Take Me Home….

In 1975, the founders of the tea company, Celestial Seasonings, launched the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic in Boulder, Colorado to promote bike lanes on roadways, and bike paths everywhere else. Eventually, the stage race would be taken over by the Coors Brewing Company, and for many years, the event became America’s national tour and was listed as the fourth largest race in the world after the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a España.

It was a “go to” event in the cycling world, in part because Boulder was already renowned as a world-class training destination for cyclists due to Boulder’s high altitude (around 5,400 feet above sea level) and challenging terrain. The race was also a fun event for locals to attend, and that included some well known faces.

One of them wasn’t entirely welcomed when he attended the race in 1978. Today, most fans would be astonished that a singer now regarded with affection was quite literally booed when his name was announced to the crowd. In those days, Coloradans didn’t appreciate attention, and bumper stickers like “Don’t Californicate Colorado” and “Colorado Native” were legion. Anything that attracted more people to the state was unwelcome, and the singer’s hit song, “Rocky Mountain High” ruffled a lot of feathers.

John Denver, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever,Red Zinger Bicycle Classic

By Hughes Television Network – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21882369

Still, we felt badly for John Denver when he was booed, and subsequent years were unkind to him. Critics viewed his music as cloyingly sentimental, if not cringe-worthy at a time when music was edgier and more complex. Denver’s wholesome, “country-boy” image seemed at odds with the times, though he sold over 33 million records worldwide, and had 12 gold and 4 platinum albums. 

Nostalgia for a simpler time, and an untimely death may have a part in the current appreciation for John Denver’s music.  The singer died of multiple blunt force trauma when his light homebuilt aircraft, a Rutan Long-EZ, crashed in 1997.  A pilot with over 2,700 hours of experience, Denver had pilot ratings for single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, glider and instrument. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the accident was caused by Denver’s inability to switch fuel tanks during flight because the plane had an unusual fuel tank selector valve handle configuration. The handle had been intended by the plane’s designer to be between the pilot’s legs, but the person who had built the craft instead put it behind the pilot’s left shoulder, along with the fuel gauge which made it hard for the pilot to see.

As a result of John Denver’s crash, fuel selectors and fuel gauges are now always in front of pilots in all aircraft.

Before mentioning the dogs they owned, we like to touch upon a famous person’s life. It would probably surprise no one, then, that someone like John Denver, a huge environmental activist and outdoor advocate, would own at least two Golden Retrievers (including one named “Daisy”) and a chocolate Labrador Retriever named “Bear.”

If he were still with us, John Denver would no doubt be tickled that another Colorado town celebrates Golden Retrievers every year in February. “Goldens In Golden” happens in – wait for it – Golden, Colorado, and next year’s dates are still to be determined.

We’ll be there!

Our post titles is a nod to “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” one of John Denver’s most iconic and beloved songs. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971, was certified Platinum by the RIAA in 2017 for over 1 million digital sales, and was inducted into the prestigious National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its cultural significance.

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