For the Two Mile High Club at Cripple Creek, it’s worth asking for help; Non-profit organization receives temporary help and seeks donations for a new skid steer loader | Mail from Pikes Peak

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CRIPPLE CREEK • With wandering donkeys in the eye of the camera lens, as tourists click click and residents feel a sense of pride in the local herd, Cripple Creek is a gambling town with a bonus.

According to legend, the resident herd of donkeys are the descendants of beasts of burden during the heyday of gold mining at the end of the 19th century. Legend or not, donkeys tell a nice story. After all, myth contributes to the mystique of a place.

But someone has to take care of these donkeys, legend or not. Dedicated to providing care in good weather or bad, the volunteers at Two Mile High Club do it all, including veterinary care when needed. During the winter, the donkeys hang out in the Winter Paddock, a field on County Road 89.

Donkeys give the town a sense of community. For example, when the club needed a barn to store hay over the winter, Newmont Mining Corp., several casinos and individuals stepped up. “Hay prices are skyrocketing and we didn’t have adequate storage,” club president Curt Sorenson said.

With the new barn, the club can now buy hay in bulk, 1,200 pounds at a time.

One thing led to another: Along with the barn, they needed a skid steer loader – a new one costs about $125,000. As a temporary solution, the volunteers relied on the generosity of the club’s Danny Moore, who lent his tractor and pitchfork for powering and maintaining the winter paddock.

But, really, they needed their own skid steer loader. Realizing the message, Councilman Charles Solomone took a chance and contacted Bruce Wagner, owner of Wagner Equipment and Rentals.

Solomone was once the company’s regional manager and figured he’d give her a platter. Since Solomone’s time there, Wagner Equipment has grown from 350 employees in Colorado to 1,500 in 29 locations, including New Mexico and West Texas.

“I hadn’t seen Bruce Wagner in 30 years, so I emailed him explaining the need,” Solomone said. “And on a Friday afternoon in June, I got a call from him. He was very excited to get involved.

As a result, Wagner donated the use of a skid steer loader as a temporary solution while the members work on fundraising to purchase the machine. To date, Newmont has contributed $8,000 to the purchase, and individuals are adding to the fund regularly, Sorenson said.

To add to the good news, the Two Mile High Club has been selected to be among the recipients of the “Colorado Gives” and “Gives” fundraising campaigns for the 2022 holiday season.

Donations to the club, a non-profit organization, are accepted on the website: cripplecreekdonkeys.com or Facebook at Cripple Creek Donkeys — Two Mile High Club.

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