Maloit Park site a hit as Kids Adventure Games returns to Eagle County

On Sunday, a group of children climb a rope wall to reach a slide and slide feature at Maloit Park. The kids climbed, ran and biked to the finish line for the Kids Adventure Games return to Eagle County over the weekend.
John LaConte/[email protected]

MINTURN – With stream crossings, mud pits and lots of steep sections, Maloit Park proved to be an effective arena for the 11th Annual Kids Adventure Games.

After running the first 10 years at Vail Village, organizers said it was good to know there were two good sites for the adventure game hometown in Vail.

After starting in the Vail area as a birthday party for Helene and Billy Mattison’s children, the event has grown into a nationwide tour, attracting 25,000 children in 10 years. But organizers were forced to cancel all competitions during the 2020 pandemic in what would have been year 11.

While planning for 2021, many venues were still not ready. A Desert Edition was held at Highline Lake State Park in western Colorado in June, and the Mattisons were unwilling to bequeath the birthplace of the event to Eagle County.

Crowd restrictions in Vail were still a possibility, so organizers looked for open land, outside of town but preferably always publicly maintained, that doesn’t see many people and is surrounded by stream water and slopes. steep.

It sounds like a tall order, but Maloit Park has it all, and 700 to 800 kids, along with their parents and grandparents, made it to the site this weekend. The activation also took place in the town of Vail with warm-up clinics and awards ceremonies.

Children use ropes to descend a steep hill at the Kids Adventure Games on Sunday. The event took place in Minturn for the first time in 12 years.
Jean La Conté

Soaked sprint

In a few days, Scout, Liam and Mattison, the twins whose original birthday party became the Kids Adventure Games – the freshman class of adventure games, you might say – will be leaving Eagle County for their early years of college in Oregon and Montana, respectively.

They both volunteered to work on the event on Friday. Scout took photos while Liam worked on the slide-and-slide feature, which was enhanced with scaffolding to lift the children off the ground in a smoother line to the water basin at the end of the lesson.

“This is the best feature,” he said, spraying the children with water on their descent. Some of the children he soaked were siblings of the children he was running with when he baptized the courses.

After the descent, more than 300 teams of two children aged 6 to 14 sprinted across a lawn towards the finish line in a giant inflatable horseshoe at one point over the weekend. All were soaked, many were holding hands.

Ethan Maines and Kane Morris of the 12-14 age divisions were the fastest of the weekend clocking 40:35.

“The venue was fabulous,” said Helene Mattison after the event.

Liam Mattison hoses a contestant on the slide and slide feature at the Children’s Adventure Games Sunday. The children’s adventure games took place in Minturn and Fruita this year.
John LaConte/[email protected]

Lots of cooperation

Mattison to secure Maloit Park cooperated with schools in Eagle County and the Town of Minturn, as well as the Town of Vail who also provided assistance.

“Both sites have their advantages,” Mattison said. “(Maloit Park) is wilder, and I think some parents liked it, but the energy in Vail is kind of fun, when everyone is running around and crossing the creek with all the spectators.”

The organizers will conduct surveys to see how all participants felt about the new site. Mattison said his group will also conduct a review with the Town of Vail Events Commission.

The Vail Recreation District also helped organize the event. Organizer Beth Pappas said the Maloit Park site requires less volunteer help.

“Maloit Park can be done with fewer volunteers,” Pappas said. “But it’s still a lot of work and collaboration.”

Nonetheless, “it’s still the best event,” she added. “Seeing the children helping each other throughout the lesson always puts a smile on your face. “

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