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Steamboat Magazine

Special Locals Section

07/01/2009 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Summer-Fall 2009:

Special Locals Section

A Steamboat Magazine tribute to a felesser-known characters who help make the Yampa Valley home. You won’t find Billy Kidd, Moose Barrows, Verne Lundquist or Nelson Carmichael listed here. This compilation is a nod to Steamboat Springs’ unsung lesser-knowns, the folks you run into at Spring Creek or City Market and who are part of the reason we’re happy to call the Yampa Valley home. While culling the list was next to impossible – after all, don’t we all have interesting stories and backgrounds to share? – this collection shines a spotlight on a felocals who don’t regularly command the media but whose personalities and attitudes help make our town what it is.Bob Havice - A stuntman in Steamboat Springs    Bob Havice describes himself as “just a normal guy.” Of course, the same could be said about Indiana Jones.    The analogy is apt; Harrison Ford, 65, did most of his own stunt work and Indy is an archaeologist. Bob, 64, who has lived in Steamboat since 1968, is a real-life Hollywood stuntman who has appeared in more than 150 films. But the 35-year veteran ski instructor is also a professional archaeologist who works with Dinosaur National Monument and various archaeology companies.    Jousting with ironclad super-heros, going over waterfalls, being shot, hanging out of a helicopter, performing horse aerobatics, leaping from burning buildings, crashing motorcycles, running rapids … these are all a feof the zany stunts Bob has pulled in his career, with stints in such movies as The River Wild, Usual Suspects, The Titanic, Die Hard 2 and McHale’s Navy. He’s heading back this summer to work on other silver screen projects you’ll soon see at the Chief Plaza and Wildhorse theaters.    His work may seem glamorous – or crazy – but it’s really about being an athlete. Bob scopes out every feat in detail before the cameras roll and still, he says, “Every stunt, I get scared.”     Bob’s entry into the elite world of Hollywood stunt work came via his prowess as a cowboy. Horses are a recurring theme in his life, and he loves to ride in Brown’s Park, searching for relics. “I have a knack for finding prehistoric sites,” he says. He has exhumed bodies, discovered petroglyphs and excavated ancient campsites. “It’s my main passion,” he says. “It’s like a big crossword puzzle. One site will relate to another site. After you’ve done it for years, everything makes a lot of sense.”    Two of Bob’s horses were given to him by a neighbor whom he cared for while she had cancer. That experience led him to his current volunteer position at the Hospice of Steamboat Springs. “It’s a privilege being with people at that special nmoment,” he says, adding that more volunteers – especially men – are needed. “It’s priceless, what I derive from it.”    Bob credits his community spirit to his wife, Marti, who works in the day surgery recovery room at Yampa Valley Medical Center. “She’s the coolest lady I ever met,” he says. Dare we make the comparison to Lara Croft (played by Angelina Jolie)? Or maybe they’re just a normal couple.Frank "Smokey" Vandergrift - Videotographer, Local Historian    Steamboat’s old-timers live on, thanks to Smokey. He spent 30 years filming legendary figures like Gordy Wren and Skeeter Werner, and produced a stack of documentaries capturing local history. “History was my salvation, in a lot of ways,” says Smokey, 64. As a student at Denver University, he took history classes to keep his GPA from sinking. But, he confesses, “I never kneI would use it for much of anything until I came here.”    That was in 1979. By then, he’d blown his hearing working in a Pittsburgh steel mill, completed degrees in sociology and forestry, earned a nickname (a campfire cinder ignited his cowboy hat), and worked as a ranger at Denali and Mesa Verde National Parks. When he took a marketing position at the Steamboat Ski Area, video was the hot netechnology, and Smokey found himself in the movie business.    He shot powder days, vacationing skiers and interviews with resort notables; then, he started his own video production company to capture the fledgling sport of mountain biking and the Steamboat Springs Vintage Races. In 1987, Rita Valentine approached him about doing a documentary on the evolution of skiing in Steamboat Springs, called The Treacherous and Speedy Skee. History has occupied him ever since.     