I have met a lot of remarkable people in my life, but right now I stand in awe of Dean Gary, founder and organizer of Freedom Fest, an event that celebrates the men and women who serve in our country’s military forces.[Read more…] about Freedom Fest: Behind the Scenes
The SALUTE TO AMERICAN VETERANS RALLY, Colorado’s largest motorcycle rally, returns to Cripple Creek, August 17th – 19th. The members of the Rally Committee invite all Veterans, their Families, American Patriots and the general public to attend this awesome event – whether on 2 or 4 wheels.
A few of the “NOT to MISS” Rally features include
The 2 VETERAN REMEMBRANCE CEREMONIES, The first is the 31st annual POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony in Cripple Creek’s City Park at noon on Saturday. This is the centerpiece of Salute to American Veterans Rally and everyone is encouraged to attend, features this year include a special salute to the US ARMY 4th INFANTRY DIVISION, the presentation of a custom-built motorcycle by the COMBAT HERO BIKE BUILD Guest speakers, dedications and much more.
The second will take place Sunday at 1:00 pm at Cripple Creek’s War on Terror Memorial on the west end of town near the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. At this important service, the names of the servicemen from the local area who were killed in action over the past 12 months will be added to the Memorial.
WIN A 2018 HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROAD KING MOTORCYCLE! The bike will be given away at 4:00 pm on Sunday at Century Casino (at the corner of 2nd & Bennett).
The indoor Veterans memorial tribute display inside the Cripple Creek Park & Rec building, right on Bennett Ave. just across from the Fire Station.
Get your FREE RED FRIDAY T-SHIRT at the Rally on Friday while they last. Show your support for our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and th
e National Guard by wearing Red every Friday from now till they come home. These shirts are given away ONE PER-PERSON. If you want more, a donation will be accepted and used to help local Veterans in need.
The SILENT AUCTION to benefit the Vets 4 Vets: Up for grabs will be an awesome DAVID UHL PAINTING titled “ACKNOWLEDGED”. This piece is valued at over $850.00. We also have an awesome one-of-a-kind HANDMADE QUILT, and a 3-piece set of commemorative bottles of Jack Daniels single barrel Bourbon.
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial WALL will be on display 24/7 from Thursday thru Sunday at the Cripple Creek High School Football Field. This is one feature of this year’s Rally that you will not want to miss.
The 31st ANNUAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION RIDE will stage at the Woodland Park High School on Saturday morning. What has become “Colorado’s largest procession of motorcycles” will roll through the mountains under police escort and arrive in style to the cheering supporters at the Rally. This will be the 6th ANNIVERSARY RIDE of the “POW-MIA MEMORIAL HIGHWAY”
OFFICIAL VETERANS RALLY MERCHANDISE will be on sale at 2 locations in Cripple Creek. The main merchandise booth at the corner of Bennett and 2nd Street will be open Friday afternoon and through the weekend. The second location between 4th and 5th Street on the east end of town will be open on Saturday only.
The 26th ANNUAL VETERANS PARADE happens Saturday morning and proceeds down Bennett Avenue westbound starting at 5th Street. Dozens of military, civic and civilian organizations participate including the Colorado Shriners, American EX-POW’s, Car Clubs, Fire & Police Departments and motorcycle clubs make this a fun and patriotic parade. The parade kicks off at approximately 10:00 am.
The Official Beer Garden located at the corner of Second Street and Bennett Avenue. This is the “Freedom” Beer Garden sponsored by Century Casino. You can hear live music Saturday and Sunday plus enjoy ice-cold Miller and Coors products.
For more information on the Salute to American Veterans Rally go to www.theveteransrally.org
By Joanna Fuchs
The Mile-High Chapter 3-1 of Combat Vets Association would like to invite you to attend their 13th annual All Patriots Run. The ride starts at the American Legion #178, 1655 Simms St., Lakewood, CO 80215. This is the chapter’s largest annual fund-raising event. The bikes will be parked after a day of riding and the brotherhood will continue with food, drink, auctions, door prizes and raffles. Staging is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., so come check out the CVMA Mile High Chapter 3-1 and wish the members and participants a safe ride. Check out the Chapter 3-1’s website https://www.cvma3-1.org/ for more information on this and other Colorado events.
The Mile-High Chapter 3-1 of CVMA sponsors or attends events throughout Colorado. The most recent event was the Veterans-4-Veterans fundraiser, where money was raised for the Redistribution Center, Inc./Warrior Warehouse. The ride began at the Mile-High Harley Davidson of Parker and took off from there.
We invite all riders to come and get to know your local chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA). Our members believe in the mission and they’re focused on sponsoring and participating in as many motorcycle-related charity events as possible. And, as a non-profit organization, ride proceeds are donated to various local veteran care facilities and veteran charities. The organizations selected to receive the CVMA’s donations are dedicated to caring for brothers and sisters in arms who have defended our country and our freedoms and now need our help. Indirectly through these organizations, and often directly as well, the CVMA provides a warm meal, clothing, homeless necessities, shelter, and guidance. Sometimes they simply make sure they’re at the right place at the right time to say, “Thank You” and “Welcome Home,” especially to our older veterans who deserve to be reminded that our country absolutely is still so thankful and proud.
