‘Triple-header’ for Rock Ledge on Labor Day

       In recent years, the annual old-fashioned baseball game has been the one big attraction on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7) at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. But this year's it's the start of a triple-header.
       The game, pitting the usual carpetbaggers from the Denver area against the wholesome local lads, will be at 1 p.m., followed later by a music concert and a large- screen movie, both outdoors.
       Regular ranch ticket prices will apply until 5 p.m.; after that, admission will be free.
       Scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and to last two hours, the concert outside the Orchard House will feature bluesman Willie Houston, whose free concert in June was cut short after 20 minutes by a rainstorm. “He wanted to come back,” ranch manager Andy Morris said. “He loves Colorado Springs.”
       The movie, shown on a large inflatable screen near the Rock Ledge House, will follow at twilight (probably near 8 p.m., according to Morris). It will be a 41-minute preview of Ken Burns' new 12-hour documentary: “The National Parks - America's Best Idea.”
       The baseball game, played by 1880s rules, will be contested on the hayfield near the Rock Ledge House and apple orchard. The local team, the Camp Creek Cloud Busters, will consist of Rock Ledge docents and other upstanding men and women from the community - possibly even including a few “hard rock miners” and 1800s-era personalities, coyly pledged the ranch manager/team captain.
       The opponents, as usual, will be players from various teams in the Denver-area Colorado Vintage Baseball Association, whose teams play each other using old-time rules through the summer. In the earlier years of the annual competition, this seemed to give them an edge, but the Cloudbusters have emerged victorious the past two years and three of the last four.
       “All I heard was rumors,” Morris quipped, “but no doubt their feelings are hurt, because we took them to the woodshed the last two years.”
       The game is basically played by 1880s rules, in which fielders wear no gloves and balls caught on one bounce are outs.
       Game attendees are welcome to bring picnic lunches and to spread out around the diamond, even to catch balls that come their way. But beware of tossing them back to the “enemy” fielders on the fly (if caught in the air or on one hop), because then the local lad who hit it will be called out. Of course, the opposite behavior is encouraged when the Cloudbusters are in the field, according to Morris.
       The Rock Ledge gates open at 10 a.m. Sept. 7. The city-owned “living history” facility is off Gateway Road, just west of 30th Street.

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