail 50K as part of Aspen's Power of Four Race Series in July. And next, in August, he "helped pace" Scott Jaime for three days as Jaime set the record on the 486-mile Colorado Trail.

This past month, he's nursed an ankle injury and run only modestly, incorporating yoga practice as well to prep. "An adventure like this shouldn't feel like a race," he says, noting he wants to just "move steady" and ideally keep a six-hour round-trip pace per lap. 

His goal will be to finish in 24 hours, or within 30 short of that. He'll be joined at points on the trail by other runner friends, a couple of whom will also attempt the quad run and some who are aiming for just two round trips.  

We wish them all luck and success. 
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Viewers rip coverage of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Dan Cochell, right: My goal is not to go out and embarrass these people. My goal is to do the very best job I can, and in this case I did the very, very best job I could with what I was presented with.
  • Dan Cochell, right: 'My goal is not to go out and embarrass these people. My goal is to do the very best job I can, and in this case I did the very, very best job I could with what I was presented with.'

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb went off without a hitch last Sunday, with the biggest headlines coming from Sébastien Loeb, and his 875-horsepower Peugeot 208 T16, just crushing the previous course record.

Of course, if you were following along online, on Red Bull TV (posted below), you might have had a harder time watching it happen. Helicopter shots kept cutting in and out, images were static-ridden and unreliable, and at times it was just generally difficult to figure out what was happening. This was hell for the people watching, but it was certainly hell for the announcers, one of them being Colorado Springs media member Dan Cochell.

And, of course, this was also the first time an attempt had been made to broadcast the race, now in its 91st year. Despite that, thousands of commenters on YouTube and Facebook ripped the production up and down. Here's a few from Sunday (everything sic-ed):

"Thanks for posting this video," Ivan Nenov wrote. "The broadcast was less than impressive though. Gearheads want to hear the car engine, not two gentlemen talking."

From YouTube.
  • From YouTube.

Or, from Ralph Gaume: "Amazing race by Loeb and Peugeot, but redbull this coverage suck! Espacialy the two guys, they seem nice but I wasn't here to listen to them."


We even received letters written to Cochell's personal e-mail address, which was posted in the comments, CC'd to our newsroom. It's all just a little ridiculous, Cochell says in a phone interview with the Indy.

"The Hill Climb partnered with me to be the play-by-play announcer, but the production crew didn’t have their shit together whatsoever," he says. "So, when we arrived up on the hill to do the race, my audio cables aren’t even plugged in four minutes before race time; I didn’t have IFB; I had no contact with any of the announcers up and down the hill; I didn’t have any monitor to see any footage.

"We essentially did what turned out to be a six-hour race with about 15 minutes of the race, and the rest of it, all the cameras were failing from the connections. And then the cameras, as you saw, on the helicopter would freeze. And that’s what happened all day, so what was I supposed to do?"

Cochell says all the cameras were linked over Wi-Fi, but a 14,115-foot mountain sort of got in the way.

A taste of the criticism.
  • From Facebook.

"If you understand how big Pikes Peak is, to hook up all the cameras on a wireless Internet system and have all that technology work flawlessly is asking a lot," he says. "And the person that did the production arrived on Wednesday, and really didn’t have any chance to set up any of the cameras, which didn’t even arrive until Saturday at 5 p.m. Saturday! I went up there on Saturday to do a run-through, and it was pouring rain by 3 in the afternoon so they couldn’t even hook up anything."

Eventually the summit camera was hooked up — 15 minutes before the race started, Cochell says. A second camera at the 16-mile mark failed to ever come online, leaving the helicopter camera as the main one. Of course, the announcers couldn't speak with the pilot, and had no help determining which car was on the road.

"I don’t want any PR off this," Cochell says. "I wasn’t gonna say anything, but when you have 20,000 people commenting and ripping you apart, and ripping the Hill Climb apart — and part of this is me defending the Hill Climb, because these people have no idea what they’re talking about. They have none. They just sit and watch the thing and think it should just come off magical, and it doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t work that way in the real world."

Cochell says he also built the broadcast set in the first place, though was not responsible for getting it into shape.

"So, the moment I walked on the set and nothing is set — I mean, no cables are run, no power cord for the monitors — I mean, when none of that is in place, and it's still not in place four minutes before we go on the air ... What was I gonna do?

"If I go into that set and I know everything that's laid out before me and it's not ready to my standards and all of a sudden I say, 'We're not gonna do this' ... all of a sudden it's a disaster from the beginning. But when I do go on the air and try and make something out of it, and it still turns out bad, then I'm really looked at as being unprofessional and unprepared, which is the furthest thing from the truth."

And, for fun, here's some fans who were nearly killed by Loeb while crossing the road:

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Friday, June 28, 2013

PPIHC fan fest tonight, race on Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM


I know as much about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb as I do about riding motorcycles (which I've, uh, never done). Despite that, I dig a downtown party as much as the next guy, so look for vehicular madness on Tejon Street tonight, with a beer garden, chili cook-off, stunt team and more.

As far as the race itself, here's more from the Colorado Springs Sports Corp., which operates the race:

The “9 Minute Club,” all five competitors who have broken the once elusive 10-minute barrier will be in the race; Rhys Millen (9:46.164 in 2012), Romain Dumas (9:46.181 in 2012), Nobuhiro Tajima (9:51.278 in 2011), Carlin Dunne (9:52.819 in 2012) and Greg Tracy (9:58.262 in 2012).

But based on practice and testing times this week, it may result in the first sub-nine minute mark and new records in almost every division on the fully-paved 12.42 mile course with 156 turns if the mountain and the weather cooperate with race organizers. ...

All eyes in the Motorcycle field will be focused squarely on record-setting Carlin Dunne (Santa Barbara, CA), who set the course mark for bikes last year in winning the Pikes Peak 1205 division with a clocking of 9:52.819 on a Ducati Multistrada. He’s back this year, but this time he will be racing a new Lightning Electric Super Bike, rumored to be the fastest production bike in the world, electric or fuel-based, in the Exhibition Powersports division, with an expectation of a new course record after his blazing testing times on the hill this week and last weekend.

Those who can't attend Sunday can watch the live stream on Red Bull TV, or listen live at 105.5 FM or 1240 AM. Meanwhile, in the spirit of people who can actually operate a motorcycle, here's local Colorado Springs race contestant Jeff Grace going up the mountain last year:

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