Without further delay, here are the remaining winners and finalists for the TMJ’s annual Best Of Cripple Creek contest. In our March 3 issue, we focused on mostly casino and business-related winners. In this issue, we deal with more of the individual contests, with a few exceptions. We appreciate everyone who participated, as the number of responses was outstanding. Also, we especially want to thank Kim Francis for his hard work in tallying the ballots and for resisting staunch lobbying antics on behalf of many contestants.
Best Casino Manager and Head Boss
1.Marc Murphy/Bronco Billy’s
2.David Minter/Johnny Nolon’s
Honorable Mention: Kevin Werner/Wildwood
In only makes sense that Marc Murphy, the general manager of Bronco Billy’s since the birth of limited stakes gaming, grabbed the gold as the best casino manager and head boss. Murphy has held the Billy’s managerial reins since the first week of gaming (the only manager who can say that), when Billy’s was a tiny place with a few bar stools and a few machines. In addition, he has overseen seven major expansions and played a key role in maintaining the casino’s reputation as a true Colorado casino. You can probably catch Marc now, overseeing the company’s newest surge into the former Gold Rush at the same time, he is strongly involved in the community, with the Aspen Mine Center and various groups.
David Minter, known as a local gaming wizard, and also noted for his strong British accent, (how many people in Cripple Creek have a real English accent), captured the silver. Minter is a gaming veteran from the early 1990s, who actually got his start locally as the head general manager of the Colorado Grande, and is spotted occasionally doing such crazy things as competing in the Mine to Mine running race and actually talking to certain newspaper publishers. (Don’t hold that against him.)Both Eric Rose and Kevin Werner, two well-known casino managers who enjoy voicing their opinions at council meetings regarding gaming issues, also garnered many tallies.
Best Local Personality
1.Empress (Bronco Billy’s)
2. Melissa Trenary
Honorable Mention: Les Batson/Amanda May
No competition, whatsoever, in another big win for Empress (Paradise Emperatriz), known as the mini-ambassador for Bronco Billy’s and the Cripple Creek community as a whole. Empress is known for her colorful stories and friendly demeanor, especially when greeting customers. But when it comes to story-telling, it’s hard to beat the antics of Melissa (Missy) Trenary, of the Two Mile High Club, who often holds court in Ralf’s. The truth of these stories is up to interpretation, but they are entertaining to say the least. And not surprisingly, the donkeys gained notoriety again as the favorite attraction of many visitors. Meanwhile, Les Batson and Amanda May of the former Amanda May’s Café and Catering received quite a few tallies. Another hint to our friends of the Aspen Mince Center: Please find a suitable tenant for this coffee shop and lunch outlet immediately.
Best Public Servant.
1.Debbie Blevins/City of Cripple Creek
2. Sgt. Jim Borgioli/Cripple Creek Police Department
3. Ted Borden/Aspen Mine Center
Honorable Mention: Bill Burcaw
In a big change from past years, Debbie Blevins, the head city clerk of Cripple Creek, emerged as the overwhelming winner in this competitive race. Blevins has been a mainstay of the Creek clerk’s office for many years, serving under a variety of administrations and personalities, not to mention surviving huge changes in the town’s business and political environment. In many ways, she has gained a reputation as the stable anchor of city hall, which has experienced a spree of different city administrators, but the same city clerk has remained in office. Meanwhile, Sgt. Jim Borgioli of the Cripple Creek Police Department snagged the silver, while Ted Borden of the Aspen Mine Center received the bronze.
Best Non-Gaming Employee
1 Bill Burcaw/City of Cripple Creek
2. The staff of Ralf’s
3. Les Batson/Amanda May’s Cafe
Honorable Mention: The employees at Family Dollar
Bill Burcaw, a popular shuttle driver for the city of Cripple Creek, who also owns the 9494 gift shop, scored a convincing repeat win as this year’s best non-gaming employee. No competition. Snagging the runner-up spot were the employees at Ralf’s, who must deal with occasional visits by wandering TMJ staffers and occasional crazy locals. And Les Batson, who most recently worked at the former Amanda May’s, snagged the bronze.
Best Employee (Casino)
1. Monica Weller/Bronco Billy’s
2. Jeff Attaway/Johnny Nolon’s
3. Shawna Shelton/Century
Monica Weller, an extremely popular employee at Bronco Billy’s for the last five years, emerged as the clear victor in the showdown for the best casino employee (and the best card dealer to go with it.) Weller won the same title a year ago, and has been a top contender in previous Best Of contests. But Jeff Attaway of Nolon’s and Shawna of Century also racked up the tallies.
1 Jennifer Eustace/Colorado Grande
2. Annette Palmer/Century
3. The bartenders of Bronco Billy’s
Cripple Creek, with the advent of gaming, has gained quite a reputation for its great assortment of bartenders ready to cheer up local winners and losers. Jennifer Eustace, a veteran bartender of Colorado Grande, repeated this title again in an extremely tight competition. Many readers, though, voted for some of their favorites from Century and Bronco Billy’s.
Best Card Dealer
1. Monica Weller/Bronco Billy’s
2. Steve Trout/Triple Crown
3. Annette Palmer/Century
Monica Weller again cleared the house in the Best Card Dealer championship, a new competition we added this year, with the increasing popularity of table games.
Best Waiter Staff
1. JP McGill’s
2. Midnight Rose
3. Bronco Billy’s
The competition for the best waiter in town was too close to call. And there is no more time for recounts. However, the vast majority of Best Of participants favored the waiter staff at McGill’s Pint and Platter. After all, Cripple Creek has quite an Irish heritage, so it only makes sense that patrons enjoy the friendly service inside the town’s prime Irish pub. Many readers, though, lauded the wait-staff at the Down Under inside Midnight Rose and the Bronco Billy’s Steakhouse.
Best Rumor Monger
1. Lou Goldman/Cripple Creek Candy
2. Cripple Creek City Council/Local Bartenders
3. Melissa Trenary
Let’s face it. Cripple Creek is a town that thrives on rumors, and prides itself on some amazing creators and circulators of these always accurate stories. By a fairly substantial margin, Lou Goldman, the owner of Cripple Creek Candy and Variety, is once again, the official Rumor Monger King by an overwhelming mandate. Lou is known for voicing his opinions at city council meetings and standing up for the small, non-gaming business guy. And at times, local government observers, including journalists from the TMJ, can always gain a better idea of what is happening at city hall by talking with Lou, especially when it comes to the annual veterans and motorcycle rally. However, the folks Lou sometimes criticizes, the Cripple Creek City Council, didn’t fare too bad in the Rumor Monger showdown, as did the CC bartenders. In fact, they say in Cripple Creek, start a rumor on one side of town, and see how the story evolves several hours later on the opposite side of CC. Not surprisingly, Missy Trenary made another strong showing in this competition.
Best Local Rumor
There are too many for final votes, but here are a few highlights:
Les (Batson) for Mayor
The Candy Store is for sale
The Cripple Creek City Council works for the people
Missy (Trenary) needs to keep her mouth shut
Did the downtown construction hurt business?
Honorable Mention: This contest is fair.
Dumbest Question Asked by a Tourist
When do the deer turn into elk?
Are the donkeys real?
Where is Hwy. 67?
Where can I gamble?