Cowboy 101

The only thing I've ever done that was remotely cowboy-like was ride a horse one terrifying afternoon in college. His name was Tank, and he tried tossing me into a body cast. Of course, I showed that big bastard a thing or two (mostly about what real fear sounds like) when he kicked up his heels in a failed attempt at bucking me into space. Since then, I've retired my ten-gallon hat, and although I've watched every episode of Deadwood, I'm certain there's not a single cowboy bone in my body.

Of course, not everyone's like me. If you're one of those Wild West wannabes, then mosey over to Conifer Tales and Trails for a day of cowboy fun benefiting the Mountain Area Land Trust, a non-profit group preserving open lands and natural areas of environmental, scenic or historic value.

Starting today at noon at both Conifer High School, 10441 CO-73, and the Diamond Sky Ranch, 12754 U.S. Highway 285, Tales and Trails is a celebration of the cowboy aesthetic that includes everything from three concerts of Old West music, storytelling and poetry — featuring such performers as Brenn Hill and Kip Calahan — to Cowboy 101 workshops, a Roy Rogers Film festival, smokehouse BBQ and much more.

"The history of this area is the history of the Old West," says Janet Shown, projects manager at MALT. "Conifer is part of that area that's so romanticized." General festival admission is $10 for adults and $7 for kids twelve and under; for concert prices, directions and other information, call 303-679-0950 or go to
Sat., Sept. 8, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

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Mark Dragotta