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Rock Ledge Ranch, annual vintage baseball game Sept. 1 - photos

After chasing a ball into a group of spectators ("cranks"), Camp Creek Cloud Busters outfielder Noah "Fireball" Harms fires the ball back to the infield during one of the Territorial All-Stars rallies in the annual Labor Day vintage baseball game Sept. 1 on the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site's hayfield (mowed for the occasion). The All-Stars, a collection of "ballists" from a Denver-area vintage league, took an early lead, stretching it to 5-1 after five innings and maintaining that edge the rest of the way. As is traditional, the game was played by mid-1800s rules, which fits the historic style of the city-owned working ranch off 30th Street at Gateway Road. The Cloud Busters are made up of ranch staffers, volunteers and other local Rock Ledge supporters who get together once a year to practice a few times and then play the Labor Day game. According to ranch manager/team captain Andy "Anvil" Morris, the ranch's attendance Sept. 1 (950 people) set a Labor Day record for Rock Ledge.
LEFT: In a short between-innings skit, Presidents Abe Lincoln (left) and Teddy Roosevelt (right) foil an attempted kidnapping of the latter. Don Moon (playing the more recent of the two chief executives) said the enactment was based on an actual incident when Roosevelt was visiting Cripple Creek in 1900. RIGHT: A Cloud Busters runner is safe at second as an All-Stars throw sails high.
LEFT: John "Shots" Winters, the Cloud Busters first-base "tender" (an 1800s term), looks to tag an All-Stars runner struggling to keep his foot on the bag after a late throw from an infielder. RIGHT: Suffragettes parade onto the field for a rally (an annual between-innings event during the annual game), as Cloud Busters players look on from their bench. Both the "presidents" on hand (Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt) marched in support of the ladies, despite being reminded that during their actual terms in office women did not yet have the right to vote.
Sporting their new uniforms, Camp Creek Cloud Busters players sing to the crowd before the game (another mid-1800s tradition). With tongue in cheek, ranch manager/team captain Morris (second from left in front) had suggested earlier that the uniforms - donated by ranch supporters - might have "space-age" properties that would boost his players' capabilities. Instead, he proclaimed mournfully afterward, his athletes got too caught up in how they looked and this affected their performance. "The boys were posing instead of playing," Morris lamented. "I saw them out there complimenting each other, and one of them even had a small mirror that he kept looking at himself in." The loss was the Cloud Busters' second straight in the annual game. "It's a bitter pill, and I take full responsibility," Morris said. He suggested that what he should have done was work in the new uniforms slowly - perhaps starting with the shirts the first year, then the next year the socks, and so forth. In any case, he predicted, "Next year we'll be ready. The bloom is off the rose."

Westside Pioneer photos
(Posted 9/1/14; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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