Colorado Wounded Vet Run
September 18th 2021
Start 11:00am Takoda Tavern 12365 Pine Bluffs Way, Parker, CO 80134
End 2:00pm Stagecoach 2077 CO-83, Franktown, CO 80116
Fundraiser and ceremony for wounded veterans that live in colorado.
Colorado Wounded Vet Run
September 18th 2021
Start 11:00am Takoda Tavern 12365 Pine Bluffs Way, Parker, CO 80134
End 2:00pm Stagecoach 2077 CO-83, Franktown, CO 80116
Fundraiser and ceremony for wounded veterans that live in colorado.
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.
May 5,2p021 By Laurie Montoya
Representatives Executive Director Joe Chennelly from AMVETS and Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida a 12-year Army veteran and who was injured in Afghanistan (double amputee) today were on Fox News Faulkner Focus today discussing the Pentagon’s decision on rescinding a permit for a 30-plus year Memorial Day tradition that stages thousands of motorcyclists and veterans outside for the Rolling to Remember Rally.
Representative Mast blasted the Pentagon and current administration for rescinding this permit using the excuse of COVID-19 for this outdoor 30-plus years Memorial Day tradition for veterans that has always been staged in the Pentagon’s parking lot. He is quoted as saying “Memorial Day traditions like Rolling to Remember have been granted permits by every administration, Democrat and Republican, for the past 30 years. The Biden Administration’s decision to end this Memorial Day tradition flies in the face of the freedoms that so many have died to protect,”
Joe Chennelly Executive Director from AMVETS stated, “Our biggest disappointment with the Pentagon’s decision here was that they never gave us an opportunity, despite us asking many times, to be able to present a plan of how we would be able to meet at the Pentagon parking lot outdoors in a safe, responsible way,”
Rolling Thunder is traditionally an event that has been all about is our missing in action. Motorcycle riders from around the nation, and even around the world rally in the Pentagon parking lots and then begin riding a designated route thru the Mall area of Washington DC. We have more than 80,000 Americans who are still missing in action since World War II. Chennelly and his staff are committed to still having a central staging area. … We have a Plan B and that is staging near RFK Stadium and but at this late date it is unclear if they will be able to get those plans into action
AMVETS will know by the end of this week whether Plan B, staging near RFK Stadium, pans out, Chennelly said.
“If COVID-19 conditions permit, the department would gladly consider supporting a future event request from AMVETS, potentially as soon as this Labor Day weekend. The department looks forward to supporting future events with AMVETS,” the Pentagon’s statement continued.
The coronavirus pandemic forced Rolling to Remember to go virtual in 2020 and it is clear the organization’s determination to find another way to do this event in 2021. For updates, please visit their website – www.rollingtoremember.com
In an unexpected announcement last Thursday, the Cripple Creek City Council voted 4 to 1 to cancel the 28th annual Salute to American Veterans Rally, scheduled for August 21-23.
The rally’s founder and organizer, Jim Wear said “This decision completely blindsided us. The city of Cripple Creek approved the event and the sponsorship funding on June 17. Our huge hurdle was then to get approval from the county health department for the gathering.”
After a huge amount of work, rally organizers obtained the coveted county health permit with full approval from state and county health departments. “Most folks thought we’d never get the county permit” said Wear. “We had a solid plan in place which met all the guidelines and we were prepared to keep the crowds outdoors, safe and happy. The last thing we expected was for the city of Cripple Creek to pull the plug.”
City Council woman Meghan Rozell stated that Cripple Creek businesses and residents overwhelmingly wanted the rally canceled due to concerns over COVID-19 and the potential for the Governor to close the casinos down if an outbreak occurred. There was however a lot of feedback which seem to be contrary to Rozell’s supposition. “The first three casino owners we spoke to immediately after the decision told us that no one from the city had contacted them, and that the decision was a complete surprise to them.” Said Wear. “We also heard from many residents that they were upset at the decision.”
The other thing that came to light immediately was that rally attendees were coming anyway in spite of the Rally being canceled. The city of Cripple Creek area hotels have reported almost no room cancellations, and social media indicates that most rally attendees plan to be in Teller County on the weekend. “our belief all along was that after 30 years, the rally has a life of its own and people were coming anyway” said Wear. “We know that this is part of the reason that the county commissioners granted our permit as they understood that we needed to work together to manage the crowd, keep everyone safe, and happy outdoors. Clearly, the city of Cripple Creek did not believe the same to be true.”
