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Pikes Peak Range Riders saddle up after missing last year

Pikes Peak Range Riders Saddle Up

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the first time in two years the Pikes Peak Range Riders are saddled up on their horses and on their way out of Colorado Springs to begin their five-day trip.

Last year their annual ride was canceled for the first time in history because of the Black Forest Fire.

"A year ago it was smoky. It's beautiful today so we're blessed with that. But we still have the fire victims in our prayers," said Brett Axton, event organizer.

It was their shortest trip in history. Rather than five days, they only went about 12 blocks.

"We could have had the ride last year but we didn't want to abandon our community in such a time of need. So we stayed, we stayed and did what we could to help our community," said Johnny Walker, a Range Rider.

But this year the group is stronger than ever, with a record-setting 175 riders.

"It's absolutely amazing everyone is so excited. Last year was the first time in 64 years that they canceled the ride. They've always gone no matter what," said Walker.  

"The rodeo is a huge draw for people who want to relive or keep that western heritage alive. It brings in a lot of people and is one of the top 10 rodeos in the country," said Axton.

Along the way, the riders will be reliving their western heritage and remembering where they were last year, just after the Black Forest Fire.

The ride is also promoting the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, which runs July 9- 12 at Norris-Penrose event center, for its 74th year.

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