Hoof and pedal
Range Ride to amble through Old Town for 1st time
The annual Range Ride will clip-clop west on Colorado Avenue and through Old Colorado City Wednesday morning, June 22.
It's believed to be the first time in the 63-year history of the event that the Riders, whose purpose is to promote the annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, will have taken such a westerly route at the start of their five-day sojourn.
The estimated Old Town time of arrival - look for about 130 men and women on horseback, many of them dressed in western regalia - will be 8:45 to 9 a.m. In keeping with tradition, the Range Ride will have started at 8 a.m., after the annual Street Breakfast in downtown Colorado Springs.
A police escort will create a rolling barricade, keeping the avenue open but shutting two lanes of traffic as the mounted group moves along.
After passing through Old Town, the Riders will continue their parade up the avenue to 31st Street, where they will turn left, cross Highway 24 and proceed into Red Rock Canyon Open Space (from the trailhead a few hundred feet south of the highway).
Police will stop traffic on Highway 24 to allow the crossing at 31st Street.
“It's been my idea for a while,” said Range Rider President John Skalla of this year's route. “The more ruckus we can make going out of town, the better off we are.”
It's hard to predict how big a reception might await the group. The time is earlier than most stores open along the avenue, and nothing has been arranged with Old Colorado City's two commercial groups - the Historic District Merchants (HDM) and the Old Colorado City Associates.
However, that doesn't mean the pass-through isn't appreciated, noted HDM director Bernideen Canfield. “We're just glad they're going to come through the area. We were excited when we heard they were coming through. Any activity that happens here we're glad for.”
Skalla said he first started thinking about the Old Colorado City possibility some years ago, based on a suggestion from a Ride supporter. Ride director Doug Smith added that part of the thinking was that Old Colorado City used to see the Range Riders at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but when that annual event moved downtown in 2007, “Old Colorado City was shoved by the wayside,” he said.
However, until Red Rock Canyon got more developed with trails in recent years, there was no place for the Riders to go after passing through the Westside, he pointed out.
What they will be able to do this year is take trails from 31st Street to the upper (south) end of Red Rock Canyon, through the Bear Creek Park area and eventually down to the Norris-Penrose Event Center off Lower Gold Camp Road. There, the Riders will trailer their steeds for transport to Victor, where they're scheduled for a parade that afternoon.
Smith said he's done some checking on past Range Rides, but found none before that went through Old Colorado City.
For the last several years, the group has ridden west after the Street Breakfast as far as Eighth Street, then south on Eighth and on to Norris-Penrose.
The Range Ride lasts five days in all, and this year will be based from a private ranch in the Pikes Peak area, according to Price.
The 71st annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo will be July 13-16 in the Norris-Penrose stadium. The event raises money for local military charities.
Westside Pioneer article