With collaborator Jean Wren, Smokey filmed interviews with the area’s first skiers and those who knethem. He also located Steamboat footage shot by Dick Durrance, John Jay and other greats, converting it to video and incorporating it into his productions. After Treacherous came Hill of Champions, on the legacy of Howelsen Hill, and then From CoTown to Ski Town. And Smokey’s camera kept on rolling, recording sessions with hundreds of notable locals. His entire collection nobelongs to the Tread of Pioneers Museum, which digitized the old three-quarter-inch videotape for long-term preservation.    Smokey’s latest project, Leif Howelsen: His Story, documents the life of Carl’s son, a concentration camp survivor and peace activist. For such stories, Smokey says, nothing beats video. “It’s one thing for someone’s name to live on, but to preserve their voice, their face, their stories – it captures so much more.”Michael David - A very serious funnyman    "My hair is stuck in the ‘80s. My clothing is bland. I’m a very boring person,” says Michael David, a black belt in two types of karate as well as one of Steamboat’s most notorious comedians.    Cue the ironic wink and don’t believe him for a millisecond – this is the same hard-core karate teacher and butt-kicking personal trainer who professes to having saved the lives of more than 50 people with a single joke. Such humble duality is what makes him so compelling: Michael takes his karate, and his comedy, seriously.     “Marrying the two together is hard, to be funny in a serious circumstance,” he says. “But I truly believe that humor can save people’s lives. People laugh themselves healthy.” Humor aside, in his studio at the Whole Body Education and Rocky Mountain Karate Academy, his students address him only as Sensei (“teacher” in Japanese). He instills and commands that respect in his studio, which is a tad different than the reverence he gets on the stage.    “It’s the foundation of building a healthy respect for authority, which translates into the rest of life,” Michael says, explaining the wisdom of showing kids hocapable they are. “I knomy place. This is living my dharma. There are many things that I am funny and casual about, but I take a circumstance like that very seriously.”     Yet Michael’s best friends are undoubtedly among the funniest pranksters in town. He loves the theater, the subtlety of timing in a joke, and the raucous applause. Michael continuously cranks the funny bone for Cabaret, Pirate Theater and We’re Not Clowns. Ask his age and he’s “44 and a third.” “I use fractions because it’s silly and childlike,” he says.     Michael’s karate kudos have required a lifetime of training and dedication. And still he says, “Comedy is hard. We have raised the level of funny in this town to an amazing height. It puts pressure on us to do better than we did the last time. And that is such work. It’s nuts.”

Johnny and Gigi Walker - Setting camp for the valley's sustainable future    Each summer for the past 28 years, through kids and carpentry jobs, teaching and running a beauty shop, Johnny and Gigi Walker have relocated to their tipi on the edge of town. “It is where we find peace and quiet,” says Gigi, who calls herself a tree-hugger from before they had a name for it. “It’s so great to live outside. It kind of tricks your body into making the summer go longer.”    Everlasting love for the outdoors led Johnny and Gigi to be early torchbearers for a more sustainable Yampa Valley future. During a decade working on Environment 2000, they helped steer awareness toward local environmental issues including water, population, transportation and land use – even spawning Yampa Valley Recycling out of the process.     “Only noare we starting to re-recognize some of those values that we thought were so powerful back then,” Johnny says, reflecting upon the early 1990s effort. “Of course you think, ‘Oh good, we did it and it’s over!’ But it’s never over. We’re still fighting for these things,” adds Gigi. They’re both retired noand ready to travel and dote on three grandkids, but community-minded projects have never scared these lovebirds away.     As the junior high shop teacher, Johnny sought to create global change through children: “That’s why my shop classes had such an environmental focus,” he says. He guided five separate classes through building electric cars to race around the region. They built bird and bat houses for the Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Golf Club and Haymaker Golf Course, hoping to avert insecticide use. There were soap box derby cars, Peace Art projects, theater sets and service trips to The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch. This summer, he’s teaching the Colorado Mountain College course that’s restoring the historic Diamond WindoCabin at Stagecoach.     