Bobby Julich Day was quite a night.With more than 75 people in attendance at the Buffalo Valley Inn Thursday night, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Bobby Julich made it loud and clear where he calls home."I'm from Glenwood Springs," Julich, a 1990 Glenwood Springs High School graduate, told a room full of family, friends, supporters and well-wishers. "When people say that I'm from Nice, France, or Philadelphia, I correct them and tell that I'm from Glenwood Springs. Glenwood Springs will always be my hometown."Some people even say I'm from Texas," Julich said. The statement was meant with a thunderous round of laughter. Julich was actually born in Texas and moved to Glenwood when he was an infant.With a video of the 2005 Paris-Nice race, which Julich won, playing at the back of the room, Buffalo Valley Inn owner Kurt Wigger proudly wore Julich's bronze medal around his neck as he greeted the crowd.
"Bobby used to work for me as a bus boy. It's really an exciting night to see a kid from Glenwood Springs do so well," he said.On Monday, Garfield County Commissioners proclaimed Nov. 17 as "Bobby Julich Day" in Garfield County and commissioner John Martin was on hand to make the proclamation presentation.Glenwood attorney and Julich family friend Walt Brown approached the county a while back about having a "Bobby Julich Day." He joked about the proclamation. "It's probably the only document that all three have ever signed," he said about the commission from two Republicans and one Democrat.Bobby's mother Bernadette Julich said Thursday night's celebration was about recognizing her son winning the bronze medal in the cycling time trial event at the Olympic games in Athens, Greece."This town has waited a year to do this," she said. "I am so proud of him."Julich, who stayed for more than two hours signing autographs for fans, said growing up in Glenwood Springs was a special time.
"Not bad for someone who never played high school sports," he said with a grin. "I grew up here, rode the roads around here. Glenwood is a very, very special place to me.""It doesn't mean anything without you," he said of his cycling success.Other career highlights for Julich include becoming the first-ever American to win the Paris-Nice and he is only one of three Americans to make the podium with a top-three finish at the Tour de France, joining seven-time winner Lance Armstrong and three-time winner Greg LeMond. Julich placed third in the race in 1998.Brown, who went to France this summer to watch Julich ride in the 2005 Tour de France said the experience was amazing. The cycling-savvy fans of France know who Julich is, Brown told the audience."When Bobby would ride by, they would cheer. When Lance Armstrong rode by they would clap. They respect Lance Armstrong, they love Bobby Julich," Brown said.
Julich rode for the CSC team at the 2005 Tour, helping support Ivan Basso to a second-place overall finish. Brown had the privilege of riding in the CSC team bus and car during the race.For Thursday night's event, Brown secured CSC Team jerseys, caps and other items to sell at cost, which fans snatched up and had Julich autograph.Julich thanked his father Robert Julich, and family members present at the event: Bernadette, sister Robin Julich, and his wife Angela and their 3-year-old daughter Olivia. Angela said the event was a fitting recognition for her husband."He's a hometown boy and I think everyone here really appreciates him. He has always been very proud of where he's from," she added.Glenwood orthopedic surgeon and cyclist Bob Derkash said the entire night was a perfect way to honor a bronze medallist."Bobby used to ski race with our son Justin. To see a guy who has worked so hard to get to the top of the heap is really impressive," Derkash said. "I think the fact that they named a day just for him is great. I am ecstatic," he added with a big smile.The event was part birthday party as well with Bobby turning 34 Friday. Bernadette's birthday is today but she elected not to reveal her age to the crowd.