Immediately after the announcement came overwhelming pressure from the community of Veterans to keep the 33rd annual POW/MIA recognition ride in place. “The recognition ride is a completely separate entity from the rally.” Said Wear. “As the ride stages in Woodland Park, they issue the permit, and their City Council was unanimously in support of the ride. We also had already put our permit from the Colorado State patrol in place and the Veterans we serve demanded the ride.” Wear added “At a time when millions of protesters nationwide have been not only allowed, but encouraged to gather in protest against America, the police, capitalism and more, it is only right that those of us who love America, the constitution, our flag and mean to celebrate our freedom would be allowed to gather, peacefully and in much smaller numbers, then those who mean to show their disdain for our country.”
Additional annual rally features that are still in place and will not be canceled include the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association POKER RUN, Friday in Cripple Creek, the “Red Friday” T-shirt giveaway in downtown Woodland Park, and the dedication of a bronze plaque to a fallen Marine in Cripple Creek city Park at 1 PM Saturday. “Chuck Geertz died on his motorcycle after last year’s rally. Chuck was a proud and loyal American who dedicated his life to serving his fellow veterans after he retired from the military.” Said Wear. “Like so many we have heard from, Chuck’s family told us that they were coming anyway as their flight and hotel reservations were in place. We decided then and there that we would be honoring Chuck and dedicating his bronze plaque on our memorial in Cripple Creek’s city park as planned.” Wear added “There are many things that City Council can hold back. There are also many things that they cannot stop from happening. Our rights to assemble, ride our motorcycles on our POW/MIA Memorial Highway and honor those veterans who so gallantly gave us our freedom will not be withheld.”
In closing, Wear added “No one can cancel FREEDOM.”
For more information on what is and what is not happening with the ride and the rally go to www.theveteransrally.org
When Colorado Freedom Festival was forced to cancel its show at the JeffCo Fairgrounds, Dean Gary reached out to Dirty Dogs Roadhouse to try and salvage the annual event in some capacity. With swift action, Freedom Fest Mini was created and took place on June 20th at our favorite Golden biker bar. Guests were admitted with a donation that would be distributed to Veteran charities. Thank you to everyone for your generous donations to support our nation’s heroes!
Photos courtesy of Luke Wyckoff
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.
I had the distinct pleasure to meet with the State Chair “Poncho” Serrano, Mike “Chaplain” Smith and Joe Calabro all American Legion members and American Legion Riders last month to talk about What does it mean to be a part of the American Legion in 2019.
As a daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I had only heard negative about the Legion and the VFW, my dad still carries today bad memories of what those organizations stood for when he returned from war and doesn’t want to entertain the idea of coming to the New 2019 American Legion.
I have to say that I was extremely impressed when I have visited Post 178 (Lakewood) and Post 22 in (Northglenn) each time the members were inviting and greeting and the stigma that I was expecting was no-where to found. In April of this year, I have also attended and event at ALR Post 35 in Chandler Arizona what I saw was a young, organized group of veterans ready to help any and all veterans in need, no matter what war you came from.
The ALRs is a program within The American Legion. We are Legionaries who ride motorcycles. Each ALR program is sponsored by an American Legion Post. A person can be a member of the ALR if they are a member of the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion or Auxiliary. We commonly refer to this as our Post family. So, if you’re not a veteran, don’t think you can’t join us. If you have a relative that served, such as a parent or grandparent, then there’s a chance you may still qualify to join our family. Check with your local post and learn more. We love signing up new members. The ALR is the fastest growing part of the American Legion and has had a great effect on Legion membership. We currently have about 35 ALR charters in the state of Colorado and growing.
What do we do? Well we ride for military veteran causes and do great things for our community and youth. We raise funds for all kinds of causes such as youth scholarship funds, veteran’s assistance funds, food pantry’s, homeless transition programs, veteran therapy programs. The list is huge, and we keep finding great things to support and promote. So many great things are happening in the Legion as well as outside the Legion. If it helps our veterans, we’re usually there to offer support.
We also take part in motorcycle escorts and honors for our fallen as well as participate in parades throughout the state. Most of us served in the military ourselves or have lived within the military family unit. We know the cost and it’s important that we remember the warriors and families that paid the ultimate price. We also support those that came home wounded with scars seen and unseen. We do our best to offer a network of support to those who are among us still fighting the battle in their minds.
Every year our riders raise money for the Legacy Scholarship Fund that helps pay for college for military families who lost a parent after 9/11 or who’s veteran parent has a 50% disabled rating or more. We do through what we call the Pony Express. Riders go across the state from post to post collecting funds with the Pony Express satchel. This all takes place in one fun weekend and we’ve had great success with it and have collected record amounts every year.