As avid backcountry skiers, Johnny and Gigi have been a voice for Friends of the Routt Backcountry since its inception – waging the constant battle for separation of motorized and non-motorized uses and a need for rare quiet space. Together, they’re hopeful. Gigi nods in approval as Johnny says, “Before I die I really think I’m going to see that we can all make money and be successful without ruining our environment.”Kris Hammond - Presence on stage and in court    You probably knoKris Hammond, 51, more from his stints as the mailman in the annual Cabaret talent shoand mimicking Carl Howelsen than as a criminal defense attorney and principal of Hammond LaOffices. At least we hope so. Regardless, either way you won’t forget him.    After getting his undergraduate degree from The Colorado College, which recently inducted him into its Athletic Hall of Fame for diving, Kris earned his ladegree from the University of Colorado and moved to Steamboat Springs, where he became a partner with Tim Oliphant in 1986. “I had to choose between Steamboat and Grand Junction,” says Kris, a past president of the Rotary Club. “I think I made the right choice.”     Comfortable on the Cabaret stage, he’s equally so in court. A member of the 14th District’s Judicial Nomination and Performance Commissions, his most memorable case was defending Don Nord’s medical marijuana use, during which he was invited to speak at the annual convention for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, D.C.    While he can’t remember when he did his first mailman role (“That was a lot of dropped letters ago,” he says), he has been a regular on the Cabaret scene since 1993. It wasn’t until 2000 that he made his cameo as Carl Howelsen. The Tread of Pioneers Museum outfitted him with old clothes and skis, he polished a corny Norwegian accent, and read The Flying Norseman by Carl’s son, Leif, to prepare for the role. “Jayne Hill asked me to do it to help pitch the renovation of the ski jumps,” he says. “Billy Kidd was in the audience and liked the act. That led to other gigs for the ski area. The highlight was getting to knoLeif, Carl’s only child. We did a father-and-son routine, but the son was 33 years older than the father.”     Nowadays, if you don’t find Kris in court you’re likely to find him riding Howelsen’s mountain bike trails on his Moots Malcolm X Frame, wakesurfing or contemplating a jump off Concentration’s Fish Lips on his Atomic B5s. And, of course, you just might see him delivering those dropped pieces of mail.    “People recognize me in the supermarket as the mailman,” he admits. “I’ll probably keep doing it until the mailman croaks or we actually get home delivery. I think my job’s safe for a while.”Tim and Scott Borden - Blowing things up    Tim Borden never dissuaded his son, Scott, from playing with matches. Explosives were encouraged. Even an occasional fire wiping out the family yard was fair game.    Dad harbored a smoldering passion for pyrotechnics and passed it down the line. Nothe father-son duo rigs one of the biggest Fourth of July fireworks shows in Colorado – complete with four independent launch sites around Howelsen Hill’s natural amphitheater and a 16-inch firework that weighs more than 100 pounds and requires digging a special hole. (“In Denver you won’t find a location where you can shoot it off,” he says.) The $24,000 shocosts the city just half that much because Tim and Scott commandeer an all-volunteer team and devoted financial sponsors. They bloup a shothat retails at $80,000.    Call them extreme hobbyists.    Tim came to Steamboat as the public defender in 1974, when Scott was 2. Noticing a “vagary in the laws” regarding federal fireworks permits, Tim and a friend bought the schoolhouse, post office and 58 of the 60 lots in Lay – between Maybell and Craig. He became mayor; his partner the sheriff. And they legally secured a federal fireworks permit – which they promptly hauled home to the Routt County commissioners asking for permission to put on a fireworks show.    A word of warning to the grassroots group of fireworks aficionados who started a small July 5 fireworks tradition in Stagecoach last year: “That’s howe started out too,” says Tim. “Only over time have we been foolish enough to spend this much.”    Since their first Steamboat extravaganza from Charlotte Perry’s historic home in Old Town, the father-son duo has built three firework-storage buildings on the family’s agriculturally zoned property, bought a forklift and earned ATF and Colorado Fireworks Display Operators licenses. Continually upping their arsenal, they’ve bought thousands of mortars and firing systems – and burned up more than a few. They buy semis full of fireworks – and toil year-round to fuse the 20-minute manually triggered production.    “We’ve never had a single injury. We’ve had plenty of fireworks that go off incorrectly, but that’s just part of it,” Tim says. “The fire department would tell you sometimes we’re all hiding underneath the truck hoping for the best. It’s a real experience up there.”Tim Olmsted - Sharing a path to enlightenment    Tim Olmsted marvels at athletes who train for high-level pursuits – spending endless hours doing something difficult and unpleasant. “But encourage them to go and meditate for 20 minutes and they just can’t imagine it,” says Steamboat’s Buddhist Center founder. “It’s too hard or too boring. What turns us on becomes skewed in a place like this.”    The great saints, on the other hand, came from stark, difficult, back-breaking places. Steamboat life works for and against the Buddhist tradition. Tim says: “On the one hand it’s fantastic because it’s beautiful, wholesome, clean and peaceful. On the other, Steamboat is so lovely and easy in a lot of ways that it’s easy to get distracted. Often when people are confronted more directly they want to look for meaning, answers – they look to address the discomfort they have inside and the suffering of people around them.”    Steamboat’s pleasure can lull us to sleep spiritually, he says. Cross-legged atop a red meditation pilloin front of a traditional Tibetan Buddhist shrine, Tim speaks of his own spirituality. Growing up First Presbyterian, he found himself entranced by the great spiritual teachers – particularly the Buddha. While working with cognitive psychology in graduate school he found his own perfect segue into Buddhism. Within three months of meeting a great old lama from Tibet, Tim had moved to the Himalayas to study close to him. Arriving in Steamboat in 1994, he wasn’t searching for a Buddhist community, but people started asking him to do small talks. The Buddhist Center greup slowly, and that’s hohe liked it – although it’s noconsidered Colorado’s largest and most established sangha (“community” in Sanskrit) outside the Boulder/Denver area.    Tim’s mission has never been to create Buddhists. “Really, it’s to offer some sort of wisdom from the Buddhist tradition and see what people want to do with it,” he says. He participates with other local religious leaders in the philosophical and theological “Exploring the Sacred” discussions, but offers no outreach program. Instead, he maintains a lothreshold for anyone to wander in. “Buddhism is so wonderful, appropriate and timely,” he says. “My goal is to have a group of people that are really dedicated. Marie Carmichael - Hitting all the right notes    Not many people would make sure a piano had a place in the newly remodeled Bud Werner Memorial Library. Concert pianist Marie Carmichael did by calling someone, who knesomeone.    "It was perfect," she says. "It all fell into place like dominos. Noyou walk into the library and you have live music."     If a project involves music, you can count Marie in.    "I'm a musician," she says. "Whatever musical thing needsto happen church, studio, school, community choir I'm the worker bee. I'm most comfortable on the production end, producing, playing, directing."    Her involvement with the local music scene goes back to the early 80s, when she founded the Mountain Madrigal Singers, a group of 12 select singers that still performs madrigal songs and classic ensemble pieces at community events today. "They're some of the best singers around and it's exciting to work with them," Marie says.    Marie left the Yampa Valley in 1990, two years after the tragic death of her husband, Hugh, in a car accident on Rabbit Ears Pass. It happened on the eve of her son, Nelson's, debut at the first-ever Olympic Games in which freestyle skiing was a sanctioned sport. Her eyes still water when she recalls the extraordinary high, when Nelson learned he had been selected to represent his country at the Games, followed within hours by the news of Hugh's death.    As respected as she is for her extraordinary musical talent, she is equally proud to be known as Nelson's mom. She was in Utah last spring when Nelson was inducted into the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame. "His speech was inspiring," she says. "I'm very proud of him."    She returned to Steamboat in 2005 to be near Nelson and her daughter, Kathryn, and her grandchildren. While her return is a blessing for her family, it is also a gift to the community. Irene Nelson - And from the ground came bubbling crude...    The Beverly Hillbillies got nuthin' onthe Nelsons.    While Irene Nelson, 73, has succeeded in town as an interior designer, she didn'tquite design the perfect arrival in 1970.    