The Salute American Veterans Rally Committee is proud to announce that the 2021 Veterans Rally and the POW / MIA Recognition Ride are returning to Teller County this August.
“The cancellation of last year’s rally was tough on us, both financially and emotionally,” said Ray McPeek, Rally Committee chairman. “We are excited about getting the Rally cranked up again, and we have nothing but praise for the City Council in Woodland Park for welcoming us into their community.
This year’s Rally will be a somewhat shorter, somewhat smaller version of what folks are used to seeing from Colorado’s largest annual motorcycle rally. “Due to logistical and economic issues on the heels of the worst year in recent memory, we have opted to run the Rally Friday afternoon and Saturday only,” said rally organizer and founder Jim Wear. “We have also eliminated a couple of features, including the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which we hope to have back next year.”
Wear and the Rally Committee are doing what they can to keep the Rally alive and hope to return to a full-scale three-day event in 2022. “Make no mistake, this year’s event will be an incredible tribute to our heroes, and folks will enjoy all the patriotism and camaraderie that they have come to expect from this event. “Wear said. “All of the usual fundraising activities in support of our local veterans will remain in place, including Red Friday, the silent auction, the POW/MIA Recognition Ride, and the collection during the mid-day remembrance ceremony. “Over the past 20 years, rally organizers have donated over $100,000 to local veterans in need and organizations which benefit veterans. “We prefer the homegrown efforts to the large corporate type charities. “Said McPeek, “Veterans 4 Veterans is one of our chosen beneficiaries as they help homeless veterans locally and are strictly a volunteer organization. “
Several important guests will join the Rally Saturday for the Remembrance Ceremony, including Ed Beck, World War II Prisoner of War held by the Germans, who cut the wire and made his escape to freedom during an allied attack. And Bill Roche, a B-17 waist gunner who survived TWO B-17 crash landings and was held captive by the Russians for nearly 2 months.
Live music, vendors, the traditional beer garden, and aircraft flyovers also highlight this unique event, which has become the largest gathering of veterans annually west of the Mississippi.
“The venue, ‘Memorial Park,’ is really beautiful and is suited perfectly for the ceremony, which is the centerpiece of the whole Rally,” said Wear. “The view of Pikes Peak and the surrounding landscape from the park is spectacular, and for those veterans and patriots who come each year in support of our heroes and each other, we are confident that everyone will enjoy the new digs.”
The Combat Hero Bike Build group returns to the Veterans Rally for the fifth year, with another presentation of a custom-built machine given over to a combat-wounded veteran free of charge. “The Combat Hero Bike Build crew are a dedicated bunch and do some great work, said McPeek.” We are honored that they continue to tout the Salute to American Veterans as their favorite event and a favorite venue for doing their great work.”
For the 34th year running, the annual POW-MIA Recognition Ride will thunder through the Rockies on Colorado’s POW/MIA Memorial Highway to Cripple Creek. While there will be no rally activities in Cripple Creek, the tradition of riding Colorado’s only POW Memorial Highway will continue. Many riders are expected to return to Woodland Park for the Remembrance Ceremony at 12:30.
For those Rally-goers who arrive Friday, support the Troops and get your FREE “Red Friday” T-shirt in Memorial Park beginning at 1 pm. The “Red Friday” shirt giveaway has become a Rally tradition over the past 15 years.
For more information on the 29th annual Salute to American Veterans Rally and the 34th annual POW-MIA Recognition Ride, visit www.theveteransrally.org.