One of the best potlucks you could ever have the pleasure of enjoying with 3600 of your closest friends and neighbors:
One of the best potlucks you could ever have the pleasure of enjoying with 3600 of your closest friends and neighbors:
The Madams of Central Colorado arrived in Buena Vista last night for the opening sold-out show of the 2017 summer season. This show, in its 11th year, was written by cast member Kathi Perry as an educational and historical theatrical production. Each character is based upon a true life painted lady who lived and worked in the Upper Arkansas Valley at a time when there was a shortage of women.
Belle Brown, portrayed by Carrie Carey, had one of the most popular parlour houses in Buena Vista early in its history. She bottled her own beer and sold it to her patrons at 500% her cost. She would dress up her girls in their finery and take a buggy ride down the middle of street, as a form of advertisement, of course. Belle’s business declined and she left town soon after she staged the brawl that damaged Cockeyed Liz’s eye.
Lizzie Spurgeon, also known as Cockeyed Liz and portrayed by Kathi Perry, arrived in town in her silk & satin and everyone knew who she was when she stepped off of the train. She opened her house, The Palace of Joy, and enjoyed a successful career in the profession until she married one of her customers. She was married for over 30 years and when she passed away, no church in town would hold her service so her beloved Alphonse held her service under the tree in the front yard of the Palace.
Laura Evens, as portrayed by Renee Graner, arrived in Denver with her one year old daughter Lucille after fleeing an unhappy marriage. She soon realized that she didn’t know the first thing about taking care of a baby and with no money, job or skills, she chose to “turn out” to pay for her daughter’s care & upbringing. Laura moved on to Leadville before settling in Salida where she opened her own parlour house. Ms. Laura had the longest running house in Colorado and finally shut her doors in 1950.
Lillian Powers, as portrayed by Bonnie Schwam, was a good friend of Ms. Laura. Ms. Laura had asked Lillian to work in her parlour house, however, Lillian was a crib girl and wished to remain in Ms. Laura’s cribs. Lillian eventually moved to Florence and opened her own house where she was soon Florence’s most famous madam. Lillian chose the life of a fallen angel rather than remain in her first profession as a school teacher.
Silverheels Jessie, as portrayed by Morgan Mahala, worked in Ms. Laura’s parlour house in Salida. Jessie had the highest regard for Ms. Laura and the way she ran her house. At one point, during the influenza epidemic, Ms. Laura closed her house down and sent her girls out into the community to act as nurses. Silverheels Jessie ended up at the home of a local baptist minister who had tried for years to close Ms. Laura down. After she nursed his wife back to health he offered her a job as his wife’s companion. Silverheels Jessie turned him down and returned back to the parlour house to continue her life as a bride of the multitude.
Laverne, as portrayed by Whitney Tidwell, was also a parlour house girl in Ms. Laura’s house. Not a lot is known about Laverne before or after her life as a soiled dove, but she too enjoyed and loved working for Ms. Laura. She and Silverheels Jessie enjoyed a competitive rivalry for both Ms. Laura’s attention as well as those of their “friends”. She likes to tell the audience what it was really like living and working in a parlour house, without offending those with tender sensibilities.
The Professor, as portrayed by Teresa Roorda, pleases and entertains the crowd with her musical skills. Cockeyed Liz was progressive for her time and employed The Professor, a woman, as musical entertainment for her gentlemen callers. It was well known to the madams that music could hasten the turnover of clients.
If you missed last night’s show, (July 8, 2017) the ladies will be back in Buena Vista on August 12th, as well as September 9th. They will then be off to Pueblo to perform for the Medal of Honor Recipients before taking the “cat wagon” to Lamar to set up their tent at the historical encampment.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~John Wayne
Courage doesn’t mean a person has no fear. It means that in spite of your fear, you are able to move forward and do what must be done. In the case of a rodeo clown, or bullfighter as they prefer to be called, his job is mostly fun and games but there comes a time when he takes a deep breath, swallows hard, and moves forward to put himself between a nasty, mean bull and the rider he deliberately threw off his back. His job is to make sure that the cowboy is able to exit the arena safe and sound and that takes courage.
It takes a little bit of courage, or sometimes even a lot, for each of the rodeo participants to do take part in a dangerous sport which could end their career in 8 second or less. If it were easy, wouldn’t we all be riding a bucking horse?!? Which is exactly is why you will see me in the stands rather than the shoots, sharing in the triumphs, disappointments, and tragedies of the cowboys and cowgirls at the 96th annual Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo in Buena Vista on June 10-11, 2017.
This year marks the 96th consecutive year for Buena Vista’s rodeo. It began as a celebration in the fall after the lettuce harvest was over. The townspeople got together to have riding and roping contests and to celebrate their good fortune. They were “BuenaKist”!
If you don’t have boots and a cowboy hat, tennis shoes and a ball cap are acceptable attire for a rodeo. See ‘ya all there!
If you are planning a trip to Buena Vista, Colorado any time in the near future, you’ll appreciate a Spring/Summer Schedule of Events. Naturally, there will be more to add, so please check the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center website for additions or updates: BV Chamber Website
They can also give you location, directions and even contact info. If they don’t have, they’ll find it for you! Call them at 719-395-6612.
The year was 1949 in Leadville, Colorado. Two rapscallion friends, Tom Schroeder and Mugs Ossman, conspired to create a new and unusual racing event, which was to take place during their winter Crystal Carnival. One suggestion was to up the ante by combining the pedestrian sport of skiing with a galloping horse. They met at the Ossman ranch for a trial run in knee deep snow, and Ski Joring in Leadville was born (Leadville breaks it up into two words, not one).