After vacationing in Breckenridge, where she asked someone what the state's best "family ski area" was, she traded her Opal GP for an old, yelloSunshine Biscuit bakery truck adornedwith fat, white-hatted chef illustrations and loaded her four kids, aged 8-14, and two dogs for the trek west from Chicago. When the truck broke down outside of Cheyenne, she stuck out her thumb, thepoor trucker never knowing about the entourage hiding in the ditch until it was too late. After the dog puked in the truck cab, the driver dropped them off in Cheyenne, where a lone acquaintance from Steamboat carted them over Rabbit Ears. The rest, as they say, is history.    Well, not exactly a normal history.    "We moved from a country club environment in Chicago to sleeping in tents inSteamboat," says daughter Cindy, nothe owner of White Hart Gallery.    The lawn tents owe themselves to Irene's $30,000 acquisition of two fix-erupperson the corner of Hill and Laurel streets downtown. "They were both wrecks and I didn't knoa soul in town," she says. "The police thought I was a drug dealer because I had four kids and no visible means of support. I'd feed dinner to anyone who helped me with the house."    Hanging her interior design shingle was a work in progress as well. "No one here even knewhat an interior designer was," she says.    Now, with four grandchildren, a beautifully landscaped home in Fairview, and Irene Nelson Interiors thriving with four employees, she's clearly settled into her surroundings. But it's still a far cry from her Jed Clampett-like trudge west for a nebeginning. George and Marian Temple - A partnership from politics to professorship    Who or why, or which, or WHAT,    Is the Akond of Swat?    Is he tall or short, or dark or fair?    Does he sit on a stool or a sofa or chair,    Or SQUAT,    The Akond of Swat?    Is he wise or foolish, young or old?    Does he drink his soup and his coffee cold,    Or HOT,    The Akond of Swat?    Edward Lear, father of the limerick, posed these nonsensicalquestions in 1883.    George Tolles, who actually had breakfast with the "Wali (patron) of Swat," says he found the gentleman to be quite distinguished. A Fulbright Scholarship led George to Pakistan, where he found a peaceful people living in the serene Swat Valley. That memory makes the fighting between Taliban militants and Pakistan forces there today all the more incomprehensible to him.    He and his wife, Marian, have watched international politics unfold throughout their 52-year marriage. From Cali, Colombia, to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the Tolles were stationed indisparate locales during George's Foreign Service career.    Noa professor emeritus at CMC, George's travels are ongoing. He has lectured in China, been mugged in Peru and gone doorto- door in rural Japan with Marian to find accommodations(neither speaks Japanese). "Somehowhen you don't speak the language, there's a kind of basic humanity that comes through that's more important than language," George says.    George and Marian have developed their own nonverbal communication. "Marian has ESP," George says. "I think about it, and then Marian will mention it. We carry on a whole conversation without ever saying anything. She's also my encyclopedia. As I approach 80 I can remember places, but Ican't remember names. She keeps me honest."    Marian used those encyclopedic skills throughout her multi-faceted career at the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. From LTV's ownership in 1973 through Kamori Kanko in 1997, she samountain operations grofrom a small business to a multi-national corporation. "In the LTV days, it was like a family," she recalls. "The older days look better when nedays come along."    George and Marian still greet each neday with an early morning swim in the hot springs pool. Perhaps the mineral-rich waters enhance their enduring enthusiasm for life. Bill Higbee - A truely multifaceted mountain man    Steamboat native Bill Higbee has always been one of the town's more colorful characters. A town "shoebox baby," he was born premature in the days before Steamboat had a hospital, so his family kept him in a shoebox on the oven door with the temperature set at 80 degrees. More than six decades later, the man who has never liked snoor skiing still finds himself at home in the Yampa Valley.    Bill was raised by his grandfather and grandmother, legendary Steamboat schoolteacher "Mrs. Campbell," who taught math and Latin to generations of locals. As a young adult hetook off across the country racing cars and traveling through the U.S. and Mexico collecting bug specimens.    "I'm a road man," Bill says, describing his wanderlust. Yet he found his way back to Routt County, where he became an expert scrimshander (ivory artist), selling his carvings from a store above Allen's. He also gained a reputation as local mountain man.    "In those days all I wore was buckskin clothes and moccasins," he says. "I'd check my rifle at the bar to go get a beer." But when the mountain man got a job working for Rocky Mountain Airways, he was told he had to wear black shoes and "real clothes." Obeying the command, he worked his way up through the airport hierarchy to become manager of the Steamboat airport.    