There are plenty of myths surrounding the Old West. One of them is that, apparently, Kevin Costner lived and died in these parts many times. But one serious omission in the history of the West is the role that African-Americans played in settling it. Promoter Lu Vason was among those who sought to remedy this oversight; twenty years ago, he started the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo as a way to help correct the popular perception of the past. The event honors Pickett, a Texas native who invented what later became steer wrestling.
"Ever since I was kid, I watched [the rodeo] on TV," says Maurice Wade, a calf roper from Denver who will take part in this year's event. "Always wanted to do it. When I finally got the opportunity, I got to do it by association. Pretty soon I had my own horse, trailer and truck."
Tonight's rodeo, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton, will feature a variety of competitions, including a version of Pickett's rasslin' move. The rodeo rides again tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. For tickets, $10 to $18, call 303-373-1246 or log on to www.billpickettrodeo.com. -- Ernie Tucker
Sleek, snarling Grand Prix race cars seem suited to bigger-than-life exotic drivers. But for mere mortals (even governors and mayors), go-carts are a better fit. After all, traveling at 50 mph is more manageable than 150 mph. Still, the elemental appeal of speed -- even the reduced kind -- hooks folks, and that's the premise behind the second annual Mini Grand Prix of Denver, which rolls out at 8 a.m. this morning in the Pepsi Center's parking lot A.
The event, which is free to spectators, is a fundraiser for Children's Hospital and the Gold Crown Foundation. But $1,250 gets an entrant race goodies, instruction and a chance to compete. Spokesman Steve Cauley says safety is foremost.
"The only danger is laughing yourself to death," he notes -- which could be why Governor Bill Owens and Mayor John Hickenlooper are willing to join others in a celebrity race this afternoon. Get revved. -- Ernie Tucker
AIDS Walk marches on
Despite a drop-off in participation from its '90s heyday, AIDS Walk Colorado remains vital, organizers say. Today's event -- the sixteenth annual -- at Cheesman Park Pavilion will have a new look and will include a display of twelve panels from the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt, a memorial begun in 1987 to honor victims of the disease. As always, the educational aspect of the 6.2-mile trek is paramount.
"While this is always an emotional day, it is also the largest informational day of the year in Colorado regarding AIDS," says Colorado AIDS Project spokeswoman Jackie Long. And that, combined with pledges collected by the walkers to support some thirty agencies, is what keeps the day compelling despite flagging support.
The disease "has taken hold in communities not previously afflicted," Long says, pointing to the growing numbers of women, youth and communities of color that are at risk.
The race begins at 10 a.m. this morning. For information and registration, call 303-861-WALK or log on to www.aidswalkcolorado.org. -- Ernie Tucker