Over the years, I’ve heard that the Walton family of Walmart fame and fortune has a vested interest in our small town. My understanding is that the Waltons own properties in the city and on the backside of the Aspen Mountain of the same name, and are now the primary stakeholders in the new Walton/Penner property group. I’m kind of amazed that local sports writers or other media haven’t dig into this fresh bowl of pigskin gumbo yet, as it seems that following money in Aspen has become quite common lately.
I’m very interested in the Aspen connection – it always seems to be one. From what I can tell from local conversation over the years, the Walton family has a really good reputation in Aspen. Someone who was in the music tent park on the Fourth of July told me that when that announcer mentioned that the Walton Foundation (which had just sponsored the Ideas Festival) was sponsoring the concert, the impromptu show was “Go Broncos!” Delight erupted. Could we see Aspen Locals Appreciation Day at Mile High this season? Doubtful. Is a new mega stadium being built for Denver? more impressive.
There have been some noteworthy developments within the new property complex. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Ariel Investments co-CEO Melody Hobson (both African-American women) and F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton (aka Black) have joined the new leadership of the Denver Broncos. There is an ongoing debate about where Peyton Manning would fit into this puzzle.
Online sports writers say, to some sarcastically, that John Elway lost his new ownership deal when he turned down an option years ago to be part of that inevitable transformation — to the tune of nearly $1 billion. However, I find it very difficult to feel sorry for Elway or his bank account.
Since Elway retired, the Broncos’ center hole has been a missing or distorted puzzle piece. She likened the slippery hatch to the unique role of guitarist Jerry Garcia in The Grateful Dead, or that Ace Frehley of KISS is hard, if not impossible, to replace. We’ve all heard the old saying, “No ace, no kiss.”
Oh yeah, did I mention former Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is our new quarterback? To me, Wilson seems to be the never-before-seen piece of the long puzzle. This year’s Bronco boot camp saw record attendance. The people in the Broncos Country are terrifying. The entire state of Colorado is thirsty for bronze football. The people who set the NFL schedules are inauspicious: Our first game of the regular season is against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, September 12th in Seattle, 35 days from now.
I immediately responded to the news that Wilson is our new quarterback by buying tickets so that my son and I can take a road trip in October to the Broncos-Raiders game in Las Vegas at the new “Death Star” stadium. We’ve already discussed our wardrobes – anything but Bronco colours. I’m thinking of Dockers’ beige pleated pants, paired with a white “Untuckit” collar shirt. I’m such a rebel you put in my Untuckit. There is a sloppy limerick out there somewhere.
Russell Wilson is the guy who brutalized us in Superbowl XLVIII: you remember; The one where Manning fumbled on the first shot in the end zone? The weekend of the bout, I was skating like an asshole, holding the Bronco flag while wearing a Demarius Thomas (88) jersey. I also plunged myself into a huge pool of hot water as I climbed the tower over the Highlands Bowl, like some deformed King Kong suffering from the snow, hoisting a Bronco flag.
The photo appeared on the cover of the Aspen Daily News, one way or another, and that morning when I casually arrived at the old afternoon picnic club, which offers free parking, a ski patrol spotted me easily in the arena and yelled, “Lorenzo! Patrol headquarters! Now!” It was like in antiquity, when I was a kid again, I was scolded by the Highlands Patrol. In my defense, excellent video clips and prints of the Broncos camouflaged flag with Tibetan prayer flags were used in promotional segments for SkiCo, and reaped tens of thousands in return. . you are welcome!
Strategically speaking, I happily know little about the game of soccer. My role as an NFL cheerleader on Sundays is to gently lay a lead blanket (like the one you wear at the dentist’s office when you get the x-rays) over my moral compass and assemble my Bronco shrine—nothing sinister—just a few bricks. With a flag draped over it, a scented candle, a miniature version of Franklin’s Mint’s Mile High, and a bronco skull I bought from a beach vendor in Punta Mita. Then I get my head and the menu straight for the big game. Whether I’m listening to the duel on my yellow Walkman, car radio or idiot box – or watching the fight in person – I always make the time. I even have a tie-dyed Bronco flag hanging in my backyard.
I can tell you about meeting all the Bronco kids in Aspen over the years, or the time Pat Pullen slapped my hand so hard, I thought I was going to vomit. Let this article remind others of similar ‘Brush with Sports Kings’ experiences they have had; Share those legends locally.
Contact Lorenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or instagram.com/lorenzosemple3/.