ROCK SPRINGS – After the city of Rock Springs almost took the Bud Cup Hockey Tournament off the schedule permanently due to several problems that resulted in a visit from the Rock Springs Police Department, organizers appeared before the city council to ask for changes.
The city contemplated removing all alcohol from the event several years ago after reports of fighting, public intoxication and alcohol left throughout the Rock Springs Family Recreation Center. Bud Cup Organizers met with the Rock Springs Recreation Board to work out a way they could continue to have alcohol at the event. having the alcohol brings in money for the event.
Since then, the Bud Cup has followed these requirements with no problems reported. On Tuesday, organizers asked for a change from the Rock Springs City Council. Chad Moeller said he was approached by many of the players who would like to move away from the beer garden so they can sit with their families while having a beer. He said several people left after playing because they could not enjoy a beer while watching games with their family.
Mayor Carl Demshar replied, telling Moeller the city was very near to stopping the event altogether after the incidents.
“I still get a lot of complaints that we are allowing alcohol in the recreation center at all,” Demshar said.
Earlier, Moeller said they have more teams and players now than they ever have. Demshar pointed to this, telling Moeller if they are more successful now than they have been, the beer garden is not deterring people from the event. Demshar also said they are talking about changing a solution that is working.
“Once we let alcohol leave the garden, we are asking for trouble,” Demshar said.
While Demshar was not mayor during the trouble, he was the city council liaison to the Recreation Board. During the meeting, Demshar reminded the Bud Cup organizers that the Recreation Board worked very hard on working out a compromise. Park and Recreation Director Dave Lansang echoed this and said the council should include the board in this discussion because of the work they did on the original issues.
“Before I was mayor, I worked on a lot of boards and commissions,” Demshar followed. “It used to give me heartburn when we would send something to council, and they would reverse it.”
Councilman Rob Zotti also asked several questions, including a clarification that the Bud Cup was asking the council to allow people to get a beer at the garden and go into the stands and sit with their family.
He also clarified it would still be separate from the rest of the rec center and also separated from those who want to be away from alcohol.
Moeller said yes. Rock Springs Police Cmdr. Dwane Pacheco said to allow this to happen would defeat the purpose of the beer garden.
Zotti questioned how what they were requesting was different than what goes on at International Day, Brews and Blues and the Sweetwater County Fair and asked if the beer garden could be reversed.
Pacheco said the RSPD has taken several steps to change the way alcohol is handled at other events. Zotti said he understands that and has seen the steps taken but again asked Pacheco if it could be reversed.
“There is nothing that says it can’t happen?” Zotti asked.
Pacheco said it could be reversed.
The Bud Cup organizers decided to continue to work with the beer garden this year. They said they would go and work with the Recreation Board to see if a compromise could be made. The Council did approve malt beverage permits on March 14 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., March 15 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.and March 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.