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'I couldn't believe my luck': Inside the Broncos' surprise visit with first season-ticket member to renew for 2023


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Thirty-six seconds.

That's all it took for Rick Chadwick to renew his Broncos season tickets.

Chadwick, a season-ticket member who runs an ad agency in Erie, Colorado, simply intended to cross a task off his to-do list. When an email from the Broncos popped into his inbox, he clicked the link, allowed his credit card information to populate and submitted his payment.

"I forget stuff," Chadwick said in a recent interview. "I'm a business owner, and there's a lot of things on my plate. When that [email] came in, I was excited for the possibilities of this year. It sounds like with the new coach and everything, things look promising. I was excited about that, but it was mostly [that], I'll forget to pay this if I don't pay it right now. 

"… I wish that was highly reflective of my being on top of things. I got lucky."

At the moment, Chadwick didn't realize he was the first Broncos season-ticket member to renew his tickets for the 2023 season. He didn't think much, either, of the repeated calls he soon received from a Denver area code.

A few more days passed, and Denver's Director of Customer Service Glenn Hives reached out to Chadwick to offer him a season-ticket member gift. Chadwick declined.

"I don't need any gifts," Chadwick remembered telling Hives. "We're just happy to be season-ticket holders."

That's when Hives revealed that Chadwick was the first season-ticket member to renew, and Hives offered to drive north to Erie to congratulate Chadwick. When Chadwick opened the door of his business to greet Hives, though, he was also met by Miles the Mascot.

In place of the promised small gift, Chadwick received a Justin Simmons-signed helmet, Broncos gear and $500 in Broncos plus credit.

Chadwick bought his tickets more than 20 years ago after moving to Colorado. He spent about seven years on the waiting list before acquiring seats near the top row of Empower Field at Mile High. Chadwick remembered climbing the steps up to his seats with his mother, then in her mid-70s, to watch the Broncos play.

Over the last two decades — as he's slowly moved closer to the field in a section in which he's made friends over the seasons — he's seen his share of big moments. Champ Bailey ran toward Chadwick's side of the field as he raced down the sideline with an interception in a divisional round win over New England. Chadwick also watched as Tim Tebow ripped a slant to Demaryius Thomas, who took off for a game-winning score in 2012.

"It's been a marvelous time over the last 20 years, making progress little by little," Chadwick said. "I think we were in the 25th row in the upper deck when we started. I love the end-zone seats to see the plays develop."

As Chadwick moves closer to the field, he's also had to start over, in a sense. Chadwick was among more than 1,000 people who lost their homes in the 2021 Marshall Fire, and the most destructive fire in Colorado history also claimed Chadwick's extensive collection of Broncos gear.

"We lost everything," Chadwick said. "… We're doing as well as we can."

Chadwick has maintained a positive attitude despite the loss, saying that he's received a number of blessings in the months since the fire. Chadwick counts his first meeting with Hives among those blessings, as Hives gifted Chadwick new Broncos gear and provided him with funds to replenish his collection.

Nearly 15 months later, Chadwick said he again felt the Broncos' kindness "out of the blue."

"We had just a great half-hour visit," Chadwick said. "I couldn't believe my luck. … It was a very, very memorable thing."

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