The Fruita Fat Tire Festival marks the official beginning to Colorado's mountain bike season. But mother nature is trying all she can to put a damper on this weekend's festivities.
The Fat Tire festival is a way for mountain bikers from all around to get together and celebrate what they love. "Been coming for about 4 years, it's on of my favorite events of the year," says Mike Wirth. "Best thing about the festival is the people, people come from all over the place," says Willy Warren.
It all started 16 years ago as a way to drive business and introduce people to the great mountain bike riding here in the Grand Valley. "It is catching on and growing like wildfire," says Timoni Slusher of Over The Edge Sports. It's so big that people come from all around the world to participate. "I've talked to people from Scotland, Australia, France and Canada," says Slusher. This is great news for local businesses. "It's one of the biggest weekends that they'll experience through the summer," says Fruita Chamber of Commerce manager, Mary Lou Wilson.
Local officials and businesses have been fielding calls all week in preparation for the event. "18 road, all the camping's taken, so we're calling Monument, Highline lake, Robb state park to see if we can get people in to camping, all the hotels are full," says Wilson. Aside from fielding calls for lodging, locals say the "second" most asked question was about the weather. "People are nervous, the phone is ringing off the hook, and you could almost answer, Fruita weather service," says Slusher.
Many people started showing up on Thursday to get a head start on setting up for Friday's kickoff to the three day festival. A little rain, snow or even hail couldn't keep the masses away. "No matter what the weather's doing we have a good time," says Warren. "Rain or shine we'll be out here for sure," says Wirth. Because even if they can't ride, they can still enjoy what the weekend's all about. "We just hang out, tell stories and meet new people," says Warren.