Broncos visit the fans in Rifle |

Broncos visit the fans in Rifle

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

RIFLE – The big orange flag said “Rifle is Broncos Country.”On Monday, the Rifle Broncos fans proved it was a true statement.A few hundred fans came out to Davidson Park across from Highland Elementary School to meet Broncos Ring of Famer Billy Thompson, Broncos Cheerleaders and Miles the mascot, and to see the two Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophies and to sign the “Rifle is Broncos Country” flag that will fly at the top of Invesco Stadium at Mile High.

Dozens of kids attended the event, many in little Broncos jerseys, thrilled by high fives from Miles and the chance to catch balls from the Broncos’ punt-catch machine.A few catches were made, while many struggled with the high, spiral balls coming at them. Ryan Imondi, a 12-year-old Rifle resident, caught a few balls, which was more than most. Imondi, who plays left tackle for the Rifle Cubs football team, may have a future on the Bronco special teams squad. He has a good philosophy for pulling in balls. “You just gotta be patient,” he said.Whether or not the balls were caught or dropped the kids were having a good time, but they admitted it wasn’t easy.

“It is a little bit hard because you don’t know where it’s going when it gets up there,” said Sergio Cardenas, another 12-year-old Rifle resident.The Coal Ridge High School cheerleaders attended the event, and even did a cheer when one of the Titan girls won Broncos merchandise in a raffle.Fans waiting in line for an autograph from Thompson, a former safety, kick/punt returner and three-time Pro Bowler with the Broncos from 1969-81 were privileged to hear stories from his playing days.

“I was a quarterback in high school, but when I got to college (at Maryland State, now Maryland-Eastern Shore) they said ‘No, you are a defensive back,'” Thompson said to young fans.The shift worked well, as Thompson finished his career with the third most interceptions in Bronco history.Despite the fact that the Broncos have lost three games in a row, the aura among fans was still positive on Monday.”I am a die-hard Bronco fan, whether they are winning or losing, it don’t matter,” said Rifle resident Scott Edwards, who was dressed head-to-toe in Broncos gear. “I came out today because they were here and just to get out of the house.”

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