Celebrate a sense of community in Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Celebrate a sense of community in Rifle

Carla Jean Whitley

If you get to talking to people about the towns they call home, certain terms are likely to pop up. Authenticity. Sense of place. Organic.

Those ideas have been key in Rifle, which positions itself as the home of real Western adventure. And though you’re just as likely to hear those phrases in communities throughout the Western Slope, their meaning is different in each place.

“We’re a little bit of the everything bagel,” said Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist. “You’ve got a little bit of the old west stuff and the new west stuff. That’s really what we’re best at. It’s really true — what’s unique about us is you can choose your own adventure. Whatever lifestyle you have, you don’t have to be pigeonholed.”

Rifle will continue to rally as a community during this weekend’s Western Adventure Weekend — and the event is designed to embrace that mentality. It’s full of music and entertainment, art and a beer garden. There’s also a 5K and mountain bike race, plus an adventure area with climbing walls, a paddleboard pool and more.

It’s a taste of the community’s distinct identity.

“Especially in today’s world, people can really see through anything that’s not authentic. I think that’s what we’re trying to build is that sense of place, that sense of identity,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist doesn’t speak only as a city employee; in fact, he’s quick to say it’s the everyday residents who give the town its personality and are vital to determining its direction. He’s got a stake in that, too, as Rifle is Lindquist’s home.

“You have access to all the resort stuff, but it still is a real place,” he said. It’s not a community where second homes sit empty for seasons at a time, but where you’re likely to encounter a mix of ranchers, miners and hippies at any moment.

“It’s a town that’s big enough to where it has all the little pieces, but it’s not so big that it all loses track of each other,” he said.

Every community could benefit from a sense of togetherness, a celebration of its identity. Rifle hopes the fourth weekend of September will become its time to celebrate just that.

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