Denver’s mysterious birthday billboards

Will who?

You may have noticed them around town, these maddeningly cryptic black billboards that display only one word: "WILL," decorated with a simple white hat resting on the bottom of the second "L."

At first, I assumed they must be political messages, because who else is posting billboards these days? "Will to work?" I thought, alluding to the "right to work" Amendment 47? Or perhaps this had something do with my "will to choose" or my "will to resist the advances of slimy lobbyists?"

Who knows? Luckily, there was a website listed at the bottom of the sign, Unfortunately, the site offered very little actual information.

"Will is turning 90 this November," it says. "And in those 90 years, Will has helped Denver students, workers, families and the community. There will be a surprise party revealing Will’s identity on Nov. 12 at the Governor’s Mansion. Check back each week for a clue about Will. E-mail with a guess on who Will is. If you are correct, you’ll win two free tickets to Comedy Works!"

Hmmm. Guesses sent in by alert readers included "William Herst" (could that be a reference to William Randolph Hearst, who happens to be dead?), Billy Graham (who actually is turning 90) and former Denver Mayor Bill McNichols (also deceased).

But I’m convinced the person/place/ thing has something to do with Denver Public Schools, because the website asks people to guess how many students Will helped graduate.

To offer your best guess, click here. If you guess right, you can be entered to win a "FREE iPod Touch or Nintendo Wii!" So get cracking. Where there's a Will, there's a way. -- Lisa Rab

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts