Marolt: Well, you can’t say Horse Ranch sign V.3 is writing on the wall | AspenTimes.com
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Marolt: Well, you can’t say Horse Ranch sign V.3 is writing on the wall

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

I know a lot of you have been anxious lately. You saw the crane. You smelled the construction dust, heard the drills and hammers, and saw the hard-hatted, steel-toed workers scurrying about. You even might have been caught in the traffic that was stopped while the final pieces were bolted in place. And you knew it was only a matter of when, and not if, I was going to go off on the new and greatly improved, or at least fortified, monument at the gateway to the world-famous Horse Ranch subdivision of Snowmass Village.

I’ll warn you right now, I am not going to be ripping and tearing this week. I am finally starting to understand that a sign at the entrance to your neighborhood is an important way to make a first impression.

Think about it: If you happen to live in a neighborhood without a sign, the only way people passing through it can know anything about you is if they actually meet you or see your new Audi in the driveway. But what if you are not home? Then strangers might be left to judge you only by the sticky-handed, green-lipped, unlicensed kids selling lemonade on the corner.

There are reasons gargantuan signs were invented, and most of them are antiquated and beside the point anymore. If you need to find something nowadays, like a business, a house or a free toilet, you simply plug the address or name into a map app on your smartphone and follow directions from the friendly electronic voice of your choosing. Soon, all signs will be replaced with barcodes you can scan at 90 feet from a moving vehicle to get all the information you need about any place. A small sign on the door of your destination will be just to confirm that technology works.

This, however, is no reason to do away with monstrously oversized signs. The gargantuan sign is no longer about where you are but who you are. We are HORSE RANCH!!!!!!!!

But first, a little history. About 20 years ago when the Horse Ranch planned-unit-development plat was approved for a subdivision, the people trying to sell lots there erected a nice little faux gate across the road with an iron sculpture of galloping horses attached to the top of it. The small logs they used looked like they might have been cut on the property. It wasn’t great, but nobody knew Horse Ranch from road apples, so a small landmark was in order to let people know that this was the right place to speculate on real estate.

That first sign lasted about 10 years before it rotted and fell down. By then, all the lots were sold, and most residents of Horse Ranch knew where they lived, so the logical thing was to say, “Too bad that old sign fell down. Oh, well — we don’t need it anymore, anyway.”

But homeowners’ associations were created to do stuff, and this presented a great opportunity. They rebuilt the thing with sequoia saplings that were twice as big around as the originals. As it turned out, the sign lasted half as long. A big wind blew it down a couple of years ago, and many thought that second coming of the dry rot was enough to convince anyone that the sign wasn’t meant to be.

We might not be able to control global warming, but the Horse Ranch HOA was hell-bent on proving its dominance over Mother Nature in its neighborhood. Horse Ranch sign V.3 is colossal. I bet it cost $40,000. It is 10 tons of in-your-face concrete painted to look like real-big, authentic Western Glulams. It’s so big, in fact, that it gives you the impression that the galloping horses on the top are now trying to make their way across Nevada and are worried about finding water soon. I can’t wait to see it on Google Earth!

Anyway, as I was saying, the sign says something about the people who live in Horse Ranch: We are stubborn — stubborn to a fault. We’ll never give up. We won’t be beaten, up or down! While people with less moxy might have reasoned that the original sign needing to be replaced about every 10 years at a cost of only a few hundred bucks would be a decent plan to go with, we built a sign to outlast epochs — nuclear holocaust, glacial movement, volcanic activity and Armageddon be damned!

Neighborhood pride — that’s what I’m talkin’ about. HORSE RANCH!!!!!!! forever!

Roger Marolt wonders what Richter scale number we’ll hit when V.3 falls down. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com.


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