2017 Accolades & Testimonials

AWESOME!  This is the only way I can explain the 2017 Salute to American Veterans Rally sponsored by Cripple Creek, Colorado.  In my 36 years of active service and now 7 years in retirement, I have never participated in or attended an event like this honoring our Veterans and their families.  The amazing part of this event is the support from the community of Cripple Creek.  The entire town is dedicated to the event and truly reflects the love and support of our Veterans.  The kick-off of the event is the Memorial Ride from Woodland Park to Cripple Creek.  A magnificent display of thousands of motorcycles, mostly driven by Veterans, coming down main street - a true highlight of the event.  I may have to add this to my bucket list, which means I will need to purchase a motorcycle!

I was honored to participate in the program that honored the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).  Having served 28 of my 36 years in Special Forces, I had the privilege of working with members of the Group during training events as well as during combat operations.  Their performance has always been exceptional.  Mr. Jim Wear, and his Rally committee needs special recognition for their efforts in the planning and execution of this great event.  It is obvious that the amount of effort displayed to make this event possible, from all involved, comes directly from the heart.  As a Veteran, I was proud to have participated in this year's event, but even more proud the be a Veteran!  Thanks to Cripple Creek and all that made this possible - see you in 2018.

MG(R) Thom Csrnko
Best to all!
Thom and Diane Csrnko




I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude for allowing me to be part of this Year's Veterans Rally. This venue was certainly one of the highlights of my Military Career as it reunited me with my brother veterans and mentors. I was sincerely jaw droppingly (if this is a word) awed at the meticulous attention to detail demonstrated throughout the day's agenda. I truly believed this venue personifies the absolute best in patriotism and dedication to our fellow veteran. With the exception of standing on an IED in Iraq and not having it go off, this was the happiest I had been in my 27 years of military service. I will be back next year & every year there-after. It was truly my honor to have participated in this event! Thank you!

Keep Attacking Brother,

Colonel Robert Salasko USMC
Director Operations Division
NorthCom & NORAD Command Center




Over the past 25 years I had seen many videos and read many stories about the Salute to American Veterans Rally but I had not been able to be fully immersed in the experience until last weekend. As I drove into the mountains on Saturday, seeing all of the motorcycles heading toward Woodland Park for the start of the ride, I thought to myself, "Wow! This is going to be something else!" After I arrived in Cripple Creek and was able to recon the area, I was impressed by the size and scope of what vendors were there and the happy crowds of mostly veterans walking around. When the parade began, I have never seen that many motorcycles in my life! And virtually every one of them was sporting an American flag! As the program unfolded, I was emotionally struck by the love and respect that the audience showed for America's military community and our veterans. I am having a hard time trying to think of something that the program may have missed or a salute that could have been made. Your team covered so many amazing and wonderful subjects in your program. I salute you!!!

John Wear
President USMC Vietnam Tankers Association



Dear Jim & Pam

You must have ordered the weather for the parade and other festivities for the Salute to Veterans. It was just perfect.

What a thrill to see the motorcycles make their entry to Cripple Creek and the others that were already there. I do believe it gets bigger each year.

Your selection of veterans to honor is always “spot on” but this year I think you outdid yourselves. I saw many tears of joy and respect when you told the story about the veterans and others that made a home possible for a father and son. Also, what a way to salute another veteran with that motorcycle! And, let not forget the Green Berets - what an outstanding group both on-duty and retired. I’m sure that they are very proud of the permanent trophy on display for everyone to see.

You always invite and honor the POW widows on this wonderful day and we are so proud to represent our late husbands and others that have gone on. Our Rocky Mountain Chapter of Ex-POWs is the only one in the state. We were the first and will be the last Chapter in Colorado and the possibility of disbanding this chapter is looming. If that happens it will only mean that our remaining members will not meet officially but we will still meet as friends and honor the members that made up this group of POWs.

Thanks very much for allowing us to participate with you to honor all veterans and especially the POWs and MIAs. Thanks to you we had a great dinner with the “City Fathers” of Cripple Creek and the special “shuttle” provided. We all appreciated and enjoyed it very much.

Jim, your closing remarks were powerful and reached many that need to hear the gratitude expressed by you in such a moving tribute - thanks.

Ruth Wilber Sheaves, Patricia Thompson, and Doris Stroup




On behalf of the entire Newmont team, I want to thank you for honoring American Veterans, POWs and MIAs with the 30th Annual POW/MIA Recognition Ride and the 25th Annual Salute to American Veterans Rally. As part of the Cripple Creek community, we are proud to be part of this patriotic event, not only showing our appreciation and support to our military and our veterans, but also sharing Newmont’s story and values with the attendees. Through Newmont’s Military Business Resource Group (BRG), we strive to attract, retain, and support our veterans and service members, and the Rally provides a great opportunity for our BRG to interface with the community.

