2023:  A Year to Remember

Last 12 Months Capped by Political Fights, Contested Elections, Tax Protests, Bizarre Crime Cases and More 
Trevor Phipps and Rick Langenberg
2023 may go down as one of the more eventful years on the Teller County radar, a time capped by fierce political battles, pivotal elections, tax protests and development and tourism booms; and yes, another case of too much bad behavior. In bidding good-bye to 2023, we highlight some of the prime stories and news trends that dominated our region in our print and online pages.

Woodland Park

The City Above the Clouds didn’t lack political drama in 2023, with a bombardment of controversial issues and political disputes, elections and lawsuits. So here we go down memory lane for the highlights.  If you are reading this now, please take off your boxing gloves.

STRs, STRs, and More STRs

This year, the Woodland Park City Council was basically overridden by debates surrounding the fate of short term rental (STR) properties in residential neighborhoods. In fact, members of a group vying to keep non-owner occupied STR businesses out of single-family residential neighborhoods could be seen at just about every council meeting speaking their minds.

The debates continued to the point where many were sick of hearing the acronym “STR” about halfway through the year. But as the year winded to an end, the debate reached a conclusion (for now at least) after the special election ruled that residents don’t want non-owner occupied STRs in their neighborhoods.

The year started with the conclusion to a citizens’ referendum petition that nullified an STR ordinance passed by council that would allow all STRs in most residential neighborhoods and set regulations for them. After the referendum petition was successful, the council went back to work and ended up imposing a moratorium on business licenses for STRs until next April.

Council then sent the issue back to the planning department and had them draft another STR ordinance that had caps on how many STRs would be allowed in residential neighborhoods. The council changed the ordinance and reduced the caps by the time it would be considered by the voters.

But the group of citizens’ who successfully repealed the previous STR ordinance, said “not so fast,” and feared their goal of having STRs banned in residential area, unless they were owner-occupied, would get negated.

Over the summer the group collected more than 1,300 signatures to put the issue of banning non-owner occupied STRs in residential neighborhoods on the ballot. After the petition was successful, the council chose to not approve the citizens’ proposal, and opted for a special election.

But the special election ballot came with one catch: The city council also opted to put their own ordinance on the ballot, which many thought was a move to confuse voters.

In any case, the election took place on Dec. 12 and the results sent a clear message that residents don’t want non-owner occupied/investor owned STRs operating in their backyards.

However, even though the citizens’ ordinance passed, current STR owners will have until the end of next year to shut down their non-owner occupied STR businesses. Council will then have to come up with some sort of regulations for the owner-occupied STRs that will be allowed in residential neighborhoods and all other STRs that will be permitted in commercially zoned districts.


Hot Council Issues

Besides STRs, the city council meetings hosted other fierce debates surrounding rather unusual issues, such as  allowing Verizon to build a cell tower next to the Woodland Aquatic Center. Even though it was allowed in the end, the council meeting was filled with those voicing their concerns that 5G was a way that lizard people could control the minds of humans.

Another heated issue dealt with giving their city manager authority in emergency situations. Some residents and councilmembers didn’t like the idea thinking that it would give the city manager authority to impose mask and vaccine mandates should another pandemic occur.

Woodland Park RE-2 School District

Without question, the RE-2 School District, capped by colorful meetings that often resulted in near fist fights and a barrage of name calling, grabbed the spotlight in 2023 as the entity that commanded local, regional, state and even national attention.

Lawsuits and an Election For the Record Books


In the beginning of the year, the Woodland Park School Board started controversy when they decided to hire Superintendent Ken Witt in a quick process that many thought didn’t give other candidates a fair chance. Witt’s arrival brought about protests and many were concerned about the district with him in charge.

When he first started in his position, Witt quickly started making waves with some of his decisions. He changed a district policy outlawing district staff from posting on social media or talking to news reporters about the district.

In fact, many labeled the new policy a “teacher gag order.” The issue would eventually cause the state and local teachers’ union to sue the district.

