~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Last Saturday the Fourth Of July festivities in Woodland Park continued into the weekend when a special unveiling of the newly installed stagecoach statue occurred at the Woodland Station property in the heart of the downtown
This celebration was touted as an official introduction ceremony for the statue, honoring the town’s western heritage. It featured food trucks and live music along with an official dedication speech.
The party started at noon with live music from three groups of local musicians. Members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) asked the owner of Rocky N Roll Music, Hector Herrera, if he could provide live music for the event. Herrera provided the P.A. system and stage setup and built a stage in the sheltered area at the entrance to Woodland Station.
The event started with a performance from the local duet Bret and Saide, featuring two skilled guitar players and singers. Next on stage were sounds by another local musician duo, Mountain Joe and Tea, a husband and wife team that played a guitar and snare drum. To finish the entertainment Six String Dave and Hector played with some guests to make up a full band on the stage last.
When the event first started, the weather didn’t cooperate, forcing a slight delay in the dedication ceremony. The fog was rolling in and the temperature was rather cold with brisk winds swirling. During the rest of the afternoon, the weather warmed up a little bit but temperatures stayed lower than they were in the days before the event and the chilly wind continued to create a small burden for spectators.
Due to the weather, the majority of the food trucks that were scheduled to be at the ceremony canceled due to weather. The only food vendor present was Carmelita’s Quesadillas, which is owned and operated by the owners of Woodland Park’s Carmen A Tapas restaurant.
But this factor didn’t put a damper on the stagecoach festivities.
After two hours of music, the stagecoach presentation began. DDA Board Member Nick Pinell, who played a key role in orchestrating the purchase of the statute for the DDA, was present to give a dedication speech.
During the dedication, Pinell described how he purchased the sculpture for the DDA and why they decided to place the work at the Woodland Station property. He also gave some history of it and talked about why he had recently added the cavalry stakes.
“A stagecoach actually would have to bring the people to Woodland Station to get them on the train to go wherever they were going,” Pinell said during his dedication speech. “The stagecoach itself was originally made in Santa Rosa, Mexico. I don’t know the name of the artist but if you look at it close enough especially on the horses, it is put together piece by piece and welded together. It is a pretty intricate piece of art. We wanted to give something for everybody who comes to the town to be able to take a chance to stop, take some pictures and enjoy it.”
According to the DDA board member, the stagecoach that was originally made in Mexico was procured by him for the DDA when one of the vendors he was working with mentioned it. The previous owner of the statue bought it in California and then brought it to Denver before showing it to Pinell.
Pinell was enthused about this piece of art because he believed it fit the theme the town is trying to create. He was able to work out a deal with the seller and get the $10,500 price tag dropped down to $8,000 by giving up the commission he would have made.
Due to a large number of donations received, the DDA decided to purchase the item. Pinell then drove to Denver and picked up and installed the stagecoach on the Woodland Station property near the Bert Bergstrom Park and rest area.
Last Friday, Pinell also added cavalry stakes from the late 1800s with ropes tied around them. These were provided by Woodland Hardware store as a last minute addition. “The cavalry stake was basically designed for the cavalry and their horses when they were out in the field,” Pinell said. “They would pop in their steaks and tie a rope to them to rope up their horses. So, I thought that adding them would be a good idea.”