Getting to know … Steve Jones
Eagle resident Steve Jones, 69, has been around the valley since the 1970s. Jones was the original owner of Beaver Creek Stables; he recently sold the stables to look for a less physical job, but still loves his horses and talking about the old days. The Vail Trail recently talked with Jones about the early days of Vail and his experience here.
I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. I was in building material sales, and I sold concrete until I was 29, and then I moved out here, to make a long story short. I moved out here not knowing a hell of a lot about anything, I just ended up here. I moved out to Denver, and then I lost my job because of the recession (in 1969), and I got a job here. I was a kitchen steward, and little did I know that a kitchen steward is a dishwasher. So I did that for a week, and then I quit and became a maintenance man at the Vail Inn. From that, I did concrete in the summertime and then traded the concrete for a horse in a couple years.
The biggest difference is the people; people were younger and they were not affluent. We came here because of all kinds of reasons, a lot of us were lost, a lot of us were in our mid-20s, I would say. Kids came here because they were taking a break from college, they were just taking a break from life. And there were some skiers, too. … People wanted to be a local ” that’s the best I can explain it. People seemed to envy us that we were living here and skiing every day.
The Fords were great Vailites. … We would haul the Fords to tree lightings and to occasions. They never rode our horses as such, but their friends would ride our horses. Bill Clinton and Chelsea rode our horses one day and Cheney rode the horses at least one day. But the Fords melted into the community. They were part of the community, a good part of it … Where I met him first was I took a pony to his house for his grandkids to ride and we sat out on the curb and visited.
Amy Grant and Vince Gill. One time I picked them up on Christmas Eve ” or maybe it was the tree lighting ” and I picked them up in my buggy and he had a guitar and she sang to me all the way down. And she would bring me cookies, and her dad was a cancer doctor. That’s about the biggest.
It was a real business. There wasn’t too much romance to it, you know? We had contracts, we had lawyers, we had accountants. It was a small business, we had about 20 employees, but it was still a real business. We had to do a great job to retain the business and collect money … I had insurance and liability, all the crap you had to have with a business. But it was fine, and with my background I knew how to drive a truck and I knew how to go to a country club and eat with the right fork and things.
Two. Oh I like horses, yes. They’re dear friends ” they’re kind of like dogs or something. They’re wonderful. A good horse is a hell of a friend. I can tell you precisely the name of the horses that helped me create my business. We had Smoky when we started going to Beaver Lake, and I would be tired from working day and night to create this business. I would fall asleep on him coming home, leading the people home. He was just a good guy.
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