Once a year, the small town of Cripple Creek, Colo., waves their best red, white and blue banners to welcome bikers from all over the country. All gather with one solitary purpose: to honor the men and women who have fought for freedom. The American Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek begins August 16. For the next few days, the riders will celebrate freedom and the people who made it happen. The only question is: will you be there to party with them?
What is Cripple Creek?
Cripple Creek is a historic village that sits at the base of Pikes Peak. The area surrounding the village is full of ghost towns, gold mines and rich, picturesque mountains. The climate during the summer is balmy, making it an ideal spot for bike travelers.
The town calls itself a major tourist destination for a couple of reasons. It has a rich history as a gold city. In 1890, a ranch hand struck gold in the area making this town part of the big rush. In 1961, it received recognition as a National Historic Landmark. Nowadays, Cripple Creek’s claim to fame is its annual motorcycle rally to honor veterans.
Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
The American Veterans Rally
The three-day event is officially titled the American Veterans Rally and Festival but many just call it the Cripple Creek Rally. Hog riders fill the streets to give back to those individuals that have put their lives on the line for this country. Hordes of bikes rumble down Highway 67 headed into the historic district.
In 2011, the residents of Cripple Creek welcomed approximately 60,000 riders from every state in the union looking to honor veterans. Highlights for this year’s event include:
- Veterans remembrance ceremony
- Saturday night street dance
- Wild West gun fighters
- Veteran’s parade
- Military aircraft flyovers
- Live music
While visiting the town, bikers enjoy the historic flavor of Cripple Creek and its sister city Victor while taking in the rally exhibits.
Honoring the Fallen
The event includes two key features to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This year, Cripple Creek will once again host The Wall, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial.
The other key focus of the rally is the POW Recognition Ride. In its 26th year, the state’s largest motorcycle procession starts at the Woodland Park High School on Saturday morning and travels through the mountains of Colorado before entering Cripple Creek. It’s best to stock up on motorcycle parts beforehand at other festivals, especially if you’re new at biking. Other Cripple Creek Rally-goers will surely be at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, where gift cards for motorcycle parts at BikeBandit.com are given away.
While in Cripple Creek
This area of Colorado has more going on than historic gold mines and motorcycle rallies. While in Cripple Creek, you will want to take advantage of some of the high stakes gaming. You can play in the Veteran’s Poker Run as part of the rally or visit one of the many local casinos.
The area has plenty of recreation to keep bikers busy, as well. It is a mountainous area, so there is fishing, whitewater rafting and kayaking within minutes of the rally.
This is the 21st year that the small town of Cripple Creek Colorado has opened its doors to motorcycle riders wanting to pay tribute to the brave men and women of the Armed Forces. This year you need to plan your vacation around the American Veterans Rally, because come August, the streets will fill up with shiny bikes and people looking to have some fun.
Author: Bruce Carlson – Bruce collects and fixes motorcycles, and then he writes about them. He could not picture a cooler job.