Sayre Park is a special place for many in Glenwood Springs, where basketball players young and old come to partake in the great tradition of pickup basketball.
And when the weather’s warm enough, it’s hard for anyone driving along Grand Avenue to miss this centralized spectacle of asphalt jump shots and crossovers.
It’s a scene crafted in large part by Glenwood Springs resident Mike Picore.
Over the past 23 years, Picore has devoted much of his time to essentially making Sayre Park into what it is today: A street ball mecca.
On April 3, Picore was nominated by local real estate agent Joy White to receive the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Dean Vogelaar Citizen of the Year award.
“He’s always looking to help people,” White said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, what language you speak, where you’re from, he is trying to find out how he can help you.”
Picore is originally 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.
By 1999, Picore moved to Garfield County, where he took a job with Bank of Colorado.
This was a time when Picore, then 24, found himself in social limbo. Not a lot of people living in Glenwood Springs were in their 20s, so it was tough to meet new people.
“I didn’t have anything to do, and I didn’t know anybody,” Picore said. “So every night after work, we would basically go to Sayre Park and play pickup basketball.”
It was there he’d meet and shoot hoops with Glenwood Springs locals Fred Heisel, Craig Amichaux, Mike Vidakovich, Scott Bolitho and Kevin Flohr. These local legends all had a hand in winning either the 1979 or 1984 state basketball championships as Glenwood Springs Demons.
“I know those guys were all kind of in that group,” Picore said. “I just know because I always had to listen to them to tell me about how good they were.”
It was also during this time Picore spearheaded 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 out at the park, and he started doing those HoopD’Ville tournaments – the three-on-three and four-on-four at Sayre Park, ”Vidakovich said. “I always had a team, and a lot of the old Glenwood players made a point of starting to come back each summer for those two tournaments.”
But what’s most pivotal about this moment in Glenwood Springs history is how the tournament would bifurcate into a major fundraising event. From sponsorships to schwag, Picore used his then-position with Bank of Colorado to gather significant donations amassed from the basketball tournament to local charity organizations.
Picore also started setting funds aside to get the courts at Sayre Park redone. Teaming up with people like former Glenwood Springs basketball players Cassandra Irving and Greg Rippy of Grand River Construction Co., Picore helped raise more than $ 100,000 to help revitalize Sayre Park.
“We’re super excited,” Picore said. “The city, once they OK’d it, they’ve been super awesome.”
Meanwhile, Picore has used philanthropic talents derived from his love of basketball to help fundraise 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, has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to give back to public schools. The fundraiser: 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 Hotel Colorado.
When Picore is not fundraising, he’s coaching his children – Hayden, Mason and Austin – in basketball. Picore is married to his wife, Kristi.
Picore has operated Bay Equity branches throughout the Roaring Fork and Colorado valleys.
For Vidakovich, Picore’s efforts throughout the years are invaluable to making Glenwood Springs the best community it can be.
“He’s always been such an even-keel type of person,” he said of Picore. “I’ve never seen Mike have a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He’s pretty unique. “
“I think Glenwood is lucky to have him around.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com