Meet the Don King of offseason in Aspen |

Meet the Don King of offseason in Aspen

Michael Cleverly

I can tell it’s offseason by what the local papers consider to be front page news lately. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have noticed that things are a little slow.

It’s possible that offseason may be the only thing about Aspen that hasn’t changed for the worse over the years; it’s just as slow now as it was when there were dirt roads downtown and no stoplights. This is a good thing in most ways, unless you’re stuck here and your brain is beginning to resemble the stuff that’s being exposed by the melting snow.

Personally, this year I couldn’t afford to go somewhere where I could lay in the sun and jump in the water … I’m talking about gas money to get me to the Glenwood pool. That’s OK; I doubt if you can either. So here I am trying to fight off the old ennui.

While laying around ruminating and enjoying our latest spring blizzard, I reflected back to many years ago when I was a starter for the town downhill. I got the gig through a neighbor buddy. I had no background in racing so I really wasn’t qualified, but for some reason back then the downhill was run by different people than ran the rest of the town race series and I got offered the job. D.R.C. Brown was head ski company dude and we didn’t know how good we had it. If memory serves, for every day I worked the race I got a lift ticket for that day, a bag lunch and three more tickets. I think the event took up three days so it actually paid for my weekend skiing for more than a month. I took the job, qualified or not.

They’re still racing up on the mountain all these years later, because Aspen’s still a jock town. In summer there’s something for just about everyone too, but at this time of year, escape is the sport of choice and if you’re not somewhere else you’re pretty much screwed.

Something should be done and I’m feeling kind of civic-minded, so here’s my plan: a town cagefighting league. I think it’ll be just the thing to shake off the winter blahs. People who are still here are pissed off anyway, so it seems to me that cagefighting would be a pleasant, socially acceptable way to vent.

Woody Creek gentleman rancher and famous philanthropist George Stranahan has graciously consented to be cagefighting commissioner, so we’ll have plenty of credibility from the get-go. I’m willing to carve enough time out of my busy schedule to act as CFO. Entry fees and ticket proceeds will go directly to me. Checks can be made out to moi and left at the front office of this paper, the sooner the better.

I’m thinking the venerable Wheeler Opera House would be a perfect venue, way out-classing those usual cagefighting dumps with its Victorian elegance and intimacy. Since we’re more or less a public service, I expect the usual fees will be waved by the city. I think an office for the CFO in the Red Brick would be nice too.

Considering the dearth of options for entertainment this time of year, I don’t believe there’ll be a problem packing the house, but I’m thinking theme nights would be a good way to stir up enthusiasm.

We could have a bicyclist vs. motorist night. This would obviously be an extremely violent and bloody event and probably not for the younger crowd. Opponents could be drawn at random or we could set up grudge matches. Then we could have a landlord vs. tenant evening of mayhem. Aspen landlords could raise rents and serve eviction papers just before fight time, while tenants could be shown live videos of their belongings being thrown out onto the street. This should result in a lot of excitement all the way around. Of course lawyers and realtors who are landlords would get top billing and I expect brisk sales of souvenir videos showing them getting their comeuppance. A city council/county commissioners vs. developers card could clear the air around here a bit, and maybe save taxpayers a few bucks on referendums. I wouldn’t mind at all if some of those savings were kicked back to you know who. Then we could have a Red Mountain vs. Starwood evening, with Leona Helmsley-type matrons screeching away to establish some sort of pecking order and the ultimate superiority of one tony enclave over the other.

Finally, what I think would be our most popular event, a “realtors vs. the rest of the valley” night. I’m pretty sure that just about everyone over the age of 5 would want a piece of this one. Due to the extreme volume of paperwork involved, entry fees and the price of tickets will have to be doubled.

So there you have it, offseason won’t have to be a visit to the doldrums anymore. If none of these specialty nights are exactly your cup of tea don’t worry, we can tailor one to suit just you. How about an “extended stay houseguest” night?

Stay tuned for my new Don King haircut.