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Birds of Prey Downhill: Marco Stomps the Beav

Marco Sullivan's fan club, decked in "Marco Rocks" T-shirts and hosting cook-offs, proms, and costume contests, celebrated in style at the annual Birds of Prey World Cup Downhill at Colorado's Beaver Creek over the weekend. Kelley McMillan reports from the grand stand.
posted: 12/08/2009
Marco Rocks
by Kelley McMillan

The Vonntourage has nothing on U.S. downhiller Marco Sullivan’s “Marco Rocks” posse. Rolling 50 deep at last weekend’s Birds of Prey races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Sully’s fan club was bugling, air-horning, and woo-wooting the U.S. Men’s Ski Team from the sidelines. Clad in green “Marco Rocks” hats and “Marco for Mayor” pins, they rallied the Grand Stand crowd with their war cry, “Marco stomps the Beave!” What started five years ago as a few family and friends making an annual trip to Colorado to cheer on Sullivan, a Squaw Valley-bred racer, has ballooned into the 5th annual Beaverfest, a full-fledged pilgrimage turned party that brings together Sully and Ski Team fans for a rowdy weekend of debauchery, killer food, and a circus-style cheering squad. All of this for a guy who is as renowned for his humble, gracious demeanor as for his ripping downhill skills.

Beaverfest is the brainchild of Sully’s sister, Chelsea Robinson, and her husband Trevor, Jackson Hole locals who each year organize a motley crew of family, friends, and ski team supporters for the three-day throw down. With Chelsea at the helm, the weekend is a well-oiled machine featuring three condos, a roster of rotating cooking and clean up crews, a schedule of events posted prominently on each abode’s fireplace, not to mention an ample supply of PBR. The weekend culminates Saturday after the downhill race with a theme party, awards ceremony and a “Marco’s Dinner” cook off, won this year by a mean spread of Mexican enchiladas. This years Beaverfestors included Johnny Mosely, Wren Miller (Bode’s sister) and Josh Transue, brother of U.S. Ski Teamer Jeremy “Worm” Transue.

With a World War I vintage bugle and a fella who paid extra to get his overweight suitcase of costumes on the plane to Colorado, the competition for this year’s Beaverfest MVP was fierce. The winner must best embody the following criteria: “Loves to share; caught laughing early and often; goes out of their way to help a fellow Beaverfestor; morning motivator; team player; high energy; tackles dishes like a superhero; embraces ski race culture; spins and sandwiches on the dance floor; brings others cocktails; mad try in the kitchen; lives in keep it real mode.” For his early morning bugle blasts, blond Afro wig, wicked dance moves, and non-stop enthusiasm (or should we say three-day bender?), Alaskan Keelan McNulty, a childhood friend of Sully’s, took home the prize.

Saturday evening topped off with the first annual Beaverfest prom. The dress code? “Your best prom gear, any decade.” With Rod Stewart look-alikes, ruffled party dresses and polyester pants galore, the Beaverfest prom was a scene straight out of Footloose. Shots down the ice luge and a double shot ski aside, the highlight of the party was when Jesse Shirley got down on one knee and proposed to former U.S. Ski Teamer Megan Ganong and she said yes.

And the one rule of the Beaver Fest? “What happens at Beaver Fest, stays at Beaver Fest.” As for the weekend’s salacious details, these lips are sealed. For full results from the Birds of Prey, click here.

Writer Kelley McMillan is covering the U.S. Ski Team for us during this Winter Olympic year. For other stories by Kelley, check out her report on the U.S. Ski Team Ball and Aspen's World Cup mustache contest.

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