Leg Up Contest Winner Visits TellurideNovember 30, 2016
Inaugural “Leg Up” essay contest winner, Greg Bufalini, visited Telluride Sept. 9-11, 2016 for his grand Rocky Mountain Adventure using the prize BTKCrossover knee in a variety of outdoor sport activities.
Greg was an aspiring competitive downhill skier when diagnosed with cancer in 1985 causing the amputation of his left leg above the knee(AK). Greg continued to ski on one leg with outriggers(3 track) and soon would become a nationally ranked disabled skier.
BTKCrossover knee is designed by Brian Bartlett, a competitive mountain biker who became an AK amputee when struct by a car. This mechanical multi-sport knee allows activities from everyday walking to year around competitive sports with a few simple additions and adjustments.
Bufalini hails from San Jose, CA. and this was his first visit to Telluride. He was eager to try mountain biking, hiking and SUP using the BTK knee. He was accompanied by his friend, 2007 National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame, 2014 Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame inductee Greg Mannino, also a certified prosthetist living in nearby Montrose, CO. “I can’t express how great it was to be involved with the GoHawkeye crew and “Leg Up” contest winner Greg Bufalini. Greg is a long time friend of mine and having the opportunity to set up his new prosthetic knee and enjoy the amazing outdoor activities that Telluride has to offer was one of the high points of my prosthetic career.. to see Greg’s enthusiasm to “try it all” was really uplifting as a prosthetist and fellow amputee athlete.” Mannino wrote. The crew started referring to them as the 2 Gregs or affectionately Greg Squared.
After checking into the exceptional Hotel Madeline, the boys trekked over to the Bootdoctors to outfit with mountain bikes then went to Mountain Village’s free downhill bike park for some exciting laps while the crew had a couple of cameras at the ready.
The next day featured SUP at trout Lake on paddle boards provided by our friends at the Bootdoctors and after lunch, some hiking along the East Fork Trail at Lizard Head Pass on a beautiful afternoon. On Sunday, to top off a great weekend, we mountain biked a 15 mile route supported by Deb with the van.
Greg was really impressed with Telluride. He quickly became comfortable with the crew and his new surroundings while Greg Mannino, being on had to make adjustments to the knee, was very helpful. The challenging outdoor activities made the knee pass the test with flying colors. It was evident by Greg’s beaming smile over the weekend as he became comfortable with the knee.
GoHawkeye was lucky to work with local photographer and high school student Will James. He said, “Working with “Greg Squared” was such a success. The possibilities that these knees provide is so vast. From mountain biking and hiking to stand up paddle board, Greg was resilient to the challenge and excited about whatever we were doing. Especially during the cross country bike ride, Greg’s personality really shined with the beauty of the mountains as well as his ever present smile that made for great filming and was quite contagious. The GoHawkeye Foundation’s work is truly unique in it’s environment and follow through with those they help.”
This first “GoHawkeye experience” in Telluride was very inspiring for everyone involved. Our dear friend, Carol Keogh of ESI Ergonomic Solutions, donated the knee. Greg Bufalini has been in his local gym almost every day since the visit, preparing for skiing this winter. Greg Mannino joined the ship and has offered to set up the next knee giveaway while the rest of the GoHawkeye crew looks forward to bringing the next essay contest winner to Telluride for a truly unique, custom made experience.