Girls of the West to stop and meet public in Bancroft Park when Range Ride comes up avenue June 17
The roughly 200 men and women on horseback will come up Colorado Avenue sometime after 8 a.m., when the breakfast is over.
On their way, for a special event at Bancroft Park, the riders will drop off two of their best-known people for a “Meet and Greet.” They are Rachel Braaten (Girl of the West) and Allison Mitchell (Aide to the Girl of the West).
According to a press release, “Starting at approximately 8:30 a.m., the Girls of the West will share some exciting details about the upcoming Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo [July 8-11 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center], answer questions and sign autographs.”
The get-together is free and open to the public. The goal is to enhance community outreach by the Range Ride, explained Katherine Toman, Range Ride spokesperson. She said there is no exact timetable for how long Braaten and Mitchell will stay in the park, and that it will depend on how many people come by. "They're kind of flexible on time," Toman said. "We may start a new tradition."
Coming up the avenue, the riders will be accompanied by a rolling police barricade on one side of the street, with a lane of traffic open either way on the other side. After Bancroft, the route will continue west to 31st Street, where the entourage will go right, then left on Pikes Peak Avenue to Columbia Road, which will take the group into the trails in the Garden of the Gods.
After riding for a while in the Garden, the Range Riders will find their way to the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site parking lot, where horse trailers will be waiting to load up and head out on their traditional multi-day ride/campout saga elsewhere in the state.
Dating back to the pre-TV era, the ride is a traditional way of promoting the annual rodeo by the Pikes Peak or Bust Foundation, whose proceeds go to a charity for military widows. More information is at pikespeakorbust.org.
In past years, after the breakfast, the riders would come west on Colorado Avenue, turn left at Eighth Street and cross Cimarron Street/Highway 24 en route to Norris-Penrose off Lower Gold Camp Road. But this year, with possible traffic impacts from the I-25/Cimarron interchange project, Range Ride President Dick Rackley asked Doug Smith, his trail director, for an alternate plan.
Smith suggested the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge trailering idea. “We've never ridden up into the Garden of the Gods on a Range Ride,” he said. “It's a treat for us. Even though most of us are natives, a chance to ride thru the Garden is pretty cool.”
The first time the Range Ride went through Old Colorado City was 2011, when the contingent continued up the avenue to 31st Street, turning left there and crossing the highway and up into Red Rock Canyon Open Space before coming back down to Norris-Penrose.
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