2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Goofy email brings call for colorful Colorado Springs characters

Published: March 19, 2014, 8:00 am, by Bill Vogrin
Phillip Cargile, the Wagon Man, stands along West Colorado Avenue on May 28, 2013.

Phillip Cargile, the Wagon Man, stands along West Colorado Avenue on May 28, 2013.

I don’t know about you, but I get some goofy email.

And I’m not talking about the come-ons from Nigerian bankers and young girls promising to get “drunky” with me.

These are from real people. Some are asking for help. Others think they want me to speak to their group. Some want me to join their club. (Clearly, they don’t know me.)

For example, last week I was invited to become a charter member of the private club at the new Pinery at the Hill on Bijou Street across Interstate 25 from downtown Colorado Springs.

The email promised “member mixers and power hours.” The initiation fee is just $600 with annual dues of $2,400.

Do they not realize I’m a newspaper writer? Heck, $3,000 is what I paid for my 14-year-old Jeep!

Thanks for thinking of me, Pinery. But it’s safe to say you won’t be bumping into me at any future power hours.

But that isn’t the goofiest email I’ve gotten lately.

On Monday, I received this inquiry from a fellow named Jake Rosen who said he’s an associate producer for ABC News as well as for the Travel Channel where he’s been asked to line up episodes for a pilot program that will take viewers to unique small towns and explore their history.

Bill Boo BooI’ve had similar inquiries in the past. A producer for the Hoarders cable show once wrote and another Hollywood type was seeking candidates for a new reality TV show. (Funny, he rejected my idea of “Side Streets Boo Boo.”)

This guy Rosen had a very specific request of me related to our marijuana trade. He’d seen my columns about drug dealing in Shooks Run and knuckleheads who broke into pot shop trash bins.

Drug RV Angry Man

A man suspected by neighbors of dealing drugs from his house in Shooks Run did not like being photographed in July 2010. Gazette file photo.

He wanted me to provide him names of “people who dive into dispensaries dumpsters and get their left over weed and sell it on the black market.”

Or, he’d like me to hook him up with an “ex-street dealer who used to sell pot but with the legalization his biz has gone bad and he/she is leaving the state.”

Sure, Jake. I’ll set you up with that drug dealer pronto. I’m sure he’s on my speed-dial. And the dumpster divers, too. Got ‘em in my Rolodex.

Finally, I got an email from a reader in London. As in England. (I guess my accent doesn’t throw them off!)

Ken Graham of Soda Folk.  Courtesy photo.

Ken Graham of Soda Folk. Courtesy photo.

Anyway, this sounded like a request from a legitimate reader: Ken Graham, who said he is a native of Colorado Springs who moved across the pond in 2012.

“I’ve been reading your Side Streets column for a long time, and still check in now and then to get a glimpse of what’s going on in my home town,” Graham wrote.

He was inspired to write after reading my profile of Tim Burke, who recently closed Ethan’s Room Skate Shop in the basement of his advertising agency.

Graham explained that he had started “Soda Folk,” a company that produces “all-natural, premium American soft drinks for UK customers.” (Reckon he’s going to sell a lemon-limey drink?)

He’d settled on a product motto: “Uncommon Flavor for Uncommon Folk.” But he said he was struggling to create brand names for each flavor. I checked out his website, sodafolk.com, and he seemed to be for real.

“So it occurred to me that the labels should celebrate some of the fascinating people I met growing up in Colorado who embodied my and my company’s values,” Graham said. “I’m still on the hunt for other remarkable people, and was hoping you might be willing to help.”

He wants the names and images of a few “uncommon folk” who are “unique to Colorado” and willing to have their portraits drawn for his labels.

So I’m thinking maybe Side Streets readers have some ideas for Soda Folk labels.

I have a few immediate recommendations for Graham.

He’s got to create a Wagon Man energy drink. After all, Wagon Man Phillip Cargile walks hours every day with his arm outstretched, reaching out to all who see him. He’s a natural and a great visual with his tattered coveralls and straw cowboy hat.

Rose Ella Scott Arveson Simmons

Rose Ella Scott Arveson Simmons

I’d also suggest Rose Arveson, whose daughters promoted her for sainthood claiming roses they placed on her casket had wilted, died and been resurrected 10 days after her burial and they cured people who touched them. Perhaps Graham should sell a Saint Rose bottled water. Holy water.

Not sure if Graham only wants humans. But I’d also suggest the Rockrimmon Buck, which became famous after it perched on a retaining wall to recuperate after a hard winter of rutting.

Nothing says outdoors Colorado like a huge buck with unique antlers. (Try to forget that he was beat up, limping and ended up killed, probably hit by a car, along Highway 115.) The buck could be the face of a cream soda, maybe?

Please add your suggestions on Facebook or send them to me by email.

The Rockrimmon Buck in January 2013. Gazette file photo.

The Rockrimmon Buck in January 2013. Gazette file photo.