Colorado Days begins today

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Northwest Colorado Shrine Club member Don Johnson has attended every Colorado Days celebration since its inception 20 years ago.

Every year is memorable, Johnson said, but one year stands out particularly.

Nearly 20 years ago, a Hayden mother was driving her two young daughters on U.S. Highway 40 when a train struck their car on the track crossing west of the Carpenter Ranch, Johnson said. The mother died, and one of the girls had to have her leg amputated.

With the help of the Shriners in Hayden, the girls were treated at Intermountain Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City. A few months later, the girl who had her leg amputated came by Johnson's home and asked him to watch her ride her bike.

"Seeing things like that make it all worth while," Johnson said.

The Shrine Club of Northwest Colorado, comprised of members from Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, has raised thousands of dollars for Intermountain Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City through Hayden's annual Colorado Days celebration.

Colorado Days returns to Hayden this weekend, with two days of festivities -- including a street dance and the annual Shriners parade and barbecue -- planned to entertain Hayden residents and visitors.

Intermountain Shriners Hospital is a pediatric, orthopedic hospital that provides care to children at no charge. The hospital is one of 22 Shriners Hospitals throughout North America, according to the Shriner Web site.

"We want to help the kids however we can," Johnson said. "We support the hospital so they can buy anything they need or if they have a hurt child, they can continue to care for them."

Colorado Days kicked off Friday evening with a bratwurst supper and street dance.

It continues today with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Lion's Club from 6 to 9 a.m. at the park across from the Kum & Go, followed by the annual parade and barbecue at Hayden Town Park.

All profits from the barbecue will be given to Shrine Hospital in Salt Lake City, which treats thousands of children each year. The public is urged to attend. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children 10 and younger.

"The fun thing is always the parade," said Fred Holleman, wife of Shriner Vince Holleman. "We also love eating Bobby's barbecue. It has become a tradition for us."

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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