1986: Artificial rock rolls Vail council | VailDaily.com

1986: Artificial rock rolls Vail council

VAIL – Governments buy the darndest things.

Mere moments after they’d come to their senses and decided not to spend a mountain of money on a massive sculpture that looked, to the untrained eye, like a giant oil drum suspended from a steel cable, Vail’s Powers That Be decided they needed to buy a big ol’ rock to decorate the four-way stop at the entrance to town.

It would cost $50,000, and it would be very pretty – a massive, sculpted stone, sort of. A real rock that size would weigh 250 tons. For a little perspective, a full grown blue whale weighs 150 tons and is way more interesting that a stylized rock.

But, the Vail town council simply had to have it, so they voted to buy it. The rock would welcome visitors and announce the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships, and be as warm and cuddly as a rock possibly could.

Well, some Vail locals pointed out that while Vail has more money than your average Third World cesspool, it’s still pretty silly-headed for a government in the Rockies to spend $50,000 on rocks.

The debate went international when the Associated Press picked up the story and distributed it world wide.

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Eventually, fiscal sense ruled the day and the Vail town council opts for simplicity at Vail’s entrance, at the four-way stop (where the Main Vail roundabout is today). The artificial rock is not part of the plan.

Instead, they went with something that naysayers say looked like a gargantuan gravestone.

Some people just cannot be pleased.

And speaking of money, amid howls of protest that they’re pricing themselves out of reach, in 1986 Vail Associates increased lift ticket prices to $30.

While we’re talking big, Matt’s Cafe owner Matt Martinez and several of his good buddies set a new world record for longest enchilada, which they made on the Vail Golf Course. The cheese enchilada measured 158 yards.

Martinez, a Texas native, said the enchilada is one-yard long for each year the Lone Star State is old. Texas celebrated its 150th birthday in 1986.

While we’re putting up big numbers, former Battle Mountain High School football star Jeff Campbell scored on a 39-yard touchdown run as the University of Colorado Buffaloes killed the national championship hopes of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 20-10.

And all was right with the world.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.