Organizers spice up Colorado Days events


What do you get when you mix a Hayden street dance on a Friday night with some spunk and spontaneity?

Among other things, a country Western-themed "Un--bridled Northwest" dance accompanied by a "best rear-end in Wrangler jeans" contest.

"I'm really excited about that one," said Robyn Boeckmann, who is coordinating the Colorado Days Street Dance for the Hayden Chamber of Commerce.

The dance on Walnut Street is among a string of events -- including a golf tournament, parade and several community meals -- scheduled Friday through Sunday for Colorado Days.

At the heart of the celebration is the Northwest Colorado Shrine Club, which raises money for the Intermountain Shriner Hospital in Salt Lake City. The hospital treats children suffering from orthopedic problems free of charge.

Hayden Shriner member Bob Robinson Sr. started Colorado Days 22 years ago as a fund-raiser for the hospital. Since then, it has evolved into a celebration of community and summer as well as the Shriners' dedication to children.

Hayden Shriner Don Johnson emphasized the events are for all residents as well as Shriners, who come from Meeker, Craig, Steamboat Springs and Denver for the celebration.

"It's open to anybody who wants to come," he said.

Colorado Days kicks off Friday morning with a "yellow ball" golf tournament at the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig. Players, in teams of four, will take turns hitting the yellow ball for a team score, in addition to racking up individual scores.

Cash prizes -- made up of players' $60 fees -- will be donated to the Shrine hospital on behalf of winners. Last year, the tournament raised about $900 for the hospital, Craig Shriner Jim Shepherd said.

Later in the day, residents can indulge their appetites at a bratwurst picnic in Town Park sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. After the picnic, the street dance on Walnut Street will feature deejay Tim Martin of KRAI.

"They said he just keeps the crowd rolling the whole time," Boeckmann said.

Residents can show off their two-step skills during a dance contest while children keep busy on an inflatable castle. Cotton candy and food from the American Legion will be available.

And then there's the "best rear-end in Wrangler jeans" contest. The man and woman eliciting the most applause will win.

A pancake breakfast Sat--urday morning at the American Legion will give residents another reason to postpone their diets. Afterward, the Colorado Days parade, featuring Shriners from Northwest Colorado and Denver and other entries, will promenade down Jefferson Avenue, starting at the east end of town.

The Shriners will sponsor a barbecue spread of slow-cooked meats and salads in Town Park on Saturday afternoon, as well as a Dutch oven breakfast Sunday morning.

Proceeds from both meals will go toward the Intermountain Shriners Hospital, which is among 22 Shriners hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The hospitals, which specialize in orthopedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries, treat children for free until they are 18.

The Northwest Colorado Shriners Club has helped send about 20 children to the Salt Lake City hospital in the past 15 years, Craig Shriner Richard Knorr said.

Certain children stick out in each Shriner's mind, such as the little girl who received a prosthetic leg after a train accident near Hayden.

"One of the happiest days of my life was when she ... showed me her prosthesis and that she could ride a bike," Johnson said.

Knorr remembers when a young boy with multiple sclerosis had his legs straightened at the hospital.

"It's pretty nice to see those children when they get fixed up," he said.

Anybody who knows of a child that needs help can call any Shriner. Johnson may be reached at 276-1449 and Knorr at 824-2330.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail


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