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Launch a campaign for Sunlight’s Mini-Mayor contest

The Mini-Mayor campaign process is a fun and educational experience for local children

By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Sunlight Mountain Resort
Colby Rogers, left, got some help with her Mini-Mayor campaign from her little brother, Kelby.
Colby Rogers, left, got some help with her Mini-Mayor campaign from her little brother, Kelby.
Launch your 2020 Mini-Mayor campaign

Tell Sunlight Mountain Resort why you want to be Sunlight’s next Mini-Mayor and what you would do during your first 100 days in office.

Sunlight Mountain Resort’s Mini-Mayor candidates and their adult campaign managers should complete an online nomination form and personal profile at mini-mayor.com.

When then-5-year-old Colby Rogers ran for her first Sunlight Mountain Resort Mini-Mayor term, she had a vision: she wanted to see one of Sunlight’s charlifts painted a bright and cheerful shade of pink. 

It didn’t happen that year — these kinds of things take dedication and persistence — so when Colby ran for and won a second term a year later, she knew she had to work harder to see her idea come to fruition. 

Former Sunlight Mountain Resort Mini-Mayor Colby Rogers with her little brother, Kelby, as they participated in a parade to help drum up awareness of the Mini-Mayor contest.
Former Sunlight Mountain Resort Mini-Mayor Colby Rogers with her little brother, Kelby, as they participated in a parade to help drum up awareness of the Mini-Mayor contest.

She wrote a letter to the Sunlight Executive Team, on which she also held a seat thanks to her elected position. She was able to get the Pink Chair Act passed, which led to the first chair on the Sunlight beginner lift to be painted pink.

This type of drive and determination is exactly what Sunlight Mountain Resort wants to see from its 2020 Mini-Mayor candidates. More than 500,000 votes have been cast for Sunlight Mini-Mayor since its first election in 2016. The 2020 campaign kicks off Oct. 1 and voting begins Oct. 15 (see factbox for details). 

“We’re excited to partner with the Post Independent on our fifth annual Mini-Mayor Campaign,” said Troy Hawks, marketing and sales director at Sunlight. “This idea came at the suggestion of the candidates and campaign managers themselves.”

Mini-Mayor candidate Donavin Brager started paying more attention to the skier experience at Sunlight when he ran for office.
Mini-Mayor candidate Donavin Brager started paying more attention to the skier experience at Sunlight when he ran for office.

The origins of Sunlight’s Mini-Mayor

The bar was set high by the resort’s first appointed Mini-Mayor in 2015, then-4-year-old Elijah Mattson of Glenwood Springs. Elijah took to soap-boxing via Faecbook and Twitter for Sunlight to open early for the 2015-16 season, which led to creation of the Mini-Mayor office.

Officials at Sunlight said the new office helps ‘give voice to a previously underrepresented but essential segment of young powder hounds,’” according to the resort. 

“From day one our goal with this campaign was to better connect with our local and youngest skiers and riders, they are our future, and we can’t wait to get our incoming Mini-Mayor on our Executive Zoom call,” Hawks said.

Sam Brager said his son, Donavin, became more invested in the mountain during the course of his Mini-Mayor campaign. Donavin didn’t win last year, but he is running again in 2020.
Sam Brager said his son, Donavin, became more invested in the mountain during the course of his Mini-Mayor campaign. Donavin didn’t win last year, but he is running again in 2020.

Gaining valuable life experience

Colby’s mom, Jade Rogers, said campaigning and elected office taught Colby, now 8 years old, how to take the initiative to make a change in the world.

“She learned so much from this experience — public speaking, for sure, and just the ability to articulate what she wants,” Jade Rogers said. 

Donavin Brager, who turns 9 years old in October, ran for Mini-Mayor last year. He didn’t win, but he came away from the experience with some great life lessons learned. He’ll be launching another campaign to try again this year.

“It’s cool for the kids to get a first-hand experience of how a campaign works. You have to have a platform and come up with ideas of what you want to see changed,” said Donavin’s dad, Sam Brager. 

The candidates record videos to post to social media, and they do interviews on-camera to talk about their platform. Sam Brager said he helped his son understand the process wasn’t necessarily about winning. 

“It was great that he got to express his ideas — if anything, not winning made him more driven to run again this year,” Sam Brager said. 

Colby Rogers succeeded in getting a chairlift at Sunlight Mountain Resort painted pink, one of her goals as Mini-Mayor.
Colby Rogers succeeded in getting a chairlift at Sunlight Mountain Resort painted pink, one of her goals as Mini-Mayor.

Becoming more invested in Sunlight

One of the proudest moments of the campaign for Sam Brager was watching the evolution of Donavin’s love for the mountain. 

“We’d be on the chairlift and he’d say, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to have a little run through there, dad?’ Sam Brager said. “His ideas were just blowing up every time we were up there. I saw him become more invested in the mountain — this whole experience just creates a greater love for the mountain.”

Support a good cause

Another goal of Colby’s during her tenure was to get her favorite food, spaghetti, onto the menu at Sunlight. The kitchen manager agreed to put it on the Sunday menu for $10, and some of the proceeds also went to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

Colby said her advice for 2020 Mini-Mayor candidates is to work toward getting sliders added to the menu. 

Former Mini-Mayor Colby Rogers rides her pink chairlift at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Mini-Mayor candidates are encouraged to come up with ideas for how, if elected, they’d improve the experience at Sunlight.
Former Mini-Mayor Colby Rogers rides her pink chairlift at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Mini-Mayor candidates are encouraged to come up with ideas for how, if elected, they’d improve the experience at Sunlight.

Think creatively

Donavin also had food on his mind during the 2019-20 campaign. He envisioned “walking tacos,” a taco built into an open Frito bag, kind of like Frito pie, with proceeds also supporting a good cause (Donavin is passionate about raising money to help pets get adopted). 

He plans to make the walking tacos part of his campaign again this year, and he wants to get the no. 14 chairlift, his favorite number, painted his favorite color green. 

“I love that this experience has helped him recognize the things that he likes about the mountain experience, and the things he would change if he were in charge,” Sam Brager said. “He has a list of ideas going for his 2020 campaign.”


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