ImissNYpizza!, you're bemoaning cheddar's lack of NY style authenticity, but, at the same time, willing to use a screen? And you call yourself a New Yorker?
Seriously, though, launching a pizza can get pretty scary, but, with enough practice, it can easily be mastered. The nice thing about launching is that you can make an extra dough ball, stretch it, top it with a lb. of beans and practice launching it on the counter, over and over again. Launch, pull the pizza back on the peel, then repeat. Do this 30 times and you should have a pretty good feel for it.
Some ovens go to 500 and some will go to 550. If your oven only goes to 500, steel will not work for you. You need to confirm peak oven temp (the top temp on the dial) before shopping for steel.
A good peel goes a long way in making launching easier. This is the peel you want:http://www.wasserstrom.com/restaurant-supplies-equipment/Product_106935
It's light, thin, sturdy, and has a very gradual taper. Many peels are clunky and hard to work with. You should be able to get this locally for less than $20, but I don't know where to buy it in Denver.
Below are some good deals on an infrared thermometer. IR thermometers are generally cheap/made in China, but, for the most part, are rarely defective. One brand is generally not any better than another. I'm not including these models because they're the best, but because they're the cheapest. If you can find something cheaper, go for it.
For NY style temps:http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1-2-lcd-digital-infrared-thermometer-orange-black-123695?item=8
If you think you might ever get into Neapolitan pizza making and purchase/build your own wood fired oven, this model can handle dome temps in that environment:http://www.dealextreme.com/p/gm700-1-5-lcd-non-contact-infrared-thermometer-yellow-black-1-x-9v-104614?item=32
Proofing pans are a complicated subject. As a beginner, you want a pan with a clear bottom so you can watch the fermentation and judge when it's ready (and post photos here so we can help you judge). Volume is a pretty good indicator, but the underside of the dough tells you a lot as well. A good training proofing pan is the pyrex round 7 cup glass bowl.http://www.amazon.com/Pyrex-Storage-7-Cup-Round-Plastic/dp/B000LOWN3C/?tag=pizzamaking-20
It can't handle the size of dough ball required for a large 16"ish pie, but, since larger pies are harder to stretch and to launch, it's a good idea to start off smaller anyway. Once you dial in your dough and no longer need to look at the underside, then you can graduate up to something larger, like plastic proofing pans or trays.
Chau is the leading expert on NY style at elevation, so I would take a look at some of his posts. I believe he adds another 4% water to compensate for elevation on typical doughs.
No offense to Paul (Parallei), who makes some of the best NY style pies on the forum, but I don't think KASL belongs in NY style pizza. It's unbromated and a little too high on the protein scale. You can work around the protein level, and many members here do that successfully, but, ideally, you should be looking for one of the lower protein bromated flours that I mentioned.
If you can get Grande in smaller quantities (not a whole log), that's a huge advantage. Even I can't get that.
Here is the most most recent recipe:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20732.msg206639.html#msg206639
You'll need to use the dough calculator to scale it down to a smaller diameter.http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calculator.html
You'll also want to increase the thickness factor a tiny bit for easier stretchability- perhaps to .085. As you master stretching, though, you'll want to dial it back down to .075.
The most important aspect as you move forward is ascertaining your oven's peak dial temp. If it's 500, then it gets a lot more difficult.