In October 1990 the first annual Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb, with 200 participants, happened. The nonprofit Bisbee Vogue Inc. (BVI) over the next 33 years evolved from presenting one legacy event per year to building recreational places and spaces that promote health-wellness programs, and economic vitality for southern Arizona
Beginning in 1989, when stair climbing was still only an indoor health event held in famous high-rise buildings, BVI was founded by Cynthia Conroy to hold the "Greatest Fitness Challenge in the USA" named Bisbee 1000 The Great Stairclimb. The first event held in 1991, "always the third weekend in October," had 200 participants, half from Bisbee and half from Sierra Vista. This was a time when running 5Ks was becoming a popular pastime in the United States. In Cochise County a run would attract approximately 30-50 people, and that is still true to this day. The Bisbee 1000, promoted as "a 5K that feels like a 10K", for its first 10 years was embraced by young and old alike. By the sixth annual Bisbee 1000 in 1996, there were 650 participants, 10% were from Bisbee, 30% were from Sierra Vista, and the remaining were from the rest of the state of Arizona. By the 20th annual in 2010 Bisbee 1000 registered 2,100 participants: 2% from the City of Bisbee, 35% from Sierra Vista, 60% from cities throughout Arizona and 3% from outside the state. In 2012, the event won the Governor's Tourism Award for Best Special Event-Rural. Beginning in 2013 Bisbee 1000 allowed only 1500 participants ranging in age from 7 to 87. Ten percent come from out of state and the remainder are comprised of participants from other Arizona communities. The Bisbee 1000 remains a state calendared event, is an economic driver for the city, and sells out months in advance.
One of the most iconic fitness-challenges in the country — with a 4.3-mile course crisscrossing century-old staircases and streets in the historic mining town of Old Bisbee — was purchased in July 2023 from Bisbee Vogue, Inc. by Wick Communications. The family-owned media company, whose flagship newspaper is the Herald/Review, owns more than two dozen newspapers in 13 states along with dozens of specialty publications, websites and other digital media. It will take over operating the Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb in 2024.
“Bisbee 1000’s infrastructure aligns with what our company is about,” Wick Communications CEO Francis Wick stated. “We were one of the founding sponsors of Bisbee 1000 and have always been a strong supporter of the event. Owning the stair climb provides us with an opportunity to continue serving our community and also helps us grow our footprint as a company. We’ve been involved with many large events so they aren’t foreign to us, though this specific one is new.”
Bisbee Vogue, Inc. is well-positioned to continue and advance the responsibility of community building. With a 33 year legacy of service, including the 2013 partnership with Amerind Foundation, at the request of Robert Wick, Founder of Wick Communications, to create an event which would attract new interest to the sacred grounds preserved by the Amerind Foundation on whose Board he served. Bisbee Vogue, Inc., Cynthia Conroy, and staff member Stephanie Peavy, spent weeks designing the course and helped produce the first Texas Canyon Trail Run, now in its eleventh year.
The Board of BVI will continue advancing equally exciting, promotional, and collaborative initiatives for Southern Arizona. Most of these initiatives will advance "recreation as re-creation" with a focus on having all ages participate together in diverse activities that promote individual and community health. As well as being fun, our intent is to always encourage more people to be involved in more tasks.