The issue was mediated in a federal court and the verbiage of the policy was changed to where both sides were content. Both sides declared victory, but residents were mainly happy that the issue was resolved without furthering the record-breaking amount of taxpayer dollars spent on legal fees since the new “Conservative” school board was elected in 2021.

Witt then continued angering local residents when he implemented the “American Birthright” Social Studies standards, which reportedly emphasized more focus on traditional patriotism and less emphasis on civic engagement and dissent.  Even though most don’t really know what that even means, there has been speculation that the state doesn’t recognize the standards and that the standards could bar students from receiving NCAA scholarships (claims the district has denied).

Witt and the school board also opted out of a new state law that would give more money for certain types of mental health services. Some claim that the move removed many needed mental health positions from the district, but the school board members say they still have as many counselors that are required by the state.

Right before the 2023 election came up in November, the district experienced a slew of lawsuits. One parent sued the district claiming that they discriminated against her religion when they banned her from an elementary school property for leading a religious card reading ceremony during lunchtime.


A Wild, Wacky, Heated and Downright Expensive Election

All of these events led up to perhaps the most heated election any local school district has ever seen. When it got close to November, three incumbent board directors (Cassie Kimbrell, Mick Bates, and David Illingworth) grouped together and labeled themselves the “conservative choice.”

Three other challenging candidates (Seth Bryant, Mike Knott, and Keegan Barkley) campaigned on changing what the school board as done over the last two years. The election became heated with reports of fist fights taking place on properties in the county over conflicting candidate signs.

In fact, the election was so controversial that even though several debates were held, none of the forums had all six candidates present. The election also shattered campaign spending records with nearly $140,000 spent on all sides.

But in the end, the “conservative slate” retained their majority power, but not by much. Bates and Kimbrell just barely beat Knott and Bryant by less than 100 votes.

Barkley however, dethroned Illingworth by more than a couple hundred votes. The verdict is still out on the potential impacts of the election, with this close of a tally.

Teller County

Teller County leaders spent much of 2023 battling state lawmakers regarding a spree of issues and familiar fights over local control, law enforcement protection, property taxes and much more. Here is a small sample of these feuds many of which will resurface next year, along with other key developments on the county’s political playing field.


ACLU Fight and Jail Blues


Earlier this year, the battle between the ACLU and the Teller County Sheriff that has been going on since 2018, came to a temporary conclusion. A local judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit.

However, state politics and the dominance of the Democratic Party on the legislative front kept this issue alive.


But after Judge Scott Sells ruled that the sheriff’s 287g agreement with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was legal for the second time, the ACLU and their lawmaker friends were not finished. The ACLU appealed the judge’s ruling again, while lawmakers worked towards pushing through legislation that would make it illegal for any police department or sheriff’s office to operate a detention facility for ICE.


And even though all three Teller County Commissioners testified against House Bill 23-100, it passed through both the Democrat-controlled State Senate and House with flying colors. But after the bill’s passage, Governor Jared Polis promised that he would help Teller County find ways to make up for the lost income, since Teller was really the only county in the state the bill’s passage affected.


But after the bill was passed, county officials said that the new law would not change much in how the Teller County Jail is operated. The officials said that the new law does not cover everything that the jail does with their 287g agreement with ICE and that they would continue operations basically the same.

Not Enough Manpower

Throughout much of 2023, the Teller County Sheriff’s office pleaded for assistance in grappling with a national and state problem, a shortage of officers.  Sheriff Jason Mikesell made a number of presentations at county meetings. He cited low pay as the major culprit, and feared negative consequence if this problem isn’t addressed. He stressed that the county’s escalating crime  rate is “isn’t as localized as it used to be.” In other words, according to the sheriff, more bad guys from outside the area are infiltrating Teller County. And unfortunately, Teller  has few officers to deal with this tide of growing crime, which puts a strain on calls for service in subdivisions.  Moreover, he worried about traffic control, with many of the tourism aspirations sought by Cripple Creek  And when plans were proposed for the Ice Castles attraction, the sheriff hit the alarm button even more.

