WYOMING Mountain Bike Camps History
Curt Gowdy State Park Mountain Bike Camps History
In 2012, Rich Vincent and Todd Thibodeau founded the Curt Gowdy Mountain Bike (MTB) Camps. Numerous factors brought the camps into being.
Todd was a senior manager with Wyoming State Parks (Parks). For many years he envisioned developing a trail system at Curt Gowdy State Park. In 2001, he received permission to start working on the project. Todd worked with IMBA to design a destination quality trail system with an emphasis on mountain bike instruction and improving skills and confidence on a bike. Trail construction began in 2006. Within a few years the trails were a national destination.
Rich has been active in the regional mountain bike scene for several years. In 2004 he reestablished the Laramie Enduro endurance MTB race and non-profit organization (NPO). Rich remained the president of the NPO for 12 years, managed the race 13 of its’ first 15 years, and remained a board member through 2019. In 2010, Rich founded the Laramie High School MTB Team. This was the first such team in Wyoming and an inaugural team in the Colorado High School Mountain Bike League. From 2014 through 2018, Rich developed and directed the Stone Temple 8, an 8-hour endurance race at Curt Gowdy. Todd was heavily involved in race planning and implementation, thus further cementing a cooperative friendship steeped in mountain biking.
Two years after the Laramie MTB Team was started, Todd founded the Cheyenne High School Mountain Bike Team, WyoX. At that time, Rich and Todd undertook the development and creation of a youth mountain bike camp at Curt Gowdy State Park. Todd had recently helped to start the Wyoming Kids Xtreme program at Parks. This program was developed to get kids engaged and excited about being outdoors, by creating youth-oriented events in the state parks. As part of the Wyoming Kids Xtreme program, Wyoming State Parks hosted the first Stone Temple Mountain Bike Camp. Rich and Todd acted as the camp directors and the camps were run through the Laramie Enduro NPO youth program. Several regional coaches and clubs were recruited to provide the volunteers. All work to develop the camps and all camp instructors/adult leaders were volunteer.
In 2012, we had 13 students attend the inaugural Stone Temple MTB Camp. Within two years there were over 50 students attending the Stone Temple Camp and another 70 students on the wait list…we needed to make upgrades and offer the camp top more students. Working with several female coaches and volunteers it was decided to create a girls’ only camp, run and directed exclusively by women. In 2015, Kate Rau, Executive Director of the Colorado High School Cycling League, and Cindy Dywan, Co-Head Coach of the Laramie HS MTB Team, were the directors of the first Granite Ridge Mountain Bike Camp.
Several students attended numerous camps over the years. Many students requested a camp for older kids with an emphasis on racing and advanced skills. Working with Andy Clark of Cyclismo Racing, in 2017, we started what would become the El Alto Race Camp.
In 2019, we again reevaluated the camps, and decided to split the Stone Temple coed camp into two camps by separating the younger students from the older students. The Rock N’ Roller Camp was born with a focus on students 12-15 years old and the Stone Temple Camp was modified to work with students 15-17 years old. Also in 2019, Wyoming Mountain Bike Camps, Inc. formed as a 501(c)3 NPO and the ownership and management of the four mountain bike camps was transferred to the new organization. Working with Jennifer Hess, the brainchild and inspiration behind the Rowdy Gowdy women’s camp, the Rowdy Gowdy MTB Camp officially became part of Wyoming Mountain Bikes, Inc. at the time the NPO formed. After a one-year hiatus in 2020, due to the impacts of Covid-19, all four youth camps and the Rowdy Gowdy returned strong. The organization has developed a solid board of dedicated individuals, to serve the students’ needs and improve what we have to offer. We’ve set ourselves up to continue to offer quality mountain bike instruction in a fun and safe camp atmosphere and hope that it last for a long time.