Sendy Sauce looking to help Minturn Bike Park riders stay hydrated while sending it
Eagle business helping raise money for next phase of Minturn Bike Park
When Clay Vansteel checked out the Minturn Bike Park for the first time last year with his 13-year-old cousin, it took him back to being a kid.
“I was just dreaming if only I had something like this as a kid, access to anything like this that’s an escape — it would have been awesome,” Clay said. “I grew up in Detroit. It’s a lot different.”
Clay and Kali Vansteel started Sendy Sauce in 2019 out of their Eagle kitchen. While they haven’t taken a dollar out of the small business yet, they feel compelled to help out the next phase of the Minturn Bike Park. With $750 out of their own pockets, they are looking to raise $750 more to pay for the $1,500 water fountain that will keep kids hydrated while spending hours at the park this summer.
“Giving back is what we’re all about,” Clay said, adding that the fundraising effort could become a quarterly undertaking to benefit others in need across the valley.
The Vansteels have been working with Ernest Saeger, executive director of the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, a local organization with the mission of maintaining, educating, advocating for and building sustainable non-motorized soft surface trails while conserving the natural environment of Eagle County and public lands.
Clay said he’s seen so many other local businesses helping out, such as Sunrise Minturn, Ski Town All Stars and others. The Vansteels themselves already support Vail Valley Mountain Trail Alliance. They adopted a trail last year and enjoyed taking different friends out to clean up the trails.
The water fountain at the Minturn Bike Park will be a Nalgene refill station and is already designed, but awaiting the funding.
“Everybody’s going to be there to fill their water bottles,” Clay said of the need of the fountain, adding he promises not to fill it with Sendy Sauce.
Sendy Sauce keeps on sending it
It’s been a fun ride for the Vansteels with Sendy Sauce, a hot sauce they created from an unused food processor that was a wedding gift collecting dust in their Eagle kitchen. Their friends and family enjoyed the sauce so much, they decided to make the Sendy Sauce brand and have since shipped to all 50 states, as well as being available in many local and regional businesses, including fly-fishing shops, bikes stores, liquor stores, outdoor gear rental shops, restaurants and others that fit the mountain lifestyle.
Sendy Sauce was voted Best Locally Made Product in the Vail Daily’s annual Best Of voting in 2020 and is also nominated for the Best Emerging Business of the Year by the Vail Valley Partnership. Last year, it finished second in the Partnership’s New Business of the Year to Eagle Climbing and Fitness — which happens to also carry Sendy Sauce. The sauce is popular among locals, and excites drivers on the road who come across the Sendy Sauce branded van, carrying all of the precious goods. But it’s also gained a following outside of the valley.
From Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to a heliskiing company in Alaska, Sendy Sauce is being regularly shipped across the country. A man with the last name Sender orders regularly to keep his four bike shops in Arizona stocked with Sendy Sauce. A grocery store in Whitefish, Montana, is also carrying it.
Despite its reach and popularity among mountain towns, Clay said he is working on opening it up to other areas of the country. They’ve gone from collecting 50 gallons of the product from Denver each trip (they eventually outgrew their kitchen) to now 250 gallons.
As Sendy Sauce continues its quest for condiment greatness while also giving back to the local community along the way, the co-owners are still enjoying the product they first made for themselves as major hot sauce fans.
“Oh ya,” Clay said when asked if he still eats it on most meals. “Have you tried the green one?”
For more information about Sendy Sauce and to donate to its fundraising campaign to help the Minturn Bike Park, visit sendysauce.com. For more information about the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, visit http://www.vvmta.org.