Love what you do: Vail Rec District’s Beth Pappas
May 29, 2011
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – As Beth Pappas sees it, she’s in the business of fun.
As the Vail Recreation District’s sports event and sponsorship manager, Pappas is the woman who heads up the valley’s popular Riverfront Club at the Westin Vail/Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Series and the La Sportiva Trail Running Race Series – both events draw hundreds of local enthusiasts at each race.
When mountain bikers show up for their races, they aren’t wondering if the start and finish lines are set up or whether the prizes and raffles are organized.
When trail runners arrive for the Vail running series, they don’t wonder if there will be race numbers to pin on. That’s thanks to the work of Pappas and the crew at the Recreation District – and Pappas said it’s a job that she loves.
“I’m almost embarrassed to tell people that I really love my job,” she said. “I get to be in a very fun environment, being out at the bike races and running races. Doing something that makes other people happy is really gratifying.”
Pappas is at the helm of the local mountain bike series for the third summer and is responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that the participants usually don’t think twice about.
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For Pappas, the races begin way before race day.
“Race day can definitely be stressful,” Pappas admits. “It can feel like four days in one. There’s staging the start and finish areas, then there’s the actual race, which comes with its own set of challenges. Once everyone crosses the finish line I run to the car and go to the after party and talk into a mic for 30 minutes.”
Pappas said that seeing a race successfully completed is gratifying and worth the trouble.
“The way I see it, we’re adding to people’s lives with these races, and giving them a positive outlet for their energy,” she said. “Also, these are things that people are passionate about, so it’s great to be around that.”
Since Pappas has been race director, the mountain bike races have grown tremendously, with a 39 percent increase in adult participants and 115 percent increase in the youth races. The race series itself has grown, with the Boneyard Brawl race in Eagle added last season.
While Pappas has always been an avid mountain biker and outdoors enthusiast, this is the first job she’s had that involved sports event planning. In the past, she’s worked in public relations for Copper Mountain as well as an ad agency in Denver.
However, it’s at this job at the Recreation District that has really allowed her to combine her love for the outdoors, her work skills, and get her connected to a community. In addition to the mountain bike and running races, Pappas also works with sponsors and helps run youth summer camps, summer rec leagues and other summer events in Vail.
“When people say, ‘Thank you, that was a great race,’ and when you see how happy everyone is after the race – that’s what I most look forward to this season,” she said.