A femore decades and career changes later, Bill is still one of Steamboat's wackiest inhabitants. An animal lover, his home menagerie includes 11 ferrets, two bearded dragons, frogs, a scorpion, a deformed box turtle and a bathtub of crawdads. His paralyzed ferret, dubbed "Scooter," made national headlines when Bill fashioned a scooter for him to become mobile. Bill isespecially fond of spiders and has a tarantula named Harriet.    "They're great company, and everyone's scared of them,which is fun," he says.    These days, Bill does maintenance work at The Pines, where he keeps a 1962 aerial photograph of Steamboat in his shed to shoto tourists and illustrate what town was like in the good ole' days.    "Sundays, you could lie down on main street and nap all day and not see a car," he says.    Though Steamboat has changed, the multifaceted mountain man has not. A graduate of a University of Colorado paleontology program, he hunts fossils for Denver museums and studies the Eocene era. He builds car engines and constructs elaborate "environments" for his animals. He still carves the ivory he collected in the '80s, creations including a bejeweled ivory "time machine." As every car that pulls into The Pines pauses to wave to him, Bill loves to tip back his signature beaver skin cowboy hat and spin a yarn about his unusual life.    "I'm telling people stories all the time," he says. "They don't quite believe them, but they're true." Cordelia Maasdam - With a purple-tinthairdo and rub red hat, livin', lovin', she's just a woman     With apologies to Led Zeppelin, Cordelia Maasdam is "tellin' tall tales of hoit used to be."    Smoking through her 1956 cigarette holder from the Beverly Hills Hilton, Cordelia tells the story of when she and her late husband, Felber Maasdam, were treated like royalty on the inaugural cruise of Holland America's MS Maasdam no relation, but who's gonna' tell?    Cordelia lives life to the fullest, all in keeping with her favorite adage: Everything happens for a reason. When two women at a conference in Southern California told her in 1987 she would open Crystals by Cordelia, she told Felber she was leaving their hillside estate in Cali to live in Steamboat full-time.    Felber, who with his father invented the Maasdam Come-a- Long at their Routt County ranch, was incredulous. "It was a total revelation and I hate snow!" Cordelia exclaims. Until that day, she had little time for metaphysics, crystal power or spiritual healing.    Today, her shop is filled with crystals, geodes, books on metaphysics, jewelry and more. It's open whenever she can get there. Right now, that's not often because she's the full-time caregiver for her ex-husband, Bob Canto. "This is God's challenge for me, and I meet it every day," she says.    Despite the unpredictable hours and lack of advertising, the shop attracts people from all over the world. "The people who are meant to come by, do," she says. "I don't preach religion, just spiritual awareness."    The daughter of moonshiners, Cordelia is a world-traveler and a hat-carrying member of the Red Hat Society. She attributes her exciting life to appreciation for whatever comes next."Attitude is gratitude," she says. Dona Steele - An artist on parade    Dona Steele does dress-up. A lot. Plus she's a notorious instigator who good-naturedly coerces her girlfriends into costume beside her. Hardly a parade passes these women by and Dona's artistic impulses shine in the visuals she concocts for the group. In real life, she's a fine artistand a professional faux painter; but she has taken her artistic talents to the streets in more ways than one. Dona's passion sprouted Steamboat's past "sidewalk art" festivals, including a Strada d'Art with more than 200 artists and students working downtown to re-create Diego Rivera works in chalk.    But step off the sidewalk and ponder the parades. There were Lovely Lighted Ladies wearing vintage fur coats and lit Christmas lights (traveling on cross country skis, of course). The All Girl Grill Brigade wheeled barbecues filled with dry ice down Lincoln Avenue while hurling weenies into thecrowd. And, while design details remain a well-guarded secret, prepare for a monumental testament to Steamboat's historic ladies during the Winter Carnival centennial celebration four years from now. "Steamboat is such a fun-minded town," Dona says. "It's a great place to dress up." Amy Tirone - From fires ot flowers    Chalk it up to a thirst for adventure or a pioneer's restlessness but Amy has always peeked beyond the status quo. As a young woman, she escaped her tiny hometown of Lamoni, Iowa, by