Reality bites for Colorado and Richard Heene

There are certainly times when reality shows are stranger than fiction, but in some cases, reality itself is even stranger. Take the case of Fort Collins "furry mom" Richael Michels, who was sentenced last week to ten years of intensive supervised probation for having sex with a sixteen-year-old boy with whom she attended furry gatherings. Furries, of course, are people who like to dress up as animals or hang out with people who do.

It's an interesting lifestyle and could certainly use a reality show of its own. In the meantime, however, Colorado has no shortage of reality stars. No sooner had we published our October 15 list of Colorado's Ten Greatest Reality Stars — a distinguished group that included the cast of The Real World: Denver (MTV was at a local Hooters last weekend, casting its next season), bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, Ryan Sutter, Hosea Rosenberg and Heidi Montag – than balloon dad Richard Heene and company "did it for the show" and moved right to the top of the charts. And Heene's not alone. The notable newcomers:

Nicole Fox: The eighteen-year-old Louisville redhead and Monarch High grad has posed her way through nine episodes of America's Next Top Model, and last week she made it to the finals, where she will go face to pretty face with Laura, the Kentucky waitress, for the prize.

Peter "The Principal" Mosby: Montbello High School has had eight principals in nine years, and although none were as good at fly-fishing, hunting, archery and ATV riding as Mosby, it looks like the school will soon have a ninth principal. Mosby is one of fifteen woodsy fellows competing in Field & Stream's Total Outdoorsmen Challenge, a competition that will be broadcast this December on the Outdoor Channel. And although he noted on the magazine's website that his job made it difficult for him to practice his manly-man skills, it also appears that practicing his skills made it hard for him to do his actual job. Denver Public Schools placed Mosby on paid administrative leave earlier this month; the district didn't explain its reasons.

Josh T. Ryan: This guy has a real shot at fame. A salesman at the Shootist, a gun shop and shooting range in Englewood, Ryan landed a six-episode hidden-camera series on Showtime called Lock 'N Load, and his love of guns — and the people who love guns — comes through loud and clear. In Episode 2, he loses in a shoot-off with a grandma; in Episode 3, he gets a customer to shock another customer with a Taser; and in Episode 5, the store gets robbed of two assault rifles, three semi-automatic rifles and four handguns. But then, guns don't rob people, people do.

Pete Peterkin: A longtime impersonator who can do everyone from Elvis to Ray Charles, Peterkin moved to Greeley to be closer to his nine-year-old daughter, who lives there with his ex-wife. Although his fascinating Barack Obama/James Brown bit didn't win him the America's Got Talent! crown, it did land him gigs nationwide. "I'm not only getting more offers for Vegas and major corporate appearances, but my phone calls are being returned for pitching my own TV show ideas," he says via e-mail. "My intention at this point is to become the Jennifer Hudson of America's Got Talent! "

But sadly, while Colorado's gained new star power, one celebrity has left the state. Joe Rogan, the off-the-wall comedian and former Fear Factor host who'd moved to Colorado this summer, has already returned to California, where reality is always golden.

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