In the Beginning...
In 1989, The New York Times printed a story with a chart highlighting the tremendous growth and the multi-millions of dollars Americans were spending to exercise in gyms and at home on the newly introduced stair-climbing machines. Introduced in 1983, The Stairmaster was adapted over time for homes, as well as gyms, and it was the amount of money being spent on these machines which showed them replacing in popularity the more traditional exercise equipment.
At that time, Cynthia Conroy, a recent resident of Bisbee, having resided in Florida, Colorado, and California, wandered to the southwest after her travels in Europe. In a moment of luck and inspiration, she read the article in the New York Times about stairclimbing machines. Americans were beginning to compete in 5K's and 10K's. Cynthia herself was not a runner but had spent six months walking and exploring the three miles of Bisbee stairs which were overgrown and neglected but led to fascinating homes and yards where you could glimpse the lifestyles of the inhabitants. When she read the article a little voice said "Bisbee has stairs! Let's design our own outdoor Stairmaster.". Some of the early promotional quotes included "the greatest fitness challenge in the USA", "the longest and highest Stairmaster", "the 5K that feels like a 10K". With help from dedicated runners, Denise Lundin, Vince Festa, webmaster Jim Pratt, creative branding by Lizann Michaud of Michaud Design, and architect Al Hopper, Bisbee 1000, the Great Stairclimb was created on paper, and in the hearts an minds of many volunteers and Board Members.
Incorporated in 1990, Cynthia founded the non-profit, Bisbee Vogue, Inc. (formerly Save our Stairs) to host the event. Per Articles of Incorporation: "The Corporation Shall also organize athletic events, educational events, and provide and support initiatives that support healthy, active living.".
Over time with growth, new board members, and the maturation through experience, the non-profit has a clearly mandated mission "to create, promote and support initiatives that enhance the economic vitality, health and wellnesss of citizens of Southern Arizona".