The 2016 Wright Awards – Something Independent

The business community is pretty solid up here in Colorado’s mountain town communities. We have strong corporate representation in the Tourism Industry, Oil, Mining & Gas Companies and the Agricultural field, keeping many employed. A rising trend that has been pushing boundaries is the region’s Startup Businesses. Incredible business ideas are coming to fruition and becoming a reality for many mountain town visionaries.

The 2016 Wright Awards are proving that the Colorado Rocky Mountain region is no longer an area ruled by T-Shirt shops and Real Estate offices. For the past five year Something Independent, a progressive Denver-based company that cultivates business opportunities and entrepreneurism, asks the business community to submit nominations for their annual Wright Award. The criteria? A successful Colorado-based company displaying great leadership and commitment to their craft, who are shaping our economy while contributing to the Colorado lifestyle state brand.

The Wright judges look for leadership and some grit, they hear from the nominee’s peers to recognize their enterprising spirit. Each year’s class of contenders represent a cross-section of companies. Some big. Some small. Some new. Some established.

This year’s selection of nominees came out of 125 nominations and are primarily mountain town and west slope businesses. The selection, however, is rather diverse in what they do and the size of the companies; from an ice park in Ouray, to a music festival in Idaho Springs. to a teardrop trailer builder in Grand Junction. The nominees also include a couple of bigger more established companies too.

The Finalist will walk away with a $5000 Cash prize and the honorable distinction of being a Wright Award winner. Last year’s 2015 winner, The Whole Work’s – Kelly Alford, the company’s co-founder, revealed that “It (the award) marked a different moment in the trajectory of our company. We came feeling like the new kid on the block. We left feeling we were part of this community of businesses that was going to be a part of making Colorado an incredibly inspiring place to grow a business.”



Bonsai Design, Grand Junction

Creates world-class zip-line tours, canopy trekking parks,

and challenge courses for businesses big and small

around the world.

Ouray Ice Park, Ouray

The Ouray Ice Park is a human-made ice climbing venue

operated in a spectacular natural gorge within walking

distance of the City of Ouray, Colorado. It is home to

more than 200 named ice and mixed climbs. The Park and

its infrastructure are jointly owned and managed by the

City of Ouray, the nonprofit Ouray Ice Park, Inc. (OIPI), and

a mix of other private and public landowners.

BAC – Backcountry Access, Boulder

Are producers of Tracker avalanche beacons/transceivers,

Float avalanche airbags, avalanche shovels, avalanche

probes, Stash packs, BC Link two-way radios, Scepter ski

poles, and snow study tools.

Rapidgrass Bluegrass Festival, Idaho Springs

An annual music event centered around community

growth and development in Clear Creek. Rapidgrass

strives to empower personal and community growth of all

kinds by showcasing music talent and celebrating the

county’s exceptional local business.

Vintage Overland, Grand Junction

A family-run business crafting high-end, vintage-inspired

teardrop caravan trailers, that are light-weight yet solid

enough to tow behind almost any car and into any terrain.

South Main, Buena Vista

A development company committed to building an

environmental, economic and socially sustainable

community by the shores of the Arkansas River in Buena


Borealis Fat Bike, Colorado Springs

Crafting world-class carbon fiber fat bikes known for their

performance; from the super light and strong, to the

affordable and highly praised.

Johnson Held, Englewood

Johnson & Held is Colorado’s premier manufacturer of

100% handcrafted custom designed belt buckles,

necklaces, pins, tie tacks, bola ties, badges, plaques, card

cases, letter openers and key chains.

Hala Gear, Steamboat Springs

Producing incredible Inflatable Standup Paddle Boards for

flat water, whitewater, river surfing and beach surfing.

Waste Farmers, Denver Delta

Waste Farmers is a next-generation, sustainable,

agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet

current and future food demands while decreasing

agriculture’s environmental footprint.

Big Agnes, Steamboat Springs

Producing a huge selection of technical tents, sleeping

bags, sleeping pads, and other camping and travel


Corbeaux Clothing, Aspen

A husband and wife team started the brand two years ago

as professional skiers living in Aspen, CO. They were

motivated to design their own high-performance apparel

and base layers after finding other technical wear was not

meeting their needs or standards.


Collectively, this group paints a pretty well-rounded picture of Colorado’s outdoor & lifestyle industries. All share a connection to the outdoors.

The final selection for the Award winner begins with The Wright Roundtable with Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, on Monday, October 17. That evening, past contenders return as alumni to see, meet and celebrate the new class of contenders.

On Tuesday, October 18, Award Night showcases all of the contenders to a very enthusiastic audience and panel of judges. The evening opens with crafted cocktails and hors’d’oeurves at the Space Gallery. A display area is open at that time allowing the contenders to showcase their business. A showing of individually produced videos from the contenders promoting their businesses is then presented to the attendees and judges.

Three finalists are then revealed. Once selected and called to the stage, finalists are faced with a live Q&A from a seven-person panel of judges. The judges will be asked to vote on the spot, determining the winner of The 2016 Wright.

~MTN Town Magazine

We are Colorado’s Mountain Town Magazine sending healing, joyful vibes to #NateStrong 











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