With the release of the county’s record-breaking $38 million budget for next year, some of these concerns were partially put to bed. The county commissioners say a key element of the budget is increasing employee salaries.

But most likely, this issue will become another major subject of contention in 2024.


Tax Hike Explosion

Probably the biggest issue on the county horizon for 2023 deal with an explosion of probable property taxes, resulting from a huge increase in valuations.  2023 was a re-valuation year, and unfortunately for residents, these were done at the peak of the real estate boom, based on values assessed in late June 2022.

The end result is that values exploded at an alarming rate, with some properties experiencing a 100 percent increase. The average rate of hikes was estimated at 40-percent-plus. This translates to big hikes in property taxes.  The county assessor’s office and the commissioners conducted a variety of public meetings to inform residents of the situation, even prior to the release of these values.

But still, a big outcry occurred from Teller citizens, who put much of the blame on government officials. Elected leaders sought a legislative solution and lobbied hard at the state level for a bill proposed by Senator Mark Baisley that would allow for temporary tax relief by giving governments the right to lower mill levies and offer tax credits without repercussions from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) law. This bill was passed by state lawmakers.
However, Governor Jared Polis favored another package, which would provide more permanent relief, but by using  much of the taxpayer refund monies normally offered by TABOR.  This plan, though, would require voter approval, with a ballot issue referred to as Proposition HH. This plan generated one of the strongest campaigns ever mounted against a state initiative in the entire local region. Virtually all local governments and chamber organizations and businesses jumped on the anti-HH bandwagon. They referred to the governor’s plan as an outright assault against TABOR and just too confusing.  Despite the HH issue having an early lead in the polls, the initiative suffered a brutal defeat on Nov. 7 across the state. Locally, Prop HH was slaughtered.  This led to a special state legislative session that offered some relief to residents,but raised more questions than answers.  It was considered very partisan. Most governments in the area enacted temporary tax relief measures for property owners. In Teller County, this package amounted to more than $2 million. El Paso County, meanwhile, chucked up nearly $20 million.

The Battle for Local Control

The Teller County commissioners, similar to 2022, continued efforts to battle the state lawmakers and what some contend is a progressive agenda that doesn’t address rural concerns. They often clashed with lawmakers over gun control and other big signature issues. Their frequent appearances at the state Capitol received much notice, and even efforts to work with key state lawmakers.  At the end of the year, Teller County Commissioner Dan Williams was named the commissioner of the year by the Colorado Counties, Inc. group, which is the main lobbying organization for county governments. This was the first time a Teller elected leader received this honor in decades.

Look for these battles with the state, however, to continue in 2024.

Other big, noteworthy stories in 2024

*Newmont Mining’s announcement of preparing for an eventual closing date, while pursing acting pursuits at its current site

*The increase in special events throughout the area, especially in Victor, which at times rivaled Manitou Springs for the region’s more unusual and wacky festivals.  Special events became a larger draw in virtually all towns in Teller and the lower Ute Pass area.

*The resignation of Woodland Park City Manager Michael Lawson, and the apparent final  pick for a new city boss. Once again, the city has opted to select a head manager from withing its own ranks.

*The growing exit of COVID-19 protocol. Hardly any stories surfaced on the epidemic this year, at least locally.

*The continual growth and influence of Charis Bible College.

*The landing of a new trades and vocational facility in the Cripple Creek/Victor RE-1 School District.

Cripple Creek


Retail Marijuana Hits Home

2023 was a huge year for the gaming community, with little chance for a political or regulatory breather.

The year kicked off with the town confronting the realities of becoming the first town in Teller County to approve retail marijuana.  This followed an election held in Nov. 2022 during which local voters said “absolutely yes” to legalizing cannabis shops on a limited basis and okaying the tax revenue for this new industry.   The city responded by declaring a “time out” period and declaring a six-month moratorium on issuing any licenses and mulling plans for rules and fees. Officials spent an exhaustive and expensive time studying similar-size communities in Colorado that opened their doors to legal weed, such as Alma, Leadville, Nederland, Central City, Breckenridge and Manitou Springs.  It had several lively workshops on the issue and heard testimony from key state officials. Finally, it proposed a hefty lineup of rules, which mainly had to identify where these shops could be located, how many should be licensed and who could operate the reefer outlets.

