CRIPPLE CREEK – Thousands of motorcyclists are riding into Cripple Creek this weekend for a huge rally to honor veterans.
It’s the 26th Annual Salute to American Veterans Rally and the 31st Annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride. With veterans traveling from all over the country to Cripple Creek, it means a small gold mine for businesses in town.
Rick Sweeney, manager at Colorado Grande Casino & Hotel, said, “We’re totally booked for the weekend.”
Marc Murphy, general manager at Bronco Billy’s Casino, said the same is true at the casino and the Imperial Hotel. Accommodations in town aren’t the only things filling up.
Sweeney said, “Most of the restaurants and local adult beverage areas of the casinos get a lot of people up here.”
With all the traffic, it means cash is rolling in to Cripple Creek for the Veterans Rally.
Murphy said, “The motorcycle riders come from across the country and this is one of the larger rallies, not as large as Sturgis, but almost as popular.”
Stacie Decker is attending the rally and said she’s seen license plates from “New Mexico. I’ve seen Canada.”
As Murphy said, the event puts Cripple Creek on the map and supplements business from summer tourism.
“For the economy it’s a boost not only for the casinos in town, but also for the other small businesses.”
One of those small businesses is The Rocky Mountain Canary General Store.
Owner Lois Woods said, “Every event that we have up here has kept the store going.”
She said her biggest sellers during the Veterans Rally are souvenirs, but also ice cream.
“I think our record was 150 three-gallon tubs.”
She’s owned the general store for almost 50 years, welcoming these visitors for the rally for about half that time.
“We really feel honored to be able to honor our veterans.”
Murphy said, “We appreciate all they’ve done for us.”
Business owners said they are thankful to all veterans for serving courageously, and of course, for helping the Cripple Creek economy to thrive.
Stay with News 5 this weekend for continuing coverage of the Veterans Rally.