Sweet charity | VailDaily.com

Sweet charity

Laura A. Ball
Special to the DailyCraig Turner and Bob Schmidt founderd the Cordillera Motorcycle Association seven years ago. Two years ago a turn of events made them realize there was more to life, and the association evolved into a nonprofit supporting local charities.

BEAVER CREEK – There are golf clubs and there are motorcycle clubs – and then there is the Cordillera Motorcycle Association.It’s not an oxymoron. They love golf and they love taking to the open road.”We started off as a bunch of guys playing golf,” said now full-time Vail resident Bob Schmidt, who founded the group with friend and part-time valley resident Craig Turner seven years ago. “We’d ride our bikes and we’d have a trailer full of golf clubs.””We thought it would be a great venue, which at that time was golf, motorcycles and fine dining, to get people together,” Turner said. “We do it a little differently than everyone else does it. Sometimes we’re in coats and ties and sometimes we’re just motorcycle riders.”What started out as a bunch of guys with second homes in the valley and loved golfing and taking road trips soon mushroomed into 120, including women, non-Cordillera members and even non-bikers. They began traveling to far-off places like South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, sometimes golfing, sometimes riding, and always enjoying the camaraderie and the finer things in life. After a “boy’s golfing trip” to Telluride two years ago, something happened and the men “decided there was even more to life,” Schmidt said. The association morphed once again, this time into a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for charities in the Vail Valley.”We challenged the winners to give 10 percent of their prize money to the valley’s junior golf league,” Schmidt said. “As it turns out, everyone gave all their prize money to the junior league and even those who don’t win even participated. Craig and I looked at each other and said, ‘Wow that was easy. Why don’t we start an organization?'”The tournament evolved into the Rider Cup Charity Golf Tournament and benefit auction held in 2004. The association’s initial goal was to raise $10,000. The event raised nearly $80,000. This year, the association hopes to triple that number.

“We decided, based on last year, if we wanted to help charities in the valley even more it would require two things that we didn’t do,” Schmidt said. “It would require an opening party – something a little more inclusive that anyone could go to, which is happening tonight. And number two, some form of entertainment event for the community.”In the Cordillera Motorcycle Association’s biggest fundraising event to date, country music legends Brooks & Dunn will perform an outdoor concert on the Beaver Creek Lawn on Thursday at 7 p.m. A dinner and silent/live auction precedes the concert tonight at 7 p.m. at Spruce Saddle in Beaver Creek. The event is open to the public, and tickets are still available. The events are made possible by the Beaver Creek Resort Company and Coors.”For us it was a win-win situation, not only to support local charities but to showcase world class entertainment in Beaver Creek, the likes which haven’t been seen in the Vail Valley,” said Tony O’Rourke, executive director of the Beaver Creek Resort Company. “We are certainly honored to be a partner with them and support local charities.”One hundred percent of the proceeds from the week’s events will benefit the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Cancer Caring House, Eagle River Youth Coalition, Habitat for Humanity, The Huega Center, Literacy Project, Vilar Center for the Arts and Youth Foundation.”It’s a perfect marriage of the movers and shakers that live in the Vail Valley giving back to the local community,” O’Rourke said. “They clearly have a strong affinity and passion for the community. I find it unique that a second homeowner would extend this kind of passion and charitable spirit to this valley.” “I think the underlying point is you have a tremendous amount of people with big hearts and they have been very fortunate in life,” Turner said. “They want to give back to the valley.”Laura Ball 7/26/05 this is one at a glance

Motorcycle affairCordillera Motorcycle Association Dinner/Auction7 p.m. todaySpruce Saddle in Beaver CreekLift opens at 5 p.m.Call 926-5588 for more informationA taste of the auction

SilentCollector Guitar Signed by Rock ‘n’ Roll Legend Steve CropperA One-year Cordillera MembershipSki Austria VacationRed Sky Golf Club Guest PassCoors Field Suite for a Colorado Rockies Home GameLiveBrooks and Dunn Autographed Harley Davidson

Out of Africa tripGolf and Fishing in the EvergladesFly and Stay at Hammock Beach2005 Wrangler Sport Unlimited JeepStaff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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