Flying tent injures bicyclists |

Flying tent injures bicyclists

ASPEN ” Five people were injured Thursday when a freak wind knocked down a 40-by-60-foot party tent at the Ride the Rockies compound near the Aspen Recreation Center.

The victims were taken to Aspen Valley Hospital where they were treated and released.

“All the people that went to the hospital…were released,” said Aspen City Attorney John Worcester, adding that one of the injured people looked “really bad because there was a lot of blood.”

“Sometimes God overpowers us,” said Steve Walters, general manager of Peak Party Rental, who said strong gusts after 6 p.m. and one “micro-burst” were strong enough to dislodge the party tent erected in the baseball field adjacent to the ARC.

“Basically it was strong enough winds to pick the tent up and throw it on its side,” Walters said.

A group of cyclists, on the fifth day of the 7-day tour through Colorado, were milling about among tables and chairs under the tent when it flipped, Walters said.

“One person got hit on the head by something and did get taken to the hospital. No one stayed overnight in the hospital. Apparently they were treated but they were OK,” Walters said.

“The tent was installed to typical standards. Also the fire marshal checked it out A-OK in the morning. We talked to him and he said everything looked fine,” Walters said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had that happen before.”

Walters noted it’s ironic that event planners rent tents as an insurance policy against bad weather, and said tents blowing over is an uncommon occurrence.

The tent was slightly torn and some metal components were bent, but Walters said after minor repairs, it will be back in use.

“I consider it an act of God,” Worcester said. “I’m sure everybody is calling their insurance company.”

Worcester wasn’t sure if it was three or five people taken to the hospital, noting that strict patient confidentiality laws prevented city officials from learning more about the injured individuals.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t worse. And I hope it doesn’t spoil people’s ride,” Worcester said.

Ride the Rockies participants left Aspen for Leadville Friday morning.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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