Above the law
Ken Youland likes his guns, just like his pistol-packing hero.”My ultimate old-time Old West gun fighter was Doc Holliday,” said Youland, who started the Garfield County Regulators six years ago. “He was afraid of nothing and died with his boots off in bed. He knew he was going to die. I’m happy to say he’s buried in Glenwood.”Youland plays Town Marshall John Rennix, the New Castle peace officer who saloon owner William “Billie” Griffith shot on Nov. 24, 1910, during a deadly gun battle. He and his Garfield County Regulators are re-enacting the historical shootout at high noon Saturday at Burning Mountain Festival.”I’ve been doing gun fights for close to 10 years,” he said. “I just really enjoy the historical aspect of it.”The 45-year-old Rifle resident hit the history books hard for the re-enactment of the shootout.According to “The Legend of the Burning Mountain: An Early History of New Castle,” by Post Independent managing editor Dale Shrull, the shootout showered Main Street with bullets and left three men dead. Griffith killed William Davis and Rennix, who died the day after in the Glenwood Springs Sanitarium. Shortly after shooting Davis and Rennix, Griffith committed suicide while staying at the old Trimble Building. A posse from Glenwood Springs came by train to help with the shootout.”I went to the museum in New Castle, did some research, found out what happened from newspaper accounts from eye witnesses in 1910, and got some really good dialogue that we’ll be using,” Youland said. “It will be really impressive.”For Burning Mountains Festival chair Patti Reich, the shootout reenactment with the Regulators is a dream come true.
“I’m so proud of that. It was one of my visions, because of the theme, ‘Spirit of the Old West,'” she said. “I was lucky enough to find Ken, who went down to the museum and met with Joe and Lorraine McNeal. They pulled out all the information for him.Reich expects the spirit of the Old West to take hold of Main Street in New Castle – this time, with blanks.”We’re actually having the shootout in the exact spot where it happened,” she said. “The building Griffith’s coming out of is the same structure. It’s a residence now, but we had permission to use the building.”Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
Burning Mountain Festival scheduleFriday• 69 p.m. – Taste of New Castle with music by John Adams, Burning Mountain ParkSaturday• 710 a.m. – West Care Ambulance breakfast, Guild Hall; Kids Corral, east side of Burning Mountain Park; park open for socializing (bring lawn chairs)• 9 a.m. – Food and craft vendors open for business; silent auction at the park next to the library; museum open for tours• 10 a.m. – Car shows rides through town to signal the start of the parade
• High noon – Gunfight on Main Street by the Garfield County Regulators• 1 p.m. – Hip hop show, New Castle Community Center; Western Slope Cloggers, Burning Mountain Park• 1:309:30 p.m. – live music in Burning Mountain Park; T. Ray Becker 1:30-3:30; Jimmy Ibbotson 4-6 p.m.; Cowboy Attitude 7-9:30 p.m.Sunday• 710 a.m. – West Care Ambulance pancake breakfast at the Community Center benefiting West Care Ambulance Service• 9:30 a.m. – Church in the parkShoot ’em ups and bean bag tossin’Along with the shootout re-enactment, live music, two beer gardens and a Texas Hold ’em Tournament, Burning Mountain Festival activities include fun for little ones. The Kids’ Corral features old-fashioned entertainment such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey, a clothes pin-dropped-in-a-bottle game, and a bean-bag toss. Every child wins a prize. Also, adults can still sign up for the car show – $15 today and $25 Saturday. Pre-register by calling Chappie Cook at 984-2928.
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