signing on with Craig's team of wildland firefighters. One of just four women on the 22-man crew, she ran alongside a heavy engine while aiming a high-pressure hose at the inferno. Then Amy added "snowmaker" to her resume, working nights to paint Steamboat's runs white. No38, Amy and her husband, Kip, own Tall Tulips a venture she hatched after wondering why flower-store tulips were always so short. "There must be a tall tulip somewhere," she mused, and she found them: workingdirectly with a Danish buyer, Amy stocks her shop with blooms available nowhere else including three-foot-tall French tulips. For additional fun, she skis, surfs in Maui, and plays with her 16-month-oldson, Arthur. "I'm still putting out a lot of fires," she says.Susan Shoemaker - Wild and wooly    Like so many of us, Susan arrived in Steamboat rather haphazardly, with the area settling around her more than her settling in. She adopts an old Steamboat attitude about the town's growth, admonishing us to remember legendary hostess Hazie Werner's famous saying, "We made room for you, didn't we?"    Adventure guided her early days here. She hung with the fly boys at the old glider air strip off RC 33. She worked at the old downtown box office café with Steve Green, known to be a bit of a prankster. She traveled the world, milking her employee benefits from Rocky Mountain Airways at the old Steamboat STOLport. She bought a couple of sheep, which greinto a herd that she groomed toproduce wool. Knowing the clean, strong wool was special, she teamed up with five other local producers to form Routt County Woolens.    Today, she focuses her tireless energy on giving back to the community, specifically teaching tai chi to seniors at the Steamboat Springs Community Center and in Hayden as part of the Routt County Aging Well program.    "It's a really cool project and is super rewarding," she says, adding that her students include tennis champ Carol Baily; Annabeth Lockhart, matriarch of the F.M. Light family; Strawberry Park's Gene Cook; and George and Marian Tolles. Her students often tell her hothe class has allowed them to walk up stairs again, and has improved their circulation and balance. By giving back to the community, you could say that she's improving the balance in all of our lives. Bruce Caplowe and Jacquie Lewis - Living life to the fullest    Bruce Caplowe settled in the Yampa Valley from NeYork in 1974, his youthful zeal leading him into real estate, property development and retail. Jacquie Lewis first visited Steamboat in 1984 on a skiing vacation, moving here permanently from Australia in 1991 and setting up an importing business.    While the two can't remember when they met for the first time, after years of friendship Bruce closed his biggest deal by planting his lips on hers after a movie at the Chief Plaza Theater. Five years later, they waited until all their family members were out of town before sneaking off to the courthouse to get married during their lunch break. A quick glass of champagne and phone calls to family and they were back at their respective offices by 3 p.m.    Jacquie's daughter and business partner, Jules, says "finally, they found their true soul mates." Bruce and Jacquie, who enjoy their children, grandchildren and thriving businesses, are the first to agree, encouraging everyone to follotheir motto, "live every day fully and richly." "Captain" Bill Harned - The river defines him    Captain Bill (aka Bill Harned) lives by the "work hard, play hard" adage. After retiring from working as an electrician for 35 years, during which time he wired the Steamboat Grand, it's fitting that his play comes on a conductive medium: rivers.    With all four of his brothers, and even his dad (known as Captain Seaweed), licensed boat captains, it's no surprise he carries the "captain" moniker also. Only for him, the title applies to rivers instead of the waters of his Long Island roots. Moving here in 1972, he estimates hehas been down the Yampa and Gates of Lodore more than 100 times. "I came out for skiing, and stayed for the rivers," he says, adding that before permits he ran the Yampa and Green 11 times in a single year. "Come mud season, I went to Dinosaur."    He shared his oaring passion with his kids, Alicia and Billy, and admits that even his 11-year-old grandson, Makiya, is a river rat. While you might find the 62-year-old behind the wheel of his canary-yelloCoup Deville Cadillac or at his favorite table at the 8th Street Steakhouse, come summer he's behind the oars of his 18-foot Avon Super Sport, complete with pirate flag flying high.    