What is Ski Joring? It is a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps, and rings. The skier is timed through the course where penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps and by missing or dropping any of the rings (2 seconds per ring). Teams are made up by a random draw before the start of the race, competing for a cash prize. Ski Joring in Leadville is always the first full weekend in March.
It’s unclear where skijoring originated, however, it is believed that it began as a means of winter travel. It has evolved into a competitive sport and was even a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Skijoring today can be found in a couple of small mountain towns, after all they can’t practice this in Texas! It is a melding of two cultures, the redneck cowboy and the outdoor, high altitude athlete.
Leadville begins their 2 day prep by gathering fresh snow by the dump truck load. One hundred and twenty to be exact! They create a track right down Harrison Ave, or Highway 24 on the map, which is the length of 2 1/2 football fields. The course consists of a couple of jumps and the capture of 6 hanging rings with a jousting stick. It might sound easy, but the skier is being pulled 35-40 mph behind a 1000 pound horse and a lot can go wrong in the 16-18 second run.
Why would a skier and/or cowboy do this? Because it is an adrenaline junkies sport, of course!
LEADVILLE SKI JORING 2017
Change is inevitable. We know it. We often don’t like it. You can’t always stop it. Buena Vista has been going through major changes ever since I moved here 16 years ago. Before the name Buena Vista was decided upon for this little mountain town, it had a couple of different names. I know of two, Mahonville and Cottonwood. I’m sure the buzz created by choosing a new name caused great anxiety for the locals, especially the Mahons.
If you are Spanish speaking, or even have minimal knowledge of Spanish, you will most assuredly cringe at the correct pronunciation of the name. You would, however, be mis-pronouncing it if you use proper Spanish.
Alsina Dearheimer, a local, whose first language was German, who did not speak Spanish, chose the name Buena Vista. The emphasis is on the “u”. It took me a few years to embrace the correct pronunciation. You can always tell the locals from the tourists…you can also tell when a local is firmly entrenched in this community as they embrace and love the correct pronunciation.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by John Duesler, Jr., of Emerging Sports TV regarding life in Buena Vista, or BV as the locals call it, last summer. John was hired on behalf of CBS sports to provide an endorsing promo of our little town. I had the honor of taking him and his cameraman by horseback (with a pack horse, of course) to the bluff overlooking BV. My voice is the first one heard on promo: Built by a force of nature. That pretty much sums it all up….literally and figuratively!
Come visit us some time!
I’m not done yet posting about Christmas Opening in Buena Vista, Colorado, USA….it’s just that special! We are fortunate enough to have not one but 2 parades go through town on this day (the first Saturday of December each year). I have heard several locals pose the question “why two parades?” Well, there is a very good explanation. The first, The Equine Parade, delivers Santa in town for all the young boys and girls. He invites all the local children to bring their wish list and sit on his lap. Photos are usually included too. Once he has visited with all the little children, The Parade of Lights ferries him to the Community Tree where he lights the tree before moving on to the next town awaiting his presence.
This is my fourth year as the chairperson for Christmas Opening in Buena Vista, Colorado. I don’t meant to go on and on about it in my blog, but it truly is an event dear to my heart. I think about it, conspire and plan all year. I may be the only one! I have fond memories of Christmas on the Square in Belleville, Kansas, my hometown. I never dreamed that I would have such a big role in creating some of those same memories for the families in my now-hometown of Buena Vista, Colorado, but I hope that those who come year after year, or visit for the first time have the same warm and fuzzy memories.
Of course, things change here from year to year, but all in all, I think that we have created a tradition for our town that is rich in history and traditions. Some things change every year, such as the different events around town, but then some things remain the same. Santa will still arrive in town by wagon once again, and leave town in the fire truck. The steadfast and popular Chocolate Walk and the Chili Cookoff will be back for another appearance this year too. Of course the participants are forever changing.
Since I took on this project, I have wanted to see a Community Tree and last year the BV Beautification Board brought in a real tree. They petitioned the Town of Buena Vista to purchase an artificial tree that will go up at the Optimist Splash Park each year hereafter. It’s a great way to end the day which is fraught with excitement and expectations. The fire truck will stop just so Santa can get off and flip the switch to turn on the the tree lights which will take us through the holiday season.
We have had several twists and turns to navigate, but as we are coming down to the final hours, it is exciting to see it all come together. New this year, Reach Air Medical Services will start the Parade of Lights with the helicopter flying the parade route. Way to go Buena Vista – start the Christmas Season out right!
Tradition, folklore, and chocolate…..that is what Christmas Opening in Buena Vista, Colorado is all about. You can expect to consume some yummy chocolate on the first Saturday of December. Every. year. You can also plan on Santa arriving in town by wagon in the equine parade. No matter the weather during the day, you can expect the Parade of Lights to be a chilly but entertaining affair. This is a small town, home town event, that even tends to draws folks from the front range because this is what memories are made of. The local businesses depend on this day to end the year successfully and the locals depend on this event to create memories with their children, family and friends. You can always expect to see Santa and probably a little bit (or lot) of chocolate, but no promises beyond that. You’ll have to just come visit and see (again, the first Saturday of December) what we have planned. This is the Spirit of Christmas and we love and believe in Buena Vista…..
Loving on Santa Claus
Santa arrives in Buena Vista by wagon….of course!
Parade of Lights Delivered Santa to Light the Community Tree
Santa Brought a Wagon Full of Little Elves When He Arrived in Town