What do you think you’d do with an aging 24-foot double-wheel travel trailer traded in for the latest, greatest model on the lot? Wreck it, I hear you say, but not Dave and Michelle Luce. Michelle saw something beautiful and functional in this old cast-off.
Their son, Donovan Luce, is a freshman at Rocky Mountain College and plays on the men’s soccer team. Dave and Michelle, who have watched just about every one of his games from age 8 through high school and club career, were gearing up for a different experience at college games—tailgating!
Instead, what they discovered was that college soccer has not taken up the tailgating tradition in any big way, if at all, and so at the first couple of games they attend it was a barren landscape, functional but just not socially appetizing. There was no sign of trailers and tents, barbecues and cook-outs, not even a refreshment kiosk.
And then, viola! Michelle spied the soon-to-be scrapped trailer on the lot of Dave’s car dealership, and in her mind’s eye she saw it, an epiphany around the tailgate vacuum: that trailer would become the Rocky Mountain College soccer game-day “Bear Den.” And with they would initiate, for the first time on the Rocky campus, a tailgate party.
But this was not to be just any run-of-the-mill trailer. No, not if you’re Michelle Luce. It was to be a luxury abode akin to the New York Hilton, the London Savoy, or Hotel Ares Paris. This was to be not just a place where at every home game players, families, fans and spectators could come and relax before and after the games, but a showcase of interior artistic design around the Rocky Mountain College Bears motif.
It was to be a place where, after a grueling game, exhausted players would be able to come and collapse on seats of gold and green, rest their heads on “RMC”-embroidered cushions. Even the bathroom seat and trash cans would be green and embellished with the RMC Bear’s head.
Absolutely no detail was left undone. In fact, many more were introduced once Michelle went into her creative mode, transforming the old and tired looking trailer into an unrecognizable luxury recreational abode for da Bears—RMC Hotel Ares on the Green.
Dave likewise took up the call to make the Bear Den a welcoming place for socializing before and after soccer games. They wanted a tailgate venue to match any other on campus; food, soft drinks, tacos, salsa, chips and cookies in abundance for all who love the atmosphere game day creates on college campuses.
Thanks to the generosity of Dave and Michelle, Rocky’s soccer venue promises to be a much livelier place than it has hitherto been: No longer would soccer games be the poor sister to Saturday football. And to strengthen their claim, they’ve found the loveliest spot on Rocky campus, the Rocky Green right at the side of the soccer field.
Stop by and take a look at what Rocky art professor Jim Baken calls a “moving work of art and design.” While you’re there, take in the top-notch women and men’s college soccer games. It’s a family atmosphere, and one that is guaranteed to keep building if Dave and Michelle have anything to do with it. I’m thinking, there soon could be cheerleaders and a marching band. So stay tuned for that.
Paul Roper is a professor in the Health and Human Development Department at Rocky Mountain College and a longtime soccer fan.