By Eric E. Parris | Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. — As Exit West sang the Toby Keith hit, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” it was clear the Western Street Breakfast was back in full force June 16, 2021, in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado.
About 45 Soldiers from Fort Carson volunteered to support the street breakfast, cooking mounds of pancakes, eggs, along with having plenty of syrup, coffee and orange juice on hand for hungry attendees.
The street breakfast, which was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, returned as more than 10,000 people were on hand to celebrate Western heritage with food, music and activities for all ages.
Fort Carson has provided support for more than 40 years.
The Soldiers arrived at the event site in the early morning hours before the breakfast kicked off at 5:30 a.m.
“It’s a great opportunity for our Soldiers to come out and support the community and work this way with the Air Force, too,” said Sgt. Maj. Charlene Coleman, the culinary management sergeant major, 4th Infantry Division.
Four Airmen from Peterson Air Force Base along with about 20 personnel from the U.S. Air Force Academy, which included student athletes, volunteered at the street breakfast.
“This is an important community event and certainly the athletic department and academy wanted to be part of that and support it,” said Nathan Pine, director of athletics, Air Force Academy.
And it’s about giving back to the local community.
“We always ask the community to come and be part of our events at the academy, so it’s important for us to be front and center when there are community events downtown, too,” Pine said.
The crowd, many of whom sat on the 1,100 hay bales, was entertained with music by the Flying W Wranglers and the country rock band Exit West, along with a performance by the Sweetwater Native American dancers.
A Stryker vehicle was provided by the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.
This led up to the traditional departure of the Pikes Peak Range Riders, a group of about 160 city leaders and businessmen, down Pikes Peak Avenue. Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson; Col. Nate Springer, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson; and the Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard led the riders through downtown on the first day of their annual five-day trek around the Pikes Peak area while promoting the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo (PPBR).
This is the 73rd year the range riders have made this ride to promote the PPBR. The rodeo is July 14-17 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center.
This is the 80th year for the rodeo.
Sgt. 1st Class Raymund Ubaldo