Being named Colorado’s largest motorcycle rally is quite an accomplishment. With the huge number of riders in this state, and the vast number of great rides, runs and rallies to choose from, it says a lot more about an event that boasts the largest attendance among its peers.
The annual Salute to American Veterans held each August in Cripple Creek is much more than just a bike rally. Over the past three decades, this event has become a pilgrimage for Veterans from all over the United States, and Cripple Creek has been called “sacred ground” for US Vets to gather, remember, respect and heal.
What began in the late 1980s as a small, grassroots effort to call attention to the plight of American POWs and MIAs has grown into a three-day festival complete with ceremonies, dedications, vendors, music and the display of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling WALL.
“We did not have any goal in mind, or any vision of the future of this event when we began” said Jim Wear, founder and organizer of the rally. “This is not contrived. The rally evolved organically. There was no master plan. The event has made its own path.”
The 2019 Veterans Rally will continue on it’s natural path, providing the opportunity for honored Veterans and loyal Patriots to gather together in the old-west mining town, rallying around the Stars and Stripes and igniting patriotism in all who attend.
The annual POW MIA Recognition Ride, the ride which spawned the Salute to American Veterans Rally, takes place Saturday morning, with thousands joining Colorado’s largest escorted procession of motorcycles. The Brotherhood of Veterans motorcycle club, the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders and the Colorado and Kansas American Legion Riders step up to help organize the effort annually.
Beneficiaries from this year’s event include the Vets4Vets organization (helping local homeless Veterans), The Pueblo POW/MIA Memorial effort and the scholarship fund for the child of fallen 10th SF Green Beret and Teller County resident Elliott Robbins.
The Veterans Rally will also play host to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling WALL as it has for the past 12 years, making the Veterans Rally the longest standing annual host for the traveling wall in Colorado.
For the third year in a row, the Combat Hero Bike Build organization returns to Cripple Creek and will present Sgt. J.J. Guerrero, a battle wounded double amputee Army / USMC Veteran with a new customized machine during the ceremony in Cripple Creek’s City Park.
“The Combat Hero Bike Build is an awesome project, and we support their efforts 100%.” Said Wear, “To take a wounded Veteran who can no longer ride and get them back in the wind accomplishes more than most people will ever understand. These Vets have many issues to contend with, and getting them on a bike not only brings back the feelings of freedom and independence, but it makes them feel “more normal” if you will… and that is something that goes beyond dollars and cents.”
The American Legion will be recognized for 100 years of service during the rally with a plaque dedication, guest speakers and a great history of the Legion being read during the ceremony.
Other features include FREE “Red Friday” T-shirts for the first 800 patriots, military static displays, Veterans parade, benefit silent auction, pancake breakfast, live music, aircraft flyovers, beer garden, vendor show, Friday poker run and much more.
“I’m sad to say that Patriotism is under attack by radical factions in this country,” said Wear. “America needs Patriotism now more than ever, and this event provides the opportunity for everyone who attends to express their love for our Flag, our Veterans and our Country. The camaraderie, honor and respect that the attendees of this rally have for each other is what makes it all happen. All we do is set the table… and our guests ignite the fires of patriotism that they then, hopefully, carry home with them when the weekend concludes.”
For more information, go to www.theveteransrally.org.