The Pikes Peak Range Riders are heading to the mountains, and Colorado Springs is invited to their send-off Wednesday.
“Bring little ones in their Western outfits, bring them with an empty tummy, and get ready for a kaleidoscope of colors and a panoply of sound,” said Range Rider Kevin Kaverney, co-chair of the Western Street Breakfast. “It’s a destination Western event for the whole family.”
That event is the annual Western Street Breakfast downtown. For just $5, enjoy a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes and your choice of coffee, juice or milk. Kids 5 and under eat for free. And all the proceeds go to help military families in need.
The award-winning Flying W Wranglers will perform, as will Girls of the West and Exit West. Colorful native dancers will catch your eye, and the trick roper will teach some tricks to have up your sleeve.
The feed started 86 years ago. Gathering ‘round the old wagon in front of Joe Reich’s Swiss Chalet, 35 businessmen shared their first breakfast to promote the local rodeo. Now thousands of families fill downtown for a hearty meal before the Range Riders take off.
“It’s one of those signature heritage events that so many of those before us have worked to support and maintain,” Kaveney said. “Once you let you let something like this slip away, it would be impossible to rebuild it. So it is imperative that we all band together and keep the tradition alive — and grow it.
“I love riding out of town and looking into all the faces of all the people and the kiddos, smiling and wide eyed, enjoying the wonderful sight of departure of the Fort Carson Mountain Color Guard, the Pikes Peak Rangerettes and the Pikes Peak Range Riders.”
Riders range from “four-star generals to farriers and people who work on cattle ranches,” said retired Gen. Major Bentley Rayburn, a Range Rider since 2016. This year’s 230 riders will head for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe.
“It’s a wide spectrum of fellas, but we are the same,” Rayburn said. “We all love horses, we all love the West, and we all love getting outside.
Along with the donating the breakfast proceeds for local militaries and families, the breakfast will carry on the tradition of celebrating and beginning acclaimed Colorado Springs rodeo season.
“I remember that as a kid at the Air Force Academy, the rodeo was one of our big nights out. It was our only night out. They’d bus us all out of the academy to go down to the rodeo.”
Guests are encouraged to wear Western attire, and Rayburn said he hopes the Western heritage carries past the garb.
“The Western tradition is something as simple as jeans and a cowboy hat,” he said. “But Western heritage and tradition reflect traditional values of faith, family, hard work, helping your neighbors and respect for the land. It all kinds of goes together.”