Rollinsville frees itself again ( Check out these great pictures! )

Rollinsville frees itself again

Barbara Lawlor


The annual parade consisted of:

One very former governor making promises

One fire engine honking its horn

One politician throwing suckers

One hippie van blowing smoke

The annual parade had no:

Dogs wearing costumes

Horses leaving notes on the road

Children riding decorated bikes

Marching bands

Almost every year, the citizens of Rollinsville celebrate the day that its feisty residents decided to run John Quincy Adams Rollins out of town. Rollins owned Rollinsville, a town full of fun loving miners and ranchers who liked to have a good time. Rollins banned alcohol, a move that resulted in mutiny, revolution and freedom for the good folks who lived there.

Forrest Whitman returned after a year’s absence to read Governor William Gilpin’s speech from 1862, proclaiming the county part of a manifest destiny. Whitman donned the black top hat, the suit and the American flag, to make his come-back speech.

This year’s Rollinsville Independence Parade was deemed to have  set a record for being the shortest parade ever, but that will never stop Mayor Tim Underwood from declaring it a day of great significance.

Although the parade was minimal, the spectators lined up along Main Street were treated to a Wild West shootout performed by Central City’s Wild Bunch, a group of gun-toting, revenge-seeking, bad guys and good guys. Ultimately the bad guys die well, landing in the dirt on their knees and collapsing in slow motion. In Saturday’s show, the villain’s girlfriend is the first to be felled by the marshal’s bullet.

The Wild Bunch picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and headed back to Central City where they had five more performances throughout the tourist strewn afternoon.

Kent Bartlo, who usually showed up with Purple Murple, his now collector’s vintage VW van, arrived in a brilliant blue van, saying it was time for a change. The blue van belched white smoke from the wood burning stove installed in the vehicle’s living room.

Commissioner Gail Watson carried a campaign banner as she and her entourage wended their way past the Mercantile and the Stage Stop Restaurant.

The parade went around twice.

For a few bright shining moments Rollinsville was once again the wild west town that fought its way to freedom.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.