These boots are made for entertaining
SILT, Colorado – When asked the secret to a happy life, 74-year-old cowgirl Anita Witt keeps it simple.”We have to have fun in life,” she said. “People who aren’t having fun, well they’re doing something wrong.”Whether she’s performing at a rodeo or visiting a nursing home, Witt brings the fun with her wherever she roams. The fun also comes in the form of her 6-year-old mix-breed dog, Spanky, and Witt’s trick horses, Trigger, Jos Cuervo, and 25-year-old Whiskey. “Spanky helps me wherever I go,” Witt said. “She’s my little girl. I worked with her every day when she was younger.”Today at 6:30 p.m., Witt and Spanky will bring their one woman-one dog show to the Silt Historical Park for a free family event. Witt said she enjoys showcasing Spanky’s talents as a canine entertainer. People love her tricks, Witt said. “She crawls and when I ask who wants ice cream, she holds up one paw,” she said. “Another trick she does is when I ask her which president she likes – any president, Obama or whoever is in office, she sticks her tongue out.”Witt has called the Roaring Fork Valley home since moving to Missouri Heights with her late husband, Don, in 1967. Along with performing, Witt is a historian of Western Slope cowboy lore, penning two books, “They Came from Missouri” and “I Remember One Horse: The Last of the Cowboys.” “I’ve been doing this so long, I don’t know what else to do,” said Witt, who celebrated her 74th birthday Sept. 13. “Once you’ve done something forever like I have, you just keep on doing it.”She is a familiar face at the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo, and community events such as today’s Silt Historical Society show and fundraisers for Aspen Valley Land Trust, Missouri Heights Schoolhouse, Aspen Public Radio and more.Bill Smith, president of the Silt Historical Society, said Witt embodies the Western culture the town strives to preserve with events such as Friday’s cowgirl show. “Our park portrays the history of this area in the early 1900s and we are trying to have monthly family events that will make the public aware of the park and bring them to it,” he said. “One of our members suggested a trick roper and we immediately thought of Anita, a local celebrity, who epitomizes what the park is all about. Cowboys, farmers, miners and those who supported them are what the park is all about. Anita definitely represents the cowboy/cowgirl part of this experience.”Smith said he hasn’t seen Witt perform in person, but is confident she will be a hit with kids and adults in the audience.”I personally am looking forward to seeing her perform for the first time. I have heard a lot of positive things about her over the years,” he said. “People I have talked to since she agreed to come have just raved about her.”Each year, Witt performs locally through the warm-weather months, then makes her annual trek to Texas for the winter. There, she and her animal entourage perform for Texans at a variety of venues once the leaves fall in the Roaring Fork Valley.”We go to Texas for the winters and we do our little show at hospitals, nursing homes, and events,” she said. “We just keep on cookin’. It can be hard though. It’s so beautiful here, I don’t want to leave.” Before the snow flies, Witt will continue entertaining Coloradans at community events like today’s show. The Silt Historical Park Porch Pickers kick off the event with live, local music. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., and Witt will perform at 7 p.m. The park’s historical buildings will be open, as guests can take a relaxed tour of the past.”Our guests should experience a fun, relaxed, and great time for the family similar to what might have been experienced in the early 1900s by the early valley residents,” Smith said.
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