Here’s my mid-year resolution: to stop being surprised by the basic good-heartedness and generosity of my fellow Tri-Lakers, and to allow my hope for humanity to be informed by what I see right in front of my eyes on an ongoing basis (as opposed to what I hear, see, read and am otherwise subjected to/bombarded by on TV, radio and that kooky ol’ interweb).

Exhibits 743, 744 and 745 come to us courtesy of a three-event “Trifecta of Terrificness” bookending Memorial Day weekend, combining to raise over $7,500 for local and national efforts while fomenting family-friendly fun, faith and a just a bit of frivolity.

Kicking off the weekend was a May 28 tag-team show at Boot Barn Hall featuring your very own Ashtonz and WireWood Station — just can’t seem to shake those guys! — in support of the national Semper Fi and America’s Fund ( This is a nonprofit group founded in 2004 that works to help disabled U.S. military veterans participate in activities in the civilian world that they wouldn’t have logistical or financial capability of doing otherwise, and we were very happy to bring them on board for the evening.

The participation of band sponsors Fox Mortgage Team of Monument, Schur Success and Realty of Monument, Timberview Animal Hospital of Northgate and Front Range Reverse Mortgage of Monument made it possible for Boot Barn Hall to kick back 50% of ticket proceeds to the Semper Fi Fund (as had been done for Tri-Lakes Cares a few weeks earlier), and the halftime auction of a custom-painted fiddle donated by WireWood main ma’am Michelle Edwards, purchased by Julie Herzog of Denver for a cool $3,000, helped to contribute over $5,000 to this most worthy cause.

Psst! Confession time: I have never not been majorly stoked to play live at the state-of-the-art Boot Barn Hall and it’s a pinch-yourself kind of thing every time we do, but I’ll admit to having been a little concerned about this show and our Memorial Day Weekend show date. A mega-busy time with graduations, parties and every other kind of social outing going on, advance ticket sales were sluggish and I wasn’t sure how grand a showing we’d be able to make for our hosts and for our chosen charitable cause.

But thanks to a strong 11th-hour promotional push from the bands, our host venue, our sponsors, help from our friends at Mountain Country Radio and Cat Country 95.1 in the Springs, and possible intervention in the celestial realm — above even the radio waves — we ended up with a terrific turnout and through-the-roof energy all evening. Jared Anderson’s guest-appearance rendition of Michael W. Smith’s “There She Stands” during WireWood’s set was the deal-sealer, and I realized that forces well beyond my sphere of influence had aligned to ensure (en-Schur?) a great evening for all involved. .

Next up in this three-part exercise in community connection was our “Meat-In II” (if the reference eludes you, just Google Gov. Jared Polis and March 20, 2021), two days later at the barn at Searle Ranch. A different challenge faced us at this hoedown held in support of a friend’s looming legal battle (let’s just say it’s a “high-steaks” situation; see what I did there?) … around 120 people with RSVPs plus party crew and musicians, and a Memorial Day Eve weather forecast of 54 degrees for the high with a sweet 90% chance of rain.

So what’s the right call here: soldier on (in keeping with the occasion), or postpone two weeks in hopes of mo betta weatha? You guessed it — only a half-dozen or so RSVPers contacted us with concerns about conditions, and we got the sense that folks would rather spend a rainy pre-holiday afternoon eating burgers and listening to live music at our place than staring out the window at home.

The 20-some walkups perfectly offset the 20 or so bow-outs, and while the outdoor portion of the event (pasture tours, cornhole, etc.) was a victim of the always-needed precipitation, the barn was abuzz. It reminded us that people are still seriously starved for social interaction without official guardrails, and we were thrilled to provide an outlet for this condition while raising a nice chunk of change for the aforementioned legal matter (the resolution of which we’re hoping to hear word of soon).

The last stop on this tour d’uplift was our buddy Rob Lundy’s 50th birthday hoot, which we agreed to host at the ranch on June 5. (Met his wife Jenny over a cowbell at Palmer Lake Pub earlier this year, and they’re now firmly in the Ash-fold.) Another veteran whose service is noted and duly appreciated, Rob had not been home for his b-day in several years and Jenny wanted to make it a memorable occasion. And as the clouds parted (literally), we got the meteorological mirror-image of the previous Sunday: 80-degree weather and sunshine. This opened the door (the gate, actually) for our full “Meat, Moo-sic and Monkeyshines” routine — Longhorn pasture tours followed by Longhorn burgers on the grill, games, hay bale steer-head roping and kids running around outside, music and dancing inside.

The piece de resistance, which again found a deserving charitable cause as its centerpiece, was the birthday boy’s impromptu, voluntary, from-the-neck-up shave, in full public view and performed to the accompaniment of the “Sheep-Shearing Blues” (in E, of course). Two of Rob’s buds got in of this fun, and the passing of the hair-dare jar netted $375 for Tri-Lakes Cares. So there you have it … a few more glimpses of human goodness, right here in the ‘hood.

We’ll talk a little freedom, independence, rugged individualism, perseverance, adaptability and survival instinct — with a “Texas twist” — in the June 30 edition. Stay out of trouble ‘til then!

Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at

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