Bobby Julich’s Homecoming Party |

Bobby Julich’s Homecoming Party

Bobby Julich’s best ride last week was down memory lane.

Last Thursday at the Buffalo Valley, some of his biggest fans welcomed the pro cyclist home for the first time since he returned from the Tour de France.

“We’ve been with him forever,” said former classmate Starr English, one of Julich’s high school cronies who were intent on not letting Julich forget his homeboy roots in the afterglow of an Olympic Bronze medal.

They knew him before he was a CNN crawl.

They knew that before he was hell on wheels he needed training wheels. They knew that as a 5-year-old, Julich screamed bloody murder when John Martin, then a Glenwood Springs police offer, put a flag on his bike at the annual bike safety rodeo. Julich wa so upset, he nearly tipped over on his bike and needed assistance through the entire obstacle course.

“He’s progressed tremendously,” Martin said.

To those closest to him, there was never any question that he would always be a winner. “We always just knew,” English said. “He always just had that drive.” And while they insist he’s still just one of the guys, Roman Hassell proved it.

Sure, Julich avoids epic pileups at 65 mph and maneuvers hairpin turns just right, but not even Bobby Julich can evade a prank from Roman Hassell. It happened during the autograph session.

Of course the lesson here is one Julich already knows: never ask a buddy to get you water and be very suspicious when Roman Hassell is obedient to such a request.

After getting the water at the bar, Hassell stopped in front of John Doose, who was talking to his former teachers, Bob and Annie Brooks, when Hassell displayed a cool Budweiser in his right hand, which was for himself, and a glass of water in his left hand for Julich. “Bobby’s thirsty,” Hassell said. Then he licked the entire rim of Julich’s water glass.

Doose shot a deadpan look at Bob Brooks. “Budweiser: $2.25; licking Julich’s water glass: priceless.”

It was the kind of antics the Brookses remembered from the boys in their days at Glenwood Springs High School. But evidently sisterhood is more sacred than brotherhood because Kristina Downing is sworn to secrecy about Julich.

However, while Downing refused dishing the dirt about the quality time Julich spent with her older brother, James, at their house, her stepfather, Dale Hancock, had no reservations.

“They drank my beer and ate my food!” he said. Those were some of the moments that Julich remembers most. And because of them, no matter how many roads he travels, there will always be sacred and familiar ground for Bobby Julich.

It’s here.

It was here that he learned true friendship.

It was here that he met those who would always be there for him.

It was here that he had a team when there was no team.

It was here that he had a crowd when there was no audience.

And last week, he came home to thank them all.

The Julich family from left, Bernadette Julich, of Glenwood, is Bobby’s mother, a grants coordinator for CMC and a member of Sunrise Rotary; Bobby Julich; his wife, Angela; and Bobby’s sister, Robin Julich, of Glenwood, a design consultant at Splash Home.

Some of Julich’s GSHS classmates, from left, Joe Luetke, of Glenwood, works for Glenwood Insurance; John Doose, of New Castle, an oil and gas consultant and a ReMax agent; Roman Hassell, of Montrose, teaches eighth grade; and Starr English, of Montrose, a banker at Wells Fargo.

Event organizers, from left, Walt Brown, of Glenwood, an attorney; and

Elsbeth and Kurt Wigger, of Glenwood, own the Buffalo Valley and Sopris restaurants.

From left, Kristina Downing, of Glenwood, works at Balentine Collection International; Dale Hancock, of Glenwood, is operations director for Garfield County; and Angela Hancock co-owns Peppo-Nino Restaurant.

From left, Lisa Bontempo, of Glenwood, works at Sunglasses Panache in Snowmass Village; David Ice, of Glenwood, is a builder; and Jenna Bontempo, 16, of Basalt, is a junior at Basalt High School.

From left, Lawson Wills, of Aspen, an attorney; Sheila Wills, of Aspen, a real estate developer; and Eric McCafferty, of Glenwood, an entrepreneur.

Pat and Dan LeVan, of Glenwood, retired, taught at Glenwood Springs High School.

From left, Ann Stewart, of Glenwood, a physical education teacher and coach at Basalt Middle School; Barbara Adams, of Carbondale, a special education teacher at Mt. BOCES; and Bill Gray, of No Name, a real estate appraiser.

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