The new face of the Legion are veterans from more recent wars, and they aren’t in the shadows, they are involved, engaged and ready to be involved. They have a home now away from home, where they can hang with their own and get thru those moments that flashback to them and feel a part of something.
I ask any veteran who is looking for somewhere to call home, to give the American Legion a try and come to a few meetings. If you like to ride, the American Legion Riders are involved and regularly meet and go for rides to help other veterans and local charities.
To find out more information, please contact the
American Legion Department of Colorado, 7465 E 1st Ave D, Denver, CO 80230 — (303) 366-5201
Please take a moment to read about what these veterans have found being part of the American Legion.
Joe Calabro (Road Captain) – American Legion Post 178, Lakewood Colorado
I didn’t even know the American Legion Riders existed. As a veteran of the first Gulf War, I was interested in veteran’s issues. So, in 2004 when I got a letter from the American Legion, I thought that would be a good way to support veterans. At my very first Legion meeting someone noticed that I had ridden my motorcycle to the meeting and told me that American Legion Post 178 had a Riders Chapter. I went to their meeting the next Saturday and have been a member ever since. What drew me to the American Legion Riders was that it is a volunteer organization that does a lot in the community to support veterans and their families. Between raising money for charities, standing in flag lines at funerals to honor our departed brothers and sisters and their families, or bringing food to disabled veterans, the Am. Legion Riders gave me a feeling of purpose and a way to help other veterans and their families. There is no better feeling than when the family member of a fallen veteran gives you heartfelt “Thank You” for standing in a flag line, in boots that were not made for standing, to honor their family member. It is a small price to pay. As a long time, motorcycle rider, I also enjoy the charity poker runs, the parades, and the brotherhood that only riders understand. No matter if you served, or if it was your Father or Grandfather, the American Legion Riders is a great place to support our veterans and their families.
Michael Wilson – American Legion Post 22, Northglenn, Colorado
When I was 6 my uncle came over to the house in his dress blues, he was a full bird Colonial. The instant I saw him I told my dad that I would one day proudly wear that uniform. At age 19 I entered boot camp to become that proud Marine. My intent was to make it a 20-year career. After 6 years I decided against it, a decision that I have regretted to this day. That was back in the day that if you entered the military you were pretty much guaranteed a free trip to Vietnam.
While in Vietnam as a combat radio operator I saw more than my fair share of action. 13 months in country left me a broken man. I left many friends over there. The good lord above saw fit to let me come home and I swore that I would spend my life doing good for others and I would take care of my fellow veterans that were not given all that I was lucky enough to be granted. I knew that I needed to share my experiences in an attempt to self-heal. That is when I found the American Legion. The Legion is a place where we can go to re-bond as brothers and share stories without being judged. Of course, we tease each other about our different branches and that’s OK for us but God help any outsider who would do any one of us harm. I have made many lifelong friends due to my affiliation with the American Legion, if you’re a member of ANY post you are a member of every post around the world and welcome everywhere.
I am a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast but have never had any inclination to join an MC. I have always told anyone who would listen that “I am one of the good guys”, our Legion chapter started an ALR (American Legion Riders) some 4 years ago that I have become intimately involved with it and plan to remain a member for life. We ride for our brothers who cannot, we raise funds for veterans and their families, and we do many motorcycle dignified honors escort services for our departed brothers.
Even if you are not personally a veteran there are various ways you may be eligible. We encourage your interest. There are American Legion posts in just about every city in Colorado. Come on down.
Frank “Poncho” Serrano – Colorado ALR State Committee Chairman
In 2014 my riding buddy and I were looking into joining a riding group and we ran across the American Legion Riders. The more we learned, the more it seemed to be a good fit for us. We are both military veterans and liked the idea of riding for veteran causes. Our local Post didn’t have a Riders program, so we were asked to start one. It began with about 8 of our closest riding friends and in 3 years, it grew to around 70 members. Not only did our rider group grow but our post did as well. From around 60 members to over 260. It has had a positive impact on our Falcon Colorado community since 2014 and we’ve been able to do great things for our local veterans ever since.
By Dean Gary, Freedom Fest Founder
Colorado Freedom Festival is here again June 29th at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. It will be our 5th year! Without the loyal support of the Freedom Fest Family this could never happen. I can’t express my gratitude to our all of you for coming together to celebrate our Nation’s Heroes.[Read more…] about Freedom Fest 2019
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