In Lyons, Colorado, miles of the Front Range’s best mountain bike trails weave through the rocky desert landscape of Hall and Heil ranches, up over sandstone buttresses and down through sage-filled ravines. And two rivers—The North and South St. Vrains—converge in town, their winding paths offering world class creek boating, a fun kayak playpark and plenty of flyfishing. The 1,500 locals know their town is a Mecca for outdoor adventure sports, and now, because of the fast growing grassroots event—the Lyons Outdoor Games—thousands of people throughout the West are also beginning to recognize the opportunities it offers.
The Games grew from a one-day event celebrating the “grand opening” of the $300,000 playpark, which was built in 2003. Because spectatorship and participation were surprisingly high, Lyons locals decided to expand the event to three days and to include other sports—mountain & BMX biking, flyfishing, skateboarding, rock climbing, a 5K, etc.
Though similar in nature to the X-Games and TEVA Mountain Games, the Lyons Outdoor Games differs in that it’s an almost exclusively volunteer run event and all proceeds go directly to town’s Parks & Rec department. Driven by their shared love of adventure sports and a desire to boost the Town’s image, volunteers put in hundreds of hours organizing each aspect of the event.
“Lyons has always been a community of volunteers,” says Lyons Parks and Recreation Director, Dave Cosgrove. “What makes this event special is that there are also many amazing local athletes who participate. It’s good to see the community take ownership in the events that it participates in.”