The Colorado state track meet is coming to Jeffco Stadium May 16 through 18, bringing along with it thousands of athletes, families and sports fans to the Lakewood area.
The stadium, located at 500 Kipling St., used to just host the 4A and 5A classifications over two days, but in 2009 it started hosting all classifications over a three-day period.
A total of 306 schoools will be represented at the meet.
“We decided to have all the classifications under one roof, not only because of efficency, but because these are the best of the best and we wanted them in one place,” said Ezra Paddock, manager of stadium operations. “There are a lot of small towns that come to see athletes compete from all over, especially since a lot of these communities don’t see many of the top-ranked athletes.”
Prior to being the manager of stadium operations, Paddock was the Jeffco Stadium manager, and has first-hand experience at the stadium at how crowded it becomes for the state meet.
According to Jenn Roberts-Uhlig, assistant commissioner with the Colorado High School Activities Association, more than 200 workers — many of them volunteers — are required to help put the event together and keep it running smoothly.
“Jeffco (Stadium) is a great venue, and everyone works really hard during the meet,” she said. “We have people helping with everything from the press box to referees — pretty much anything and everywhere. These people live for track.”
The athletes and families are not the only beneficiaries of the single location for the meet — nearby businesses, particularly hotels and restaurants, see an increase due to travelers.
The Hampton Inn, Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott are the “host hotels” for the event.
Hampton’s Denver West Federal Center and Golden locations and both the Residence Inn and Courtyard have special rates for teams and parents.
Neil Marciniak, economic development specialist with the city of Lakewood, said the city doesn’t keep specific track of any increases during the weekend, but one can assume that there is an uptick in food and lodging in the area.
“The location of the stadium and surrounding facilities really drive any extra visits businesses have,” he said.
Visitors really do come from all over the state, Paddock said, adding that there will be RVs with cars attached so families can go to some of their favorite restaurants that they get to visit once a year while they’re in the area.
“The community is really unbelievable and welcoming,” he said.
“It’s so encouraging to see how many people in the Lakewood and Jeffco sports community — many who don’t have any kids competing, but just want to watch — come together to support the event.”