• Like a bullet from a revolver, the bronco shot out of the chute, a cowboy dangling from his back.

    The horse charged the fence on the opposite side of the rodeo grounds at full speed. The rider, realizing his dangerous predicament, jumped off at the last second, hit the ground, slid through the dirt and rolled into the rail.

    A giant cloud of dust washed over the stunned spectators sitting in the stands. The cowboy was back to his feet, no worse for wear, and the Oh My Gawd Rodeo kicked off its summer season with a bang.

  • One of the most beautiful flowers in June is golden banner. It is in full bloom in my yard, but it starts blooming as early as April and May on the high plains. There are large yellow patches of golden banner now blooming throughout the foothills.

    Soon it will march even higher with its yellow banners sparkling until it is blooming at Echo Lake in July and occasionally a bit higher above timberline in August.

  • An early-morning chill on Saturday gave way to a spectacularly sunny sky for Idaho Springs’ official kickoff to the summer season during the annual parade and free barbecue on Miner Street.

  • With a leash-straining lurch and a cacophony of barking, more than 100 dogs and as many runners jerked forward to begin the Canine on the Creek 5K Run on Saturday morning.

    Several four-legged participants resorted to walking on hind legs in their enthusiasm to hurry along their slower owners.

    For the past two years, runners and walkers have gathered at Charlie’s Place, the Clear Creek/Gilpin County Animal Shelter in Dumont, to raise funds for the shelter and share their enthusiasm for all things canine.

  • Editor’s note: The Clear Creek Courant is celebrating its 40th anniversary of serving the residents of Clear Creek County. This year, the Courant will reprint portions of past articles from its four decades and will publish a series of stories about former employees.

    When Sue Lathrop interned for the Courant in 1991, founders Cary Stiff and Carol Wilcox Stiff had been operating the paper for nearly 20 years.

  •  It is so nice to have some warm spring days, and now we are promised summer temperatures this week. Just to go out in my yard and see green fields and robins looking for worms, and hear green-tailed towhees and house wrens singing is a tonic for my winter-shriveled soul.

    Winter has been far too long this year, partly because it started early and because spring is a good two weeks late. The aspen trees at the bend in the road usually have their furry catkins by April 15, but this year, they did not shed their bud scales and bring out their furry catkins until May 2.

  •  Once more we have snow in May. This is a bit disturbing because we have just had some fine spring weather in April, and this seems like we are going backward. We don’t really want to see winter return, but it is not unusual. 

    Several people reported hummingbirds during this period, and I received several requests to write an article about hummingbirds and how to feed them. Because of its importance and for the welfare of our hummingbirds, here is the information.

  •  April 10

    A community blood drive will he held from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the lunchroom at Clear Creek High School, 185 Beaver Creek Canyon Road. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Nancy Spletzer at 303-679-4621 or nancy.spletzer@ccsdre1

    April 12 

    Movie Night will begin at 5 p.m. at the Idaho Springs Library. “The Princess Bride” is the film.


  • For 36 years, Silver Plume residents have donned the guises of dashing heroes, heroines and mustachioed villains for the annual Silver Plume melodrama.

    A local institution, the event raises funds for the nonprofit People for Silver Plume that go to restoring the town’s historic buildings.

    For many of the volunteer actors, participation in the Plume Players is as much about having a good time as it is supporting a worthwhile cause.

  • Clear Creek Courant co-founder Carol Wilcox Stiff chronicled the lives and events of her adopted community for nearly 30 years.

    The longtime Idaho Springs resident recently died of natural causes, and her body was found in her home March 25 by a neighbor. 

    “As typical with a small town, everybody somewhat watches out for each other, and the neighbors had a key to the house,” said Idaho Springs Police Chief Dave Wohlers.

    Wilcox, 73, was born June 9, 1939, in Omaha, Neb., and was the mother of three and grandmother of eight.

  • Paying no heed to the chilly weather, more than 30 residents bared their heads in a show of hairless solidarity on March 20 to raise money for childhood cancer.
    For a third year, students from the Clear Creek Rite of Passage program at the Mt. Evans Qualifying House hosted a fund-raiser for St. Baldrick’s childhood cancer research at the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge.

  • We moved into this house on April 19, 1965. That’s nearly 48 years ago, but many of you may recall the article I wrote about trying to find a pygmy owl that we heard calling that first night.
    Unfortunately, I do not hear pygmy owls calling as much as I used to. Their call is much more often heard than the owls are seen, for these tiny owls can disappear in a clump of pine needles or other foliage, and they are ventriloquists. They are not where you think they are.

  •  I woke up very early one day last week. It was still pitch black outside, and I thought I heard running water. I jumped up, thinking I must have left a faucet running in the bathroom. But no, the sound was from outside.

    I settled back in bed and listened to the wonderful sound of rain on the roof and water gurgling down the gutter pipe. Wonderful because it was a sound I hadn’t heard in months.

  • On Friday, March 8, all the weathermen were forecasting another severe snow. By Saturday evening, they had been proven to be right, with another foot of snow on the patio picnic table. On Friday, I was having lunch where I could watch the birds at the feeder. It was a busy sight with all of the winter moochers trying to fill up before the snow came. There was nothing new or especially interesting to be seen, but when I moved closer to the window to see if there was anything on the ground under the feeders, there was a sudden explosion of flight as two mourning doves took off.

  • Eight-year-old JJ Stimens runs like the wind — and on March 3, he won two gold medals in snowshoeing at the 2013 Special Olympics Winter Games at Copper Mountain. 

    The event, held at the ski resort for the past 25 years, brought out 250 athletes, 300 volunteers and 75 coaches. JJ has high-functioning Down syndrome, and during his first state meet, JJ tore up the 10-meter and the 50-meter courses.

  • The Georgetown Community Garden project recently received a big green thumbs up, and construction could begin this summer.

    With the help of an $8,000 grant from the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District, garden organizers hope to apply for a $40,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

    The project will provide garden plots to Georgetown residents to rent through a collaboration among the town, Georgetown Community School and the Clear Creek School District. 

  • Like most kids, Carlson fourth-grader Ivan Garcia spends his days learning English, arithmetic and science. But after school, he learns about what 1800s British journalist Pierce Egan termed the “sweet science” — boxing.

    Ivan and a handful of other elementary and middle school students learn the intricacies of boxing at Clear Creek High School under the tutelage of Beau Campbell and his 12-year-old Clear Creek boxing program.

    Many of the students are preparing for the 2013 Colorado State Golden Gloves Tournament starting March 20.

  •  The round table on my patio looks like a huge coconut cake with 15 inches of snow on it. The peripheral lights look like giant ice cream cones. The good fairies came during the night and plowed my driveway. The birds are flocking to my feeders. Yet, despite 15 inches of snow, my heart sings, “Spring is here!”

  • If you are lucky enough to live in one of the stream valleys, you may have some box elder trees growing near your house. I hope you will make time to really watch them for at least a few minutes every day.

    Not only are box elder trees interesting in their own right, but they also seem to attract many birds, especially when they have many seeds hanging on their branches. Box elder is the name by which most of us know this tree, but botanically, it is known as Acer negundo.

  • Editor’s note: The Clear Creek Courant is celebrating its 40th anniversary of serving the residents of Clear Creek County. This year, the Courant will reprint portions of past articles from its four decades and will publish a series of stories about former employees. While the faces and names have changed over the years, the Courant still believes in producing reliable and award-winning content. See next week’s interview with Courant co-founder Carol Wilcox.


    From Jan. 11, 1974