In Memory of Jacob Neal

Festive Celebration Attracts Standing Room-Only Crowd

“Good People Drink Good Beer”

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

(Don’t argue with the Good Doctor of Journalism)

Rick Langenberg

Talk about a festive gathering for a popular, mini-celebrity in the community and at local gatherings, and at the Shining Mountain Golf Course.

To honor Jacob Neal, who passed away earlier this year at a very young age, a recent party was held at SM, capped by the official beer tapping of a new lager in Jacob’s honor, “Jacob’s Lager,” due to the courtesy and cooperation of the O’Dell Brewing Company in Fort Collins. Jacob’s Lager will be available at Shining Mountain throughout the 2024 season.

The lager, according to SM bar manager Courtney Mickelson, will play a small part in revering the memory of Jacob, whose death really had an impact on many people in Woodland Park, Teller County and with the Shining Mountain family.  “It was a big loss to the community,” recalled Mickelson. “It hit a lot of us very hard.”

For those who didn’t know him, Jacob was one of the main anchors at Shining Mountain, working there for 10-plus years, and manning the bar operations for an extended period. He also was quite a linkster, playing on the golf team and even trying to give needed advice to TMJ duffers and regular players and recreational buffs just getting into the game.  And he was extremely well-liked and respected in the community. Based on comments made at the recent gathering, there may not have been a more likeable guy in Woodland Park.

As for the new Jacob’s Lager, give it a try, next time, you are headed to Shining Mountain, or need a beverage to boost your golf round, or just cheer you up. The new lager, which according to Courtney, would also have been gladly approved by the late gonzo journalist, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.  The Doctor enjoyed a lager or two in his day before the term lager even was used, often when he held court at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen or at the Woody Creek Tavern.  As Thompson publicly stated in a book, chronicling his legendary journalism adventure in Las Vegas, in search of the great American dream, back in 1971, “Good People Drink Good Beer.”

Well said, and it’s hard to argue with that iconic statement, even nearly 55 years after Dr. Thompson’s great and infamous saga in Las Vegas, which was once made into a movie, starring Johnny Depp.

Well, enough about Hollywood.

The tribute to Jacob got off to a great and surprising celebratory start, as during an earlier golf tournament (also done in Jacob’s honor), local link wiz JR Jatlin of the Shining Mountain Men’s Club got a hole-in-one on the ninth hole. It occurred shortly before the Jacob Neal tribute party.

JR used a sand wedge for this delicate shot that must carry a tricky, little hazard. No problem for JR as   it marked his third hole-in-one, in his career, his second at Shining Mountain.  Contrary to rumors, JR is not planning on making an appearance on the Senior Pro Tour. “I was glad to do this in Jacob’s honor,” said Jatlin.

Of course, as the saying goes, “if you get a hole-in-one, keep it secret, or you are in big trouble.” That line actually comes from former President Bill Clinton, who once reportedly had an ace, when he was supposed to be in legislative session during his stint as governor in Arkansas.

For Jatlin, the secret shot became anything but a secret.

So, in other words, JR got stuck with quite a bar tab due to his heroic golfing antics.

The hole-in-one, though, took a back-seat to the festivities in honor of Jacob Neal, highlighted by the tapping of the new lager and official toasts and overall good vibes

Not surprisingly, the party attracted quite a crowd, turning into the region’s pre-Memorial Day tribute with a standing-room-only gathering, featuring Jacob’s many friends, fellow golfers, community leaders and even journalists.