What a pleasure it was to be a part of such an inspiring event. As a member of the panel of judges this year, it was an honor to review the 11 contenders’ short brand videos and a considerable challenge to rank them against each other. For details on exactly what these awards are all about, see our previous post before the event.

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What I love most about the Wright Awards is the sense of camaraderie and community that is palpable in the Space Gallery as contenders, their supporters, event sponsors, and lifestyle industry professionals gather. Something Independent has a knack for bringing together passionate people and this event is no exception. From KOTA Longboards to Deerhammer Distillery, Tenkara USA to Osprey Packs, this was a well rounded and Colorado star-studded line up. Everyone attending this event was excited and humbled to be a part of it (including me). The three finalists were no exception: The Whole Works, ReActive Adaptations, and The Public Works represented the group extraordinarily well.

I shared my experience from last year with a few confidants, but now I’ll tell you all. As I drove to last year’s award ceremony not sure quite what I was getting myself into, my mind was riddled with negative thoughts. It had been a bad week for ad sales and a hard week for my overall morale. I was attending solo and knew nearly no one that was in attendance. Why was I even going to this thing again?

Then I arrived and realized what a saving grace this gathering could be. I met some amazing people, one of which I climb with weekly now (thanks Wright!). I was inspired and reinvigorated about our state and the passionate entrepreneurs that make it great. I left that first award night feeling the same way I do today. We are an industry of intelligent, driven people who are also, as a whole, kind and collaborative. A fellow judge even split his beer with me when my signals for a fresh can were too mild to attract attention during the ceremony. Thanks Luke, I owe you one.

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So what I really want to say in this wrap up is just how proud and excited I am about the future of our state and the outdoor lifestyle community. We’ve got something great going here and no where but up to climb together. Thanks to everyone who made the Wright Awards such a memorable experience and I hope to see even more of you at next year’s event.

Photo courtesy of Something Independent.

To see all the contender videos for yourself click here.