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Substance-free tailgate creates community for Broncos fans

Former Bronco Montee Ball came to the tailgate to share his sobriety story
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Posted at 2:19 PM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-18 16:19:36-05

DENVER — Broncos fans in Denver got the chance to enjoy a different kind of tailgating Saturday night—substance-free.

The Phoenix on Champa and 22nd streets is a non-profit gym, offering those choosing to live a sober lifestyle a place to work out.

But on Saturday night, it was host to a Bronco’s watch party for those trying to have a good time without alcohol or drugs.

It's an idea Duke Rumely came up with over five years ago when he founded Sober A-F Entertainment, with the idea of bringing sober sections to music festivals, concerts, sporting events and tailgates.

“The biggest thing we're up against is this stigma of fun equals alcohol and we know that's not true. And we're out there proving it to people that, hey, they want to take a night off, we'll walk them through it,” said Rumely.

The Phoenix offered up its sober space for the tailgate, creating a community for those who want to enjoy the game in a safe atmosphere.

Vince Huseman, community engagement manager at The Phoenix, said early on in his sobriety he found himself avoiding tailgates and bars.

“I wanted to get back out to doing those things and around that time in my sobriety, that's actually when I found The Phoenix,” said Huseman.

The sober community caught the attention of former Bronco Montee Ball, who’s had his own journey to sobriety.

“As people know who's been following my story, I made a few mistakes. I'm in recovery myself, seven years from alcohol,” said Ball.

Ball lives in the Denver metro with his young son. He’s sharing his story to help others on their own journey.

“I always want to be a part of this community because, for me, I believe that the opposite of addiction is connection,” Ball said.

Ball shared he is starting a foundation in the new year to help Colorado teens who cannot afford substance abuse treatment.

Substance-free tailgate creates community for Broncos fans