MotherLode, Ruggerfest events boost Aspen business

An update on the history of The MotherLode Volleyball Classic: The MotherLode began as a 14-team “volleyball tournament” and barbecue, held in Wagner Park. Wagner Park has always been the focal point of the event; showcasing the excitement of the tournament for spectators and visitors roaming around the Aspen mall area.

Its proximity to the mall has allowed for the participants to easily go to lunch at various restaurants during their breaks from competition; to more easily shop before, during and after their daily competitions and to provide mall visitors with the excitement and entertainment of those competing in Aspen’s primary, downtown park.

The only time that the tourney had not been held in Wagner Park, in its 47-year history, was when the park was being re-sod and redeveloped. Granted, the Food & Wine Classic is an important event, but to allow it to usurp other longstanding, traditional events such as The MotherLode and Ruggerfest would be a travesty — breaking tradition with not just one, but two of Aspen’s favorite free events.

Instead of having some exciting and entertaining programs going on, for locals and visitors alike in Wagner Park, you will have a “construction site” for everyone to see during one of Aspen’s busiest weekends. Although the Food & Wine Classic brings a certain economic level to Aspen, with its participants attending high-priced wine-maker dinners and shopping at the high-end retail establishments, The ‘Lode and Ruggerfest bring participants who will eat at the more economical establishments and will shop at the sporting goods stores and other more economical venues, a very important part of Aspen’s economy.

Pushing those participants out of Wagner Park will decrease the activity in the city during the day during those events. Hopefully, the city of Aspen and the producers of Food & Wine will figure out a way to keep those events on Wagner Park during their regularly scheduled, traditional, competitions.

Leon Fell


Editor’s note: The organizers of Food & Wine Classic in Aspen have announced Sept. 10-12 as the dates for the annual event, which traditionally has been held in June.