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New Castle supports Olympic skier

John Gardner
Glenwood correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Special photoAlice McKennis
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NEW CASTLE, Colorado – The New Castle community is proud of Alice McKennis.

The 20-year-old New Castle native is heading to her first Olympic appearance at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where she will compete in downhill skiing.

Her selection to the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has New Castle residents like Ham DuBois very excited for the Olympics this year.

“It’s pretty awesome,” DuBois said. “She is a New Castle gal, and we are proud of what she has done.”

So, to show McKennis that her hometown is behind her, DuBois came up with the idea of having as many New Castle residents sign a 21⁄2-by-6-foot banner that reads “Congratulations Alice McKennis” in support of her accomplishment.

“It’s just a way of recognizing her for what she has done,” DuBois said.

DuBois recruited the help of local graphic designer Elyse Hutchinson to design the banner. Hutchinson has been onboard since the word “go” and shares DuBois’ enthusiasm for supporting the local Olympic athlete.

“He is completely right,” Hutchinson said. “How often does a New Castleite get to compete in the Olympics?”

DuBois, who is president of Innermountain Distributing in New Castle, said that he ordered three banners in all. One will be hung at the Innermountain Distributing Office on County Road 335 in honor of McKennis, while the other two will be at the New Castle branch of Alpine Bank. One will be hung at the bank in her honor, and the other will be available for people to sign.

“We’re going to let people sign that one and then we’ll shoot it to her before her race,” DuBois said.

Timing makes it a little difficult, DuBois said, because McKennis races on Wednesday, Feb. 17. And it will take a couple of days to deliver the banner, so he needs to send it out no later than Friday.

DuBois hopes that the banner will be available for signatures starting Wednesday afternoon at Alpine Bank in New Castle. From there, DuBois said that the plan is for the banner to make its way over to New Castle Family Fitness in the evening hours, after the bank closes for the day.

The banner will return to the Alpine Bank location Thursday morning for the day. Then, it’s going to be shipped off for overnight delivery to McKennis in Vancouver before she races on the 17th.

With a little more than one day to collect signature, DuBois is hoping to get as many people to sign the banner as possible.

“I’m definitely hoping that a lot of people come out and sign it,” DuBois said.

Leslie Morse with Alpine Bank said that they are hoping to see a lot of people in the next couple of days.

“Absolutely,” she said. “Everybody that wants to sign it to show her support can come in and sign it. They don’t even have to know her.”

And DuBois said that the banner campaign was a good way to really show McKennis that the town is behind her.

“Whether she medals or not, she is a local hero in our minds,” DuBois said.

The town of New Castle is also considering a proclamation for an official Alice McKennis Day, according to Town Administrator Andy Barton.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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