And don't think it's whitewater that has turned his hair white. He's one of the best in the business. "The quality of boatmen in Steamboat is some of the best in the country," he says. "I've been boating with the same people for over 30 years and we haven't killed each other yet, so that's a good sign."Todd Fellows - Not quite ready for Hollywood    Many people recognize Todd Fellows, 39, as the radio voice of Ski Haus and from his often-goofy cameos on the retailer's TV ads (a recent one shows him wrapped in duct-tape before venturing in to buy negear). And that's fine with him; he's happy to promote both his workplace and the town he loves.     While he says his most memorable ad was for Ski Haus's "Get off the Couch" campaign, for which he and colleague Murray Selleck lugged a sofa to different recreation venues around town and watched people ride, ski or skateboard by, he admits his days on the silver screen are likely to stay in Steamboat Springs. "I don't think it will ever lead to Hollywood," says Todd, who moved here from Lakewood in 1988 and started at Ski Haus in 1991. "Murray writes me in as the fool."    An avid skier, mountain biker and motorcycle rider, Todd eschews competition for just getting after it. While kids Miles, 8, and Eloise, 10, have slowed him down a hair, he still enjoys long, epic rides and skiing powder as much as his knees allow. "I love Steamboat because you can see each season change before your eyes," he says. "And there are great activities to do in all of them."And all those lend themselves to promoting his employer however he can. As for his part as the fool, Murray says, "He's a natural in that role."Chris Johns - Wheeling and dealing    Chris wrestled with a name for his shop. As an expert-division mountain biker, he's raced cross country, downhill, dual slalom and trials. Off-road motorcycles, too. In short, the 42-year-old bachelor loves (and fixes) anything with two wheels so the one-word name "Wheels" best summarized his shop's any-bike approach.    Chris moved to Steamboat Springs from his native Massachusetts in 1985 to attend CMC, and he competed as a mogul skier and wrenched for local shops before opening Wheels in 1996. The loft overflows with vintage bike parts Chris uses to repair old rigs no bike is too quirky for his transformative touch. (Same with cars: he drives a lemon-yellow, 1972 Chevy with a push-button radio.) He helped launch Giving Bikes Back, a program that fixes up discarded bikes and donates them to needy residents. In its second year, it has helped 75 recipients, and counting. "It's my way of giving back to a community that's been like a family to me," Chris says.    Sure, he amasses his share of penalties on the hockey rink but off the ice, hisgoal is to make people happy, be it building townies for underprivileged kids or repairing front forks for adrenaline junkies. "For most of us as kids, our first taste of freedom was on a bike," Chris says. "That's what makes bikes so fun. With a bike, you think, NoI can roam.'"Billy Beauregard - Beetles, big houses and building a home    Billy Beauregard wears a mountain man beard and a grin that oozes Zen-like tranquility. He smoothes a remnant of sawdust off his trousers and ponders the upside of beetle kill: Colorado may have two million acres of dead trees but this longtime local revels in all things wood, and the beetles have landed him the Mother Lode. "The beetles are helping us," Billy says. "It's nice to not have to travel far for good local wood."    In the early 1970s, Billy's older brother, John, first lured him to Steamboat with asummer job. With inspiration coming from their dad a Detroit auto worker who collected fruit trees, aged the logs and milled them for furniture the Beauregard boys quickly earned notoriety (along with younger brother Mike) for their log work. When Billy moved here full-time 1976 his mission was to ski; he figures he stayed on because John bought him ski passes for his Christmas bonus.    As a budding sawyer between ski days, Billy learned reverence for standing deadfrom a Yampa sawmill that sold 1940s Flat Tops beetle kill. "I learned a lot from those old guys," he says. "It gave me a good example of what sawmills were all about and hoto treat wood in the process."    Over time, Billy started his own mill and crafted many special details into other people's structures, from hand-carved doors to round ridge poles and even the log cross in the front windows of the Steamboat Christian Center. Nohe's building his own log cabin in Stagecoach and all those elements are becoming part of the home that he'll settle into with Laurie, his nebride.    For Billy, nothing's more rewarding than seeing a log end up as a fine finished product. "I like it when people come in with a tree that they've grown up with that has died and then turning it into something special," he says. "I enjoy building for people that enjoy their house the biggest shame is seeing a big home sit empty."