EAGLE — The Eagle County commissioners are true blue and orange Bronco believers, and they are backing it up in a Super Bowl bet with the county council in San Juan County, Washington.
The local commissioners are putting up all kinds of local products — Colorado beef, some local microbrew and others. The San Juan county council is countering with salmon, chocolate and hard cider from the Pacific Northwest coastal community.
The bet was Rick Hughes’ idea. He’s a member of the San Juan County council and lived in Vail for a year after college. He wanted to get a bet down and decided Eagle County was the place to do it.
You won’t be enjoying salmon, and the San Juan County council won’t be slow roasting the beef. The winner will auction off the prizes and donate the money to charity, said Jill Ryan, chairman of Eagle County’s board of county commissioners. As an extra point, the chairman from the losing state will wear the winner’s game jersey to run a full meeting next week after Sunday’s game.
Faith in Broncos
The local commissioners say they believe in the Broncos.
“We got pictures of everything so they know what’s being wagered, not that we think we’re going to have to actually send it,” Ryan said.
“I just want to say in advance, thank you to San Juan County for some delicious salmon,” said Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County commissioner.
The Eagle County commissioners declared that Friday is United In Orange Day at Eagle County. However, they said if you’re a Seahawks fan, then you’re free to wear your team’s colors.
A few minutes later, Adam Palmer, Eagle County’s environmental policy planner, flounced through the room wearing a Seahawks jersey and cap and extolling the glories of the Seahawks.
North by northwest
San Juan County is off Washington’s northwest coast, as far northwest as you can get in the U.S. They’re on four major islands, and around 127 total islands.
Hughes lives on Orcas Island, where his family has been since early in the past century. His daily commute is a 40-minute ferry ride from his home on Orcas Island to San Juan Island and Friday Harbor, Wash., the county seat and the only incorporated city in San Juan County. He’s in his second year on the San Juan County council.
“I’m a Seahawks fan from the mid-1970s, so when I have a chance to root against the Donkeys I’ll take advantage of it,” Hughes said laughing.
After he graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he migrated north to Vail and stayed for a year. He landed a job as a sales rep in Vail for KFMU, a solar and wind-powered radio station based in Steamboat Springs. That’s where he met filmmaker Warren Miller. He worked on a T-shirt project in Vail with Miller, who now lives on Orcas Island.
“I love Eagle County. Colorado and Washington are two similar states with urban centers and beautiful rural areas,” Hughes said. “San Juan’s economy is seasonal, like Eagle County’s, and there are many similarities,” Hughes said.
He pointed out the other most obvious similarity, that the two states are the first in the U.S. to legalize marijuana.
The local politicos’ bet isn’t likely to make much of a blip on the Super Bowl betting radar. In Nevada where gambling is legal, more bets are placed on the Super Bowl than any other sporting event. Last year, a record of nearly $99 million was bet in Nevada’s sports books. Of that, the books kept $7,206,460.
The sports betting industry is considered to be worth more than $400 billion globally, according to The New York Times. Nevada sports books take a 10 percent fee for each bet they handle.
In 2012, $3.45 billion was wagered in Nevada, and the books kept more than $170 million.
Denver is currently the 2 ½-point favorite even though oddsmakers opened with the Seahawks as a 2 ½-point favorite.
The Super Bowl kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. It’s being broadcast on the Fox network.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.