The CVMA membership is comprised of those with verified combat service (full members) and those who have non-combat military service and have a sincere dedication to helping veterans (support members). Members of the CVMA come from nearly all 50 states and some live abroad. Many continue to serve in our Armed Forces, with several currently serving in combat areas. Spouses of full members can join the auxiliary. Auxiliary members ride along (sometimes on their own bikes), attend to event logistics and planning, and have a fun time letting the CVMA members have stress-free, breathtaking rides and spoken, or unspoken, comradery.
Getting back to the CVMA’s mission, it’s to serve and honor our military:
Let’s honor our military,
The men and women who serve,
Whose dedication to our country
Does not falter, halt or swerve.
Let’s respect them for their courage;
They’re ready to do what’s right
To keep America safe,
So we can sleep better at night.
Let’s support and defend our soldiers,
Whose hardships are brutal and cruel,
Whose discipline we can’t imagine,
Who follow each order and rule.
Here’s to those who choose to be warriors
And their helpers good and true;
They’re fighting for American values;
They’re fighting for me and you.
On Saturday, May 5th, I was blessed to be the only reporter and the only female in attendance at the 10th Anniversary Cpl. Michael Starker Graveside visit by the Veterans MC Canada.
Killed in an ambush by the Taliban 10 years ago on May 6th, 2008, Cpl. Michael Starker was a Calgary Paramedic and a co-founding member of the Veterans MC Canada.
I’d known Mike for a little over a year before he was killed, and I had attended his deployment party, a party where Haley and Dave got engaged, and two other members were also getting ready to deploy. Over the course of our friendship, I had learned to appreciate Mike’s unique sense of humor, and it cracked me up how he could push the buttons of Anthony, the other co-founder of the Veterans MC Canada. Those two could not have been more different from one another if they tried, and they provided countless hours of amusement and entertainment for those who knew them!
I was honoured to be the person to capture the graveside visit and to be allowed to share it with everyone else in our community. This is a rare glimpse into the Veterans MC Canada and the brotherhood that exists because of the rigorous vetting and mutual histories and hobbies that these men share.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, I was picked up at my friend’s place in Airdrie by Sean Ellis, a man who has also become my friend.
We arrived at the clubhouse in Calgary, and the smells wafting out of the backyard had my mouth watering. Fozzy, another prospect was serving coffee, eggs, sausage and pancakes.
Fozzy is an interesting character; he speaks with an English accent but spent a good amount of his time with the Veterans MC Netherlands. I was directed to talk with him to find out more about the history of the Veterans MC, the various chapters around the world and their involvement in an alliance called the Brothers in Arms.
After a big scarf and being introduced to a good number of the 24 club members who would be attending at the graveside, it was time to head out for Queens Park Cemetery.
I rode with Sean, who had all of the graveside amenities already loaded into his SUV.
We pulled into Queens Park Cemetery and walked over to Michael’s grave. A bouquet of green and white flowers from the club was placed on his marker. A lot of the men who are a part of this MC today never met Mike. They didn’t experience his brand of friendship, loyalty, mischievousness, etc.
Telling the same stories year after year, making sure that each new comer to the club learns about its co-founder and his values, is a task left to people like Kris Dlouhy.
Every year he does his best to educate the newcomers about the philosophy and sense of brotherhood on which this club was founded. Like every other year, Kris spoke of Mike and his values, and while his voice cracked, he held his composure together for the most part.
After some tears, some cheers and a few photos, everyone headed back to the clubhouse. One of the wives had made spaghetti sauce, and that was the first smell that hit you when you walked in the door. Instantly people were ready for a late lunch, and so it was decided that we’d go to a local pub for growlies.
After the luncheon, it was back to the clubhouse, and by now you could smell the spaghetti sauce out in the backyard too. I didn’t think I was going to make it until supper time!
Some of the gents had to head back home as they had to work the next day, but in their stead came more club members, many of whom brought their significant others. The backyard was full, so was the front yard and the house itself. There were people everywhere.
After an amazing supper (and Melanie, that was amazing spaghetti sauce), many of the different riding clubs that make up the fabric of the Calgary Motorcycle scene started dropping in.
The show of respect was evident from every RC that showed up. The prospects, all 8 of them, were busy ensuring that every guest was being looked after. They kept the yard clean, the beverages flowing and were offering all of the new comers a bite to eat should they be hungry.
I watched young men like Pork Chop work his way through the guests and make sure that everyone was taken care of, and he did it with such joy and reverence that I had to smile. Likewise, Matt was just as considerate and efficient in taking care of the club’s guests. They all were.
If Mike was alive today, I think he’d be so proud.
The quality of the young veterans or serving members that comprises this club is really remarkable. I watch the way they work together, ride together, move together, and I can’t help but think that the training these folks undergo, no matter the division, makes it so that they can work side-by-side in a precise fashion even if they have never worked together before.
The brotherhood of people who have fought side-by-side, who have trained side-by-side, is so unique. Firefighters and Veterans/Serving Soldiers see horrid things during the course of their careers. Many have had to do things that you and I couldn’t possibly fathom.
I hear a lot of people throw that word brotherhood around, but I am here to tell you that the average person that thinks they know what brotherhood really is, probably does not have a clue.
“Brotherhood is an unconditional love that I feel for my brother. I would do anything to support or help my brother, anytime, anywhere. If this (prospecting) doesn’t work out for me, then I will become a lone wolf because I don’t want to be a part of any club. I want to be a part of THIS CLUB because of what it represents,” said Pork Chop.
By Jennifer Goad, The Herald
The H-Train Show with Goose helps veterans find resources beyond the VA
Army veteran Joel Hunt has traveled down a long and winding road over the last two decades.