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    Buffalo Bill Days 'bigger and better than ever'
    Photo by Noah Bryant
    Al Huffman, who has portrayed Buffalo Bill for 34 years, waves to the crowd during the Buffalo Bill Days parade July 27 for the last time. Huffman announced last week he will no longer ride his horse as Buffalo Bill, although he may ride in a carriage in coming years.

    Sentinel and Transcript Newspapers

       It was Golden's turn to party. Three days of entertainment, a parade, food, new events and some reincarnated events were part of the fun of the 2002 Buffalo Bill Days.

    "It was awesome. We are so tickled. This (year) came off the best we've ever had," said Buffalo Bill Days treasurer Bill Pazar. "Everything was bigger and better than ever."

    Pazar said the inclusion of The Wheelmen bicycling group's 35th annual meeting with Buffalo Bill Days really became the highlight of this year's parade, with nearly 200 antique bicycles entertaining the crowd.

    Mutton busting, the orphan and classic car shows and the '50s theme on Sunday were all new to this year's event, and Pazar said they all went over very well and will be back next year. The bucket brigade was brought back this year to the delight of many, Pazar said.

    Pazar thanked all the sponsors, the city of Golden and the Transcript for helping to make the event such a success. He also added that the weather made the event extra special.

    On parade

    Almost 100 entries joined the marching line for this year's parade down Washington Avenue. Parade chair Charlene Pazar said entrants had to be cut off a week before the parade because they had run out of staging room.

    Officials presented a special recognition award to the city of Golden for its street sweepers.

    The umbrella drill team from Golden's First Presbyterian Church was the best drill team/walking entry this year. The entry from Oakhurst School was second, and the Colorado Clowns was third.

    The best equestrian entries were those representing the Westernaires and Harvey's Casino. Laurel Property Services finished third, and Class Carriage Co. was fourth.

    The best band was the Michael Collins Pipes and Drums Band. Blu Jazz, which appeared in shower caps and bath towels, was second. The entry from the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra was third.

    The best commercial entry in this year's parade was awarded to Wells Fargo Bank. Harvey's placed second, and Laurel Property Services took third.

    The top prize for the best automobile entry was given to the Colorado Railroad Museum. The Golden Volunteer Fire Department took second, and Coors Distributing was third. The best tractor entry was that of Vern Wagner's. Bill Vetos was second, and Vern Betz placed third.

    The Wheelmen, who were in town for a convention over the weekend, were judged as the best bike entry in the 2002 Buffalo Bill Days Parade. Cub Scout Pack No. 48 was second, and the El Jebel Daraja motorcycles were third. The best float prize went to the Buffalo Bill Museum. The Shady Ladies of Central City finished second, and the entry from Wells Fargo Bank was third.

    The funniest entry was awarded to Blu Jazz. Colorado Clowns were second, and Circus Chimera finished third.

    The Wheelmen took the top prize for the most unique entry. The best overall entry in the parade turned out to be a tie between The Wheelmen and the Michael Collins Pipes and Drums Band.

    "I wish to send a most sincere thank you to the volunteers from Golden Lions Club, Jane Byl, Jim Bezio, Michelle Pazar and the members and parents of the Golden High School Boys Basketball team," Pazar said. "I believe that the event was well-received, and we had many comments that it was a good family event."

    Buffalo Bill retires

    According to Buffalo Bill Saddle Club President Kathleen Davey, Al Huffman, who has ridden as Buffalo Bill in the parade for 34 years, isn't planning to ride a horse in future parades. However, he may ride in a carriage in future parades.

    An emotional Bill Pazar presented Huffman with a silver platter following the parade Saturday.

    "I've been in a lot of parades, but the best part is being in a parade in Golden," Huffman said. "The nicest people are here. It's a large family."

    Huffman explained that his horse was tired.

    "Cody retired about the same time I did, and he came out of retirement once," Huffman said. "Thanks a lot. I'll see you in the streets. Happy trails to you all."

    Pancake breakfast

    Before anyone could march in the parade, they had to eat. The Golden Volunteer Fire Department's pancake breakfast (pancakes, coffee, juice and bacon) fed 1,635 people, up from 1,520 servings last year. The event netted the department between $3,800 and $3,900, depending on outstanding bills, according to Chief John Bales.

    "It's a real kickoff to the whole weekend," Bales said. "A lot of people came. People come and meet their neighbors at this. We saw some of the same faces, but we saw a lot of new ones, too. It was pretty successful."

    Book sale

    The Golden Library reported a successful book sale over the weekend.

    Thirty-nine boxes of romance books and fiction were sold, netting the library a total of $385.

    Burro race

    The second annual burro race through downtown Golden and up the Clear Creek Trail produced an unusual finish in the women's division.

    Julie Ramstetter won the race, but her burro beat her across the finish line. The entry was disqualified because both burro and rider have to finish together.

    That little bit of misfortune allowed Mary Kuehster to capture first place. Traci Case, who had a terrible time getting her burro off the street after the race, finished second. Wendy Hartman placed third.

    There were no such problems in the men's division. Jim Romero took first place. Bill Lee finished second, and John Chapman was third.

    Duck race

    Kurt B & C Steel took the first-place prize, a 27-inch color television donated by American Legion Squadron 178 in Lakewood. Cheyenne Clark won the second-place prize, a 26-inch mountain bike donated by American Legion Squadron 21 in Golden.

    A digital camera, this year's third-place prize donated by American Legion Squadron 17 in Edgewater, was presented to Dick Wellensiek. The fourth-place finisher was Fred Quintana. He won a $100 gift certificate from Sears donated by American Legion Squadron 178. David Blakley's duck finished fifth. He was the recipient of a $100 gift certificate from Circuit City that was donated by American Legion Squadron 178.

    Proceeds were still being tabulated at press time.

    Bucket brigade

    The first Golden Volunteer Fire Department bucket brigade in five years produced 50 contestants Sunday afternoon in downtown Golden.

    The idea is for eight- to 10-person teams to pour water over the top of a house and fill a bucket in the shortest amount of time.

    The team from Del's Tonsorial Parlor managed to capture first place with a time of 58 seconds. Pazar reported the winning team said they "whupped the fire department's butts." The Golden Volunteer Fire Department came in fourth, to which Chief John Bales said, "It was a fun thing."

    Hula-Hoop contest

    The Hula-Hoop contest was held on Sunday as part of the Back to the '50s event. Luke Wachter, 13, was the winner.

    Mutton bustin'

    Tom Mackey said that 33 kids signed up for the new mutton bustin' event, and although there was a limit of 25, all of the kids were allowed to ride. First place was awarded to C.J. Keltner, 7, of Thornton, second place went to Shyan Mills, 6, of Arvada, and Julia Blackmon, 7, of Littleton, took third. About 400 spectators attended the event.


    More than 200 antique period bicycles filled the streets of Golden before, during and after the parade, as the Wheelmen bicycling group's 35th annual meet took place in Golden the same weekend as Buffalo Bill Days.

    Wheelmen spokesman Steve Stevens said the group broke a Guinness record on Saturday in Clear Creek History Park in the "high wheel stack" category.


    Astor House and Clear Creek History Park

    The Astor House and Clear Creek History Park tripled their turnout over last year's Buffalo Bill Days weekend attendance, with 1,042 people visiting the Astor House and 1,600 people visiting Clear Creek History Park.

    "It was a great weekend," said Executive Director Kim Lennox. Lennox also noted the Wheelmen's Guinness record at the history park as well as a taffy pull on Sunday as notable events.

    Published July 31, 2002
    E-mail Sabrina Henderson

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