But the fees the town proposed apparently scared off business takers, as the town experienced hardly any license applicants, with the staggering costs of nearly $30,000 just to enter the cannabis business ballpark. The council, at the urging of key city officials, then opted to cut many of the fees, but still make sure their costs were covered. By the beginning of next year, Cripple Creek will see its first marijuana dispensary, at a a site that once housed a beauty and spa shop.  The town’s first-ever marijuana dispensary, called High Stakes Leafery, is located in a building owned by residents and previous business owners Laura and Michael Smith, just outside the business district on Hwy. 67 South.   The opening of the town’s first cannabis shop, featuring a full supply of recreational and medicinal cannabis products, is slated for around Jan. 8.

Changing Political Face

Of course, 2023 got off to a bang as the town had its first recall election in recent years.  In a fairly close tally, council members Mark Green and Charles Solomone were given their walking papers and replaced by Bruce Brown and Jared Bowman. Brown served as the town’s former mayor for a decade, and Bowman is a well-known resident.

The main issue of contention dealt with the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, and whether this facility could proceed with plans to house a small retail outlet. The council members targeted were in favor of this plan and encountered a fury of opposition from small business operators. Retail owners classified this decision as an example of a council out of touch with the business community, accusing the targeted members of allowing the city to compete with local shops.

Shortly after the recall vote, the newly aligned council opted to ban the Heritage Center from selling any retail items. In addition, a plan was thrown out to start charging visitors at the Heritage Center a fee. This latter idea, however, was not pursued at the strong recommendation of city officials. They worried that this could force the city to lose historic preservation dollars. But once again, a fight flared up regarding the Heritage Center itself and the amount of money allocated to the facility’s operations. The Heritage Center was a big subject of contention when it first opened nearly 20 years ago. Heritage Center proponents, including City Administrator Frank Salvato, say this center is a big boon for tourism, while some leaders question the costs involved in operating the facility, originally dubbed as a welcome center.

Elections of 2023

The November election commanded much attention in the gaming community, even though the atmosphere was much more civil than down the road in Woodland Park, where one of the most contentious school board races in the history of the region took place.

Still, Cripple Creek had much at stake as voters got the chance to pick a new mayor with the exit of Milford Ashworth, who moved out of the area. As a result, a three-way race occurred among Annia Durham, the CTE (Career and Technical Education) director of the Cripple Creek/Victor RE-1 School District, Melissa Trenary, the mayor pro tem, and a council member for several years, and Les Batson, a local resident and veteran casino employee. By a strong margin, the voters supported Durham, who will get sworn  into office in early January.  Durham had considered a run for mayor for some time.  She has supported many of the pursuits undertaken by the current town administration, and has cited infrastructure, housing and historic preservation as the community’s top issues. She also is a big proponent and supporter of special events, including the Salute to American Veterans Rally, which now operates in Woodland Park.

And voters also displayed their support for the school district by approving a small sales tax hike that will support their new trade and construction facility, which opened last summer.

Destination Mecca

2023 emerged as one of the more active years on the development front in recent memory. Plans proceeded right on scheduled for the town’s most ambitious hotel project in Cripple Creek history with the $300 million, nine-story Chamonix resort project. The development will feature more than 300 rooms, an indoor parking facility and a spree of amenities. It is slated to open on Dec. 26. The project, though, required much monitoring by city officials, who also had to approve an extension of permits. It is the centerpiece of plans by Full House Resorts, a Las Vegas-based company that purchased Bronco Billy’s about five years ago.

At the same time, the city grappled with an infusion of plans for housing projects, stemming from a pro-incentive development program that waived many fees. Officials were greeted in 2023 with a slew of projects, which if pursued, will result in hundreds of new housing units, comprised of many more apartments and multi-family units with a huge focus on affordable and workforce housing. The town’s population could dramatically increase. Housing is identified as the city’s biggest need due to the demand for workers.  These plans have set the stage for annexation of the 80-acre Gibraltar development near the Mt.Pisgah cemetery. With the push for housing, the city embarked on major infrastructure grant pursuits, which could exceed the $10 million mark.

