In a rare high point for the Camp Creek Cloud
Busters, Kyle "Beast" Gamache is cheered by his teammates as he crosses the plate
with a home run in the fifth inning of the Labor Day game on the Rock Ledge
Ranch hayfield. Also looking on at right (less enthusiastically) are members of the
opponents, the Denver All-Stars. Gamache's blast soared into right field, just
south of the Rock Ledge House, scattering some of the cranks while the Denver
All-Star fielders gave futile chase. The hit put the Cloud Busters down just 4-3,
but their foes scored six runs in their next at-bat to pad a lead they would never
relinquish. Note: The man sitting at the table under the umbrella is the
Photo essay: Action at the annual Rock Ledge Ranch Labor Day vintage baseball
With close to 1,000 “cranks” sitting close by in their anachronistic sling chairs,
Camp Creek Cloud Busters lost for the third straight year to the Denver All-Stars
in the annual vintage game played on Labor Day (Sept. 7) at the Rock Ledge
Ranch Historic Site hayfield.
The final score, 13-8, was actually closer than it seemed, with a couple of smashes
by Cloud Buster hitters down the left-field line - one ruled foul, the other fair -
wound up being
rally-killers for the local squad.
With the athletes in old-time uniforms, the game was played by mid-1800s rules,
which includes no fielding gloves, balls caught on a hop being outs and cranks
(fans) being able to catch balls and toss them to fielders for outs. This rule
especially helped the Cloud Busters, being the local squad.
Afterward, ranch manager/team captain Andy "Anvil" Morris grumbled about the
umpire's calls, but conceded that his team needs to “make a few changes in the
off-season and we'll be all right.”
As usual, the crowd got to see more than just a baseball game. Punkin, the ranch
cow, grazed in center field for a couple of innings; an “escaped convict” (played
volunteer Richie Thompson) stole a pie but got “caught” by Morris and pie-baker,
Rachel Tomaselli; and “Presidents” George Washington (Dave Wallace), Abe
Lincoln (Mike Houston) and Teddy Roosevelt (Don Moon) worked the crowd,
with Abe even lining a basehit for the Cloud Busters.
The All-Stars are a collection of "ballists" from a Denver-area vintage league.
They'd already played a game the week before, skunking a team from Manitou in
a first-time fundraiser for the town's Heritage Center. The Rock Ledge game, like
most ranch events, was a fundraiser too, because the city budget for the historic
site is well short of ranch costs.
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. Rock Ledge is a city-owned working ranch off 30th
Street at Gateway Road, styled after the late 1800s.
LEFT: After chasing a hit to the front porch of
the Rock Ledge House, Camp Creek right-fielder Scott "Red" Vehlewald fires
the ball in. RIGHT: During a break in the game, "convict" Richie Thompson slaps
a pie in the face of aggrieved "baker" Rachel Tomaselli. Fear not: She got him a
second later with the pie in her hand.
Bloomers flaring, Beth "Snake" Harmon - who
somehow got onto the Camp Creek team despite being a girl - runs out an infield
hit. Looking on at right is the game umpire and at left the Denver All-Stars
John "Shotz" Winters, a Camp Creek ballplayer
who doubles as ranch foreman, leads Rock Ledge cow Punkin into the outfield
during the fourth inning. She grazed there placidly for two innings before Winters
led her off. Despite offering a sizeable target, no balls hit her. Ranch manager
Andy Morris has previously explained that the girth of a cow is such that even
being hit by a ball would cause no damage.
After lining a basehit to left, "Abe Lincoln"
(Mike Houston) gets forced out at second on a ground ball by the next Camp
Creek batter. In the photo, the second-baseman has already touched the bag and
thrown toward first (the ball's in the air at upper left) in an attempt to get a double
Despite micro- (and even macro-) aggressive
taunts from the male ballplayers, suffragettes young and old (chiefly Rock Ledge
staffers and docents) interrupt the game to march onto the field. They were
seeking the vote for women and shorter working hours. They were vociferously
joined by "Presidents" Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, who failed somehow to
note that during their actual terms in office women were not yet able to vote.
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