On October 10, 2010, three friends - Brian VanIwarden, Joanna McIntyre, and Chris McIntyre, came together in a leap of faith and formed Fremont Adventure Recreation. Between them, they had a shared passion for outdoor recreation and a plethora of other talents - race directing, internet communication, coaching, and event organization. Their first task was to assist with the burgeoning runBlossom races, which was gaining traction in its third year and needed to evolve. To assist in this endeavor, they needed money. Timing software, technical equipment, and course materials weren't cheap.
The board approached their first sponsor, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, with the hopes of acquiring the funds to get FAR off the ground. It was Larry Oddo who launched the organization with their first donation, making it possible for FAR to buy the generator that would power the timing equipment necessary for runBlossom. The board President's own mom, Shirley, even pitched in to buy FAR's first trailer, which you see today at races across the county.
Little by little, hard-earned money began stacking up in FAR's account, and they were able to add events to their calendar. They also welcomed new board members, each who brought invaluable talents to the small group. As their budget and capacity grew, they added new events. This included Bikes & Brews, their first truly independent event, in 2012. The annual runBlossom race now welcomes over 500 runners to Cañon City each year, and features the city's only half-marathon race. They time for the spectacular Rim to Rim every year, assist with the Whitewater Festival, and have added smaller events, such as movie nights, socials, kids and ladies' mountain bike clinics, and a scholarship program to their list of community contributions.
As outdoor recreation continued to grow in the Royal Gorge Region, FAR gradually recognized a need for quality trail systems in addition to events. Partnering with the BLM, Recreation District, and the City of Cañon City, FAR worked to raise funds (including putting forth money from races as well as hiring a grant writer) to identify, design, and develop additional trails in the area. It was the introduction of the '1% for Trails' initiative in 2015, however, which helped to launch FAR into the business of building significant, extensive, world-class trail systems. Putting their trust and faith in the organization, Whitewater Bar & Grill and Red Canyon Cycles were the first to sign on to the program and invest in the future of Cañon City. Today, the Hogbacks, the Royal Gorge Trail System, South Cañon Trails, and additional work in Oil Well Flats bear the mark of those first businesses, board members, and McCloud-wielding volunteers who made them possible. As additional businesses sign on, FAR is looking forward to helping the Royal Gorge Region community to expand their hiking, biking, and riding miles.
It's been six years, seventy-two board meetings, hundreds of hours at local events, several changes of tires on the trailer, and thousands of happy runners / bikers. As with any organization, there have been changes, tense moments, disappointments, and setbacks. Not every decision has been easy, and not every opportunity has been met with success. But if you smile when you ride the Cañon Rim Trail, if you enjoy a quiet stroll with your dog on in South Cañon, or if you high-five someone in a FAR t-shirt at the finish line of a local race...you'll know why they do what they do. Because they love it, too.
Thank you, Cañon City, for your faith in our organization, your many selfless volunteer hours, your contributions to our fundraising efforts, your patronage of the businesses who support us, and for your encouraging compliments. We hope to serve you for decades to come.