On a personal note, and as I have told you face-to-face the past two years, thank you for facilitating this amazing assembly of patriots. There is something fantastic about how this Rally brings together such a remarkable number of positive, patriotic people. The ways in which you recognize, reward, and remember American Veterans, POWs and MIAs at the Rally is truly inspiring. The deep emotions and pride in service and country that I feel at this Rally are unmatched by anything else I have experienced, and must truly be seen, heard, and experienced first-hand to understand and appreciate. Thank you for all you do for our service members, veterans, POWs and MIAs.

Steve Spitze, Colonel (Ret.) US Army
Superintendent, Carlin Surface Mining Operations, Newmont Mining Corporation





It was an absolute honor to participate and represent Fort Carson during the 2017 Salute to American Veterans Rally! I did not think you could possibly top last year's effort, but you certainly did. It was extremely moving to see examples of Veterans helping Veterans with housing issues and the motorcycle give away. You continue to provide exceptional support to the Front Range Veteran Community and run a First Class event on behalf of the Veterans in our area. Fort Carson looks forward to participating in this outstanding event again next year!

COL Ron Fitch
Garrison Commander
Fort Carson, CO




I have been unveiling bikes for veterans for 5 years, Cripple Creek veterans rally was the best ever. Our crew was treated like guest and everyone enjoyed the Rally. More over I met several businessmen and they thanked us and told me when ever we are in town to let them know. They offered their hotels to us and wanted to donate.I believe we have found a home for our unveiling and a healing place for all veterans. Thank you so much for inviting us and making us feel like family.

John Barker
Chairman Combat Hero Bike Build




I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the 2017 Salute to American Veterans Rally at Cripple Creek. The two day event was nothing less than phenomenal! The program highlighted what it means to be a Veteran helping other Veterans. There were so many acts of kindness displayed during the event, and even included the gift of a Trike to a disabled Veteran so that he could enjoy doing what he loved to do before being injured in service of his country. I am truly amazed at the camaraderie of the event and will continue to attend as long as I am able.

SGM Richard L. Ayala Jr.
Sergeant Major G35
4th Infantry Division
Fort Carson, CO




As an active duty member of the United States military, it's always an honor and an inspiration to witness the incredible outpouring of support and patriotism expressed at the Veterans Rally. We live in a controversial and politically turbulent time, but everyone can appreciate the sacrifices made by service members--current and past. I felt a great sense of unity and pride at the festival, and it's a great reminder of why we do what we do.

TSgt Danielle Hoddy




I attended the 30th anniversary of the Salute to Veterans Rally in Cripple Creek and had a great time as always. While this is not my first time attending the annual event I was personally surprised that the organizers would take time to honor the service and sacrifice of the soldiers and veterans of the 10th Special Forces Group. We are normally known as the "Quiet Professionals" for a reason and don't usually seek out recognition of our deeds. I was approached by fellow veterans, other motorcycle enthusiasts and attendees throughout the rally thanking my brothers and I for our service to the nation, after the recognition ceremony brought some of our regiment's lineage and current activities in the war on terror to light. To see the big thank you card filled with notes, heartfelt well wishes or just plain signatures for our servicemen and women was amazing. I met others that I had served with, and hadn't seen in quite a while, and we shared some great memories and stories. We also tried to figure out where those we lost contact with are and what they are doing. The most humbling and emotional part of the rally is the Vietnam Moving Wall. Talking with veterans who point out names and share stories of those they served with is something you don't forget. Overall I had a great time and will attend next year's event.

Andy Tyler (MSG, USSF Ret.)




It was an honor to participate in this amazing event especially on the 30th anniversary. I have been a part of the memorial event in the past and I have attended this particular event as a private citizen before yet it was a huge honor to be included in this event this year. As a rider it made attending the event even that much more special. The love and pride the community has for our veterans of all eras is very humbling. Thank you again for allowing me the honor of being part of this event. I look forward to being back next year even to just enjoy as I have done in the past as a private citizen.


Chaplain (LTC) USA
4ID Division Chaplain
"Iron Horse Shepherd"




Thanks for inviting and allowing Eagle Warriors to unveil the Combat Hero Bike Build trike for Gunny Claude at the 2017 Salute to American Veterans Rally. We had volunteers attend from Oregon to North Carolina and without exception all our looking forward to presenting another bike at next year's rally. The support we received at the Rally was overwhelming and the town of Cripple Creek setting aside the weekend to honor veterans is beyond words.

It was especially enjoyable seeing so many young veterans attending the rally. Definitely one of the most patriotic events I have ever attended. You are to be commended for putting the event together and having it run so smoothly. Great event and venue!

Terry Sharp
Eagle Warriors/Combat Hero Bike Build
Director of Operations




The Salute to American Veterans Rally has always been a favorite. I have been attending this since I retired in 09. This has been the best one to date for several reasons. The 30th annual event and the memorial ride was very well set up in honoring all Veterans.

This year your addition of the Combat Hero's Bike Build presentation was phenomenal, everyone was in total awe at the presentation. The CHBB was very well received by all the rally supporters and you and your staff welcomed us in as family.

We look forward to next year's event and festivities. Working with you has been a pleasure. Thanks Jim,

Ray Cornmesser
CHBB Area Coordinator