And from a tourism standpoint, the town hit the jackpot with the landing of the Ice Castles attraction, a fantasy-like ice wonderland that was formerly located in Summit County. The new attraction, which could attract crowds of  100,000-plus patrons and visitors during its winter operation, opened for business early this week. Ice Castles was the pinnacle of a bigger push for tourism that swept the southern Teller region, as  many visitors flocked to see Rita, the Rock Planter, a troll exhibit, located on a key trail area between Cripple Creek and Victor.  This artistic statue was done under the direction of Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who did an earlier creation in Breckenridge. And to further put the exclamation mark on the bid for tourism, the council at the end of the year finalized efforts to reopen a vintage train car as part of a deal between the city and the Cripple Creek District Museum. The old train car once served as the town’s welcome center, prior to the opening of the Heritage Center. It will now be manned by District Museum staff.


Green Mountain Falls

Green Box, Green Box and Green Box

The Green Box arts group continued its push as a major player in  Green Mountain Falls throughout 2023. It greatly expanded its focus from just sponsoring a several-week festival, and helped promote more artistic and cultural events on a year-round basis.

The opening of the Skyspace project in 2022 was just the beginning, as Green Box emerged as the new operator of the historic Sally Bush facility Community Center, under a deal crafted between the Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation and the Church in the Wildwood. The main goal is to increase usage of the facility and make needed enhancements.

And once again, the Green Box Arts festival turned into an amazing success with nearly 80 events and record crowds. The booming gathering was attributed to the quantity of events, capped by new art works and public displays, artistic performances, ballets, dramas, live music and hikes, and more connections with the community.

Summer of Doom

But GMF definitely had its physical challenges in 2023, taking a battering from Mother Nature, with rain storms, hail blasts and floods washing out all roads like never before and creating an emergency scenario.  GMF jumped on board an emergency declaration in El Paso County, which cited a repair bill of more than $19 million. On the upside, and following many meetings with the feds, GMF could be on track to receive $150,000 in FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) money, funds that could be used for road maintenance.

Also, the public works department found itself headed into steadier waters by the end of the year, with the help of a seasoned operator with local ties, Dustin McClain, who was even nicknamed by this publication as the town’s “Road Warrior.” The summer of 2023 mainly showcased the structural deficiency of GMF’s gravel road system. A comprehensive road plan was launched, but this forthcoming study won’t resolve a key reality:  GMF has crappy roads.

And with tough road conditions and concerns over such issues as fire mitigation,  more friction sometime occurred between community volunteers and town leaders. At the year’s conclusion, the trustees removed the chairperson of its planning commission. On the upside, the town succeeded in reopening its extremely popular outdoor swimming pool facility and running it throughout the summer on weekends.

Next spring the town will have a key municipal election when two trustee positions and a mayoral seat will be decided.


Teller County didn’t set any records in 2023 for the volume of criminal behavior, but a number of key cases stand out.  Here are a few highlights   of our area’s often bizarre plunge into strange criminal antics and some of the more renowned “bad guys” of the year.

Murder Suicides

The year 2022 ended in a tragedy with a murder suicide incident. In Florissant, a mother was shot and killed by her husband before the man turned the gun on himself.

The incident was tragic since children had to call the police and report the murder/suicide. But then right after the beginning of 2023, the area was riddled with a similar incident.

On Jan.5, police were alerted after Teller resident William Brueche was late in meeting with the mother of his five-year-old child. Police looked for the suspect overnight until finding him and his five-year-old child deceased in a vehicle in Florissant.

It was then reported that the man had used and air-powered weapon to murder his young son before killing himself. The two issues were brought up several times when suicides were the topic of a community-wide forum.

Patrick Frazee Appeal Denied

After Florissant resident Patrick Frazee was convicted by a jury for the 2018 murder of Woodland Park resident and mother Kelsey Berreth, he appealed his conviction. But to start 2023, an appeals court denied his appeal, cementing the guilty verdict.


