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Shitkickers Ball

Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

One of the highlights of the autumn season is the Shitkickers Ball, a real Western dinner and dance at the Hotel Jerome. Everyone wears cowboy and cowgirl outfits and the band plays two-steps, waltzes and jitterbugs.

What a wild time everyone had on the dance floor! Lots of real ranchers came from Aspen, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and the valleys in between. From Glenwood came architect Greg Cole, a former Aspen city planner who now lives in California but is in Glenwood renovating a building he owns there. He wore a cowboy hat that belonged to the late Bob Child, a Capitol Creek rancher and Pitkin County commissioner. Bob’s son, Steve Child, and his wife, Molly Child, now live on and work the Child Ranch and they loaned Greg the hat.

Hosts for the Shitkickers Ball this year were Kyle Boyd, Stan Seligman, Stan Bialek, Joan and Kent Shodeen, Sandra and Jim Dukas, Howard Nitschke, Nell Graham, John Werning, Lyn Segal, Kelley Carson, Joanie and Lee Leavenworth, Peggy Briscoe, Bob West and Mimi Glas.

Stopping by the office the other day was former Aspenite Art Myers. He and his wife, Jeanne, sold their house in Loveland last year and are now living on a sailboat in Ensenada, Baja California. They will be in Loveland from November to January, while Art works on a sculpture commissioned by the city of Bloomingdale, Ill. While in Aspen they are helping Carolyn and Jay Diffenbaugh move, as the Diffenbaughs just sold their Aspen house.

The December 2003 issue of House Beautiful magazine includes an article entitled “Rocky Mountain Christmas” that features Carolyne Roehm in her Aspen home.

Had a phone call the other day from Harriet Smith of Grand Junction. She and her late husband, Paul Smith, used to be in Aspen often as Paul put in the Trap and Gun Club west of town, which is now the Aspen Airport Business Center. Paul was the Winchester Rifle representative for this area. The Smiths lived in Denver awhile, and Paul’s favorite restaurant there was the Buckhorn Exchange, a very old-time Western place that was owned by former Aspenite Steve Knowlton and others.

Holding their 13th annual Halloween Party on Halloween night at the Aspen Square Conference room were Marilyn Buchanan, Marilyn Carruthers, Sam Hill, Fanda Kladek, Lynda and Bill Meier, Sandra Murray, Donna Rowlands and Steve Serna.

A must-read book for Aspenites is “Devil’s Bargains: Tourism in the 20th Century American West” by Hal K. Rothman, a professor of history at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. As the flyleaf describes, “From major destinations like Las Vegas to revitalized towns like Aspen and Moab, Rothman reveals how the introduction of tourism into a community may seem innocuous, but residents gradually realize, as they seek to preserve the authenticity of their communities, that decision-making power has subtly shifted from the community itself to the newly arrived corporate financiers.” As examples, the author uses the resort communities of Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Las Vegas, Santa Fe and the island of Maui. It is fascinating reading, and helps put into perspective what did happen and what is happening to Aspen.

Undercurrent … I think the best breakfast this time of year is a piece of pumpkin pie.


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