Don Gittleson could probably tell you anything about Steamboat you want to know, including how much it’s changed over the last half century.
Yes, Don is one of those rare few who can truly call himself a “Local.” His father, Don Gittleson Senior, owned Bob’s Conoco in
downtown Steamboat in the 1960’s, where Don began work as boy at the young age of seven. Changing tires and oil became second nature to him, and, when he was old enough (“about 16,” Don would say), he started driving wreckers for his father’s tow company, Don’s Towing.
Eventually Don Sr. sold the company to Ken Simpson, who started Sunshine Mountain Auto in the mid 1970’s, when Don was about 18 years old. He continued work for Sunshine until the company, in combination with Russell’s Auto Salon, was sold to Russell Drobney in 1988. And finally, in November of 1990, Don purchased the business with partners Phil Spahr and Terry Paulsen.
Gittleson runs the towing side of the business, along with his two sons, Dave and Lee. Don also runs a cattle operation in Craig and Steamboat, producing an impressive 40-50% Quality Certified Black Angus Beef (note: the National Average is only 7%!).
Don says he is rarely able to escape work (he says he likes it that way), whether Sunshine or his cattle business, but when he does, he enjoys fishing or a good Black Angus meal at the Ore House. His favorite fishing destination? Cordova, Alaska, where both freshwater and saltwater fishing abounds.
Bottom line: Whether you’re stuck in Steamboat snow and need a tow, or if you just need some good ol’ boy Steamboat stories (or both!), Don’s your guy.