The verdict to deny the appeal was unanimous and the judges didn’t even allow the public to see their written decision, affirming the belief that this was an easy decision to make. The denial of the appeal will most likely ensure that Frazee remains in prison for the rest of his life for bludgeoning his then fiancé to death with a baseball bat and then burning her body.


“Machine Gun Bobby” Saga Reaches Conclusion

Robert Gieswein, known as “Machine Gun Bobby,” in 2023 was finally sentenced to prison for his role in the infamous Jan. 6 insurrection at the nation’s U.S. Capitol building.  This put an end to a story that put Teller County on the map. It marked Teller’s closest link to the mob riot that still commands much media attention.


After Gieswein was arrested for breaking into the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan.6, 2021, Teller County snagged international media acclaim. Gieswein sat in jail for over two years before he eventually pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting police officers.


After Gieswein entered his plea, a federal judge sentenced him to four years in prison for his crimes. But since, he had already served over two years behind bars, Gieswein, who was often seen around the county carrying an assault rifle, could be released soon.


Dead Bodies Found on Teller County Roadways

Last February, Highway 67 between Divide and Cripple Creek was closed due to a suspicious death investigation. A man who was reported missing after leaving a car with his friends was found deceased on the side of the road.

The body ended up being that 21 year old Eduardo “Lalo” Castaneda whose friends remained tight-lipped about what actually happened the night he went missing. But the police ended up ruling his death accidental despite his family members suspecting foul play.

Last May, another decease body of an unknown African American male were found off of Gold Camp Road just across the Teller County border. However, the body was never officially identified, and the sheriff’s office has never given any updates about the investigation

Former Cripple Creek Detective Sentenced for Inappropriate Relations

Former Cripple Creek Police Detective Alexander Kenoyer, who was fired after a detailed investigation started into his conduct, pleaded guilty to having sexual relations with a female who was an alleged victim in a human trafficking case.


According to court documents, Kenoyer began having sexual relations with the alleged female victim after she filed a human trafficking complaint. The relationship ended when Kenoyer said he didn’t want to leave his wife.

In the end, Kenoyer pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to influence a public official (a felony charge) and public indecency (a petty offense). He was sentenced to 58 days in jail and two years of probation.


Drug Busts Takes Deadly Amounts of Fentanyl Off the Streets


In February, the Teller County Sheriff’s office found a slew of illegal drugs after the Department of Human Services received a tip that 26-year-old Rhianna Moret was in violation of a protection order by being with her boyfriend Cody Haakensen and that she could be at a residence on S. Woodland Ave. near Woodland Park.


The deputies searched the home and found Moret hiding under a blanket. During the search, authorities found a loaded pistol along with a slew of illegal items including 108 fentanyl pills, 2.6 grams of methamphetamine, 7 loaded needles of heroin, 59 Seroquel pills, 66 Trazadone pills, .55g of heroin and 400 ml of an unknown liquid substance.


Then last June, the Teller Narcotics Team (TNT) was at it again after receiving tips of a drug dealer at another residence just outside the Woodland Park city limits. When the police arrived at the home on Blackfoot Trail, suspect Markus Deimling was unresponsive, so the deputies detonated a “flash bang” grenade to get him out of the house.

The search warrant resulted in the confiscation of approximately 2,000 fentanyl pills that equaled 201.3 grams, 1,000 Xanax pills or 140.7 grams, 59 Suboxone strips, $1,508 in cash, a .45 caliber handgun, brass knuckles, a sawed-off 12-gauge illegal shotgun with numerous magazines and boxes of ammunition.

Local and State Sports

Woodland Park escaped its image as a so-so school for athletics, with a number of teams eyeing the playoffs. Meanwhile, on the professional level, Colorado teams shined big-time during the winter, but faced major challenges on the football field and baseball diamond.


The 2023 year started with Woodland Park High School sports teams receiving many accolades, a far cry from past years. Typically, the winter-time is not a bullish occasion for local sports teams, which usually sport losing records.

