Community Profile: No time to take it easy – from basketball courts to Christmas lights and practice, Mike Picore is taking on a multitude of ways to give back to Glenwood Springs
Sayre Park is a special place for many in Glenwood Springs, where basketball players young and old come to participate in the great tradition of basketball.
And when the weather is warm enough, it’s hard for anyone driving down Grand Avenue to miss this centralized spectacle of asphalt jumps and crossovers.
It’s a stage designed largely by Glenwood Springs resident Mike Picore.
Over the past 23 years, Picore has devoted much of his time to making Sayre Park what it is today: a mecca for street ball.
On April 3, Picore was nominated by local realtor Joy White to receive the Dean Vogelaar Citizen of the Year award from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
“He’s always looking to help people,” White said. “No matter who you are, what language you speak, where you’re from, he tries to find out how he can help you.”
Picore is from Deadwood, South Dakota. He spent time living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, before his family moved to Worland, Wyoming in 1979.
In 1999 Picore moved to Garfield County, where he took a job with the Bank of Colorado.
It was a time when Picore, then 24, found himself in social limbo. Not many people living in Glenwood Springs were in their twenties, so it was hard to meet new people.
“I had nothing to do and I didn’t know anyone,” Picore said. “So every night after work we would basically go to Sayre Park and play basketball.”
It was there that he would meet and shoot hoops with Glenwood Springs locals Fred Heisel, Craig Amichaux, Mike Vidakovich, Scott Bolitho and Kevin Flohr. These local legends all helped win the 1979 or 1984 state basketball championships as the Glenwood Springs Demons.
“I know those guys were all part of that group,” Picore said. “I just know that because I always had to listen to them tell me how good they were.”
It was also during this time that Picore led an effort to host the first-ever HoopD’Ville basketball tournament. This 4 on 4 tournament now attracts players from all over Colorado.
“I first met Mike probably 20 years ago when he first moved here, and he played basketball in the park, and he started doing these HoopD’Ville tournaments – the three against three and four against four at Sayre Park,” Vidakovitch said. “I’ve always had a team, and a lot of former Glenwood players were keen to come back every summer for those two tournaments.”
But what is most crucial about this moment in Glenwood Springs history is how the tournament would turn into a major fundraising event. From sponsorships to schwag, Picore used his then position at the Bank of Colorado to raise large donations raised during the basketball tournament to local charities.
Picore also began setting aside funds to have the courts in Sayre Park redone. Teaming up with the likes of former Glenwood Springs basketball player Cassandra Irving and Grand River Construction Co.’s Greg Rippy, Picore has helped raise over $100,000 to help revitalize Sayre Park.
“We’re super excited,” Picore said. “The city, once they accepted, they were super awesome.”
During this time, Picore used philanthropic talents derived from his love of basketball to help raise funds for so many other projects around the Glenwood Springs community.
After establishing the Glenwood Springs Public Education Fund, Picore, with the help of so many others, helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to give back to public schools. Fundraising: Roaring Forks, Corks and Kegs.
In 2021, Picore also coordinated with the Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce to help create the Winter Wonderland event at the Colorado Hotel.
When Picore isn’t fundraising, he coaches his kids – Hayden, Mason, and Austin – in basketball. Picore is married to his wife, Kristi.
Picore operated Bay Equity branches in the Roaring Fork and Colorado valleys.
For Vidakovich, Picore’s efforts over the years are invaluable in making Glenwood Springs the best community it can be.
“He was always such a balanced type of person,” he said of Picore. “I’ve never seen Mike not have a positive attitude and a smile on his face. It is quite unique.
“I think Glenwood is lucky to have him around.”
Journalist Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or [email protected]