Playing Cowboy: Prep
July 19, 2021

Ever since January I've been planning this journey that I'm beginning tomorrow.  In 2003 I moved to Colorado to take on a job title of "Adventure Guide" and work full time in the outdoor industry.  There I met Dave and Michelle, basically the full timers from the generation of staff that came before Eric and I who were hired in January.  Dave's an amazing man, somewhere around 40 now, and he was a big ol kid when I met him.  I look up to him a bunch and love his ability to have a good time in any element and speak wisdom and truth when necessary.

I was fired from Peak 3 before I could quit in August 2003.  I developed a bad attitude pretty quickly due to the staff policy of having to be up at 6am, even when you didn't have responsibilities until 8am.  It was intended to build community but I never have been a morning person and promise that I can foster communal happiness much better at 7:30am.  They also kept Eric and I in camp chopping firewood and stirring the blue water much more than I was willing to spend my summers doing.  I intended on quitting at the end of the summer but they beat me to it after I did some dumb shit.  A staff cabin of our sister camp had a toilet sitting in the driveway all summer and late one night, we pooped in that toilet.

So, I was jobless and living in Colorado, and all my friends were guides.  Turns out that 2-4 limit hold'em on Party Poker was a money factory in 2003.  As it was for the last four years, but this was the first time that I actually had no job and was paying rent with money that I had won playing poker at some point in my life.  I figured if I made $100 a day I would be fine.  I kept my bankroll somwhere betweeen $500 and $1k, cause it was so easy to win back then, that I couldn't conceive of needing a bigger number.

That is until I went broke in February 2004.  I dodged going broke a few months earlier by being all-in with my last $55 in a SNG and winning it.  I got a job working armed security in Colorado Springs.  I started working nights at a car lot up Academy.  I'm not sure why they wanted a 22 year old kid walking around the place with a gun from 9pm to 5am.  I never saw a damned soul in three weeks.  My exemplary performance at the car lot earned me a promotion to patrol.  They gave me a car with lights and a radio, and five of us drove around town all night.

We held all the Department of Defense alarm response contracts.  So when an alarm went off at Lockheed we were required by law to be on scene within 15 minutes.  That part was fun, hauling ass across town, even though 99% of my alarms were false.  The one that wasn't was at a mansion in the hills.  I turned a corner in the basement, gun drawn, and found a dude rummaging through a chest.  Freeze motherf***er!  I mean, what else are you supposed to say there?

Shortly after that I was invited to go climb La Plata with Dave, Joel, and Kyle.  I've hung with the other two and they're good guys, but I had to work this security job.  I was quitting like a week later but I had to work this night.  I'm generally in the front when I'm going places, especially when it comes to walks through the woods.  I wasn't there though, Kyle was in front, and when Joel started his glissade down the peak he triggered an avalanche.  Dave watched the two of them go.  He ran as fast as he could after them, and it still took him 45 minutes to get to Joel.  The avalanche released the enter couloir and traveled over a mile.  Joel rode the thing out and lived.  Kyle didn't.  I really think that going broke saved my life.  I quit about a week later, getting a job as a prop in Cripple Creek, CO.

Somewhere around there Dave and Michelle got married, Peak 3 folded a while after that, and Dave and Michelle began looking for their next chapter.  They found it at Bear Basin Ranch in Westcliffe, CO, just across the valley from Horn Creek Ranch where we worked together.  They bought the business end, built a house on the ranch, and have started a family.  I spent a week there in January, and at the end of that week I asked Dave if I could work for him for free after the series.  He accepted, and I'm leaving tomorrow to do just that.  I bought my first pair of cowboy boots yesterday.  I'm excited.  My blogs will probably come in bursts as I will be living in a tent out of cell service and they might be a bit more video in nature, but I will be writing plenty about this trip.

Peace and good luck,



3 months ago
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