But in 2023, the winter sports season year started off with a blast as multiple teams saw postseason action.


In fact, 2023 was the first year in recent history where both the girls’ and boys’ basketball teams had winning records and made the playoffs. The boys’ basketball team came off their first winning season in several years, but with a new head coach.


The Panther boys’ basketball team finished in fifth place in their 4A/3A Tri-Peaks League with a 15-8 overall record and 10-4 league record. In the first weekend of the playoffs, the boys won two games to take them to the second round where they lost to Roaring Fork 53-48.


The girls’ basketball team also had a stellar season for the first time in several years. The Lady Panthers ended up in eighth place in their 4A/3A Tri-Peaks League after racking up a 14-11 overall record and 7-7 league record.


The ladies picked up two wins in the first round of the playoffs, enabling them to advance to the next week of postseason action. During the second round of the playoffs the girls first advanced after squeaking past Ignacio 50-49. But then they were eliminated once they lost top Platte Valley 60-33.


Then last spring, the girls’ soccer team also saw playoff action after having a good finish to the season.



Last fall, the Panther football team just barely missed their chance at having a winning record for the second season in a row. The girls’ volleyball team also missed a playoff spot for the first time in a handful of years.


The big winner for the fall high school sports season was the boys’ soccer team. The team improved from previous years to come out kicking and finish the season with a 10-4-2 overall record and a 3-2 league record.



But when the Panthers hosted Harrison during round one of the playoffs, they were eliminated from postseason action after a close 2-1 loss.


Rocky Mountain Vibes Make Playoffs


With the start of the baseball season, the Rocky Mountain Vibes’ our minor-league baseball team, based in Colorado Springs, had big hopes for the year. But these hopes were initially shattered by an extremely rocky start. But like they did the previous year, they seemed to completely turn things around after the season’s halfway mark and ended up being one of the Pioneer League’s top teams.


The Vibes ranked far enough in their South Division to play their first ever playoff game against the Ogden Raptors. The Vibes won their first playoff game at home, but then lost two on the road leading to the Raptors winning the Pioneer League Championship.



 Nuggets’ NBA Title Caps Professional Sports in Colorado

The past few years the Denver Nuggets have had a decent team led by star player Nikola Jokic. The team has been successful several times in recent seasons, but they seem to always miss their chance once they get to the postseason.


But then last May, the Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to take their first trip to the NBA Finals in their 56-year history as a franchise. Once the team made it to the big championship game, they basically completely dominated the playoff action.


The Nuggets didn’t get a sweep, but once game five came around they beat the Miami Heat 94 to 89 to seal the deal winning the series 4-1.




As far as professional hockey, the Colorado Avs came into their ’22-’23 season with hopes to make a return to the big game, following the capture of the Stanley Cup the previous year. But injuries during the season proved to slow them down.


The team did do well enough to make it to the postseason like they have for the past few seasons, but they came way short from making it to the finals. The Avs lost to the Seattle Kraken in the first round of playoffs.


Denver Broncos Struggle to Gain Back Fans’ Trust

On the downside of pro sports, the Denver Broncos, similar to the plight of the Colorado Rockies, continued to struggle and continue their playoff drought.

After the 2022 NFL season ended, the Broncos were definitely a disappointment. Even though many had hoped quarterback Russell Wilson would be the team’s saving grace, he wasn’t. And he still hasn’t necessarily proven that he is.


In his second season, Wilson and the Broncos had such a sad start that many were discussing whether the team should give up the season, and start shooting for a good draft pick for the 2024 season. But then something unexpected happened: The Broncos actually started winning and even beating good teams.


Even though their first stint of winning only lasted five games, the team has wanted to stay focused on the end goal, gaining entry into post-season play.  Broncos still technically had a chance to snag a Wild Card spot, (at the time of this writing), but they have to win all of their remaining games and get help from other teams.


No matter what happens at the end of the 2023 season, it is fair to say that there will still be much room for improvement. And many have already started questioning the future of Russell Wilson as the team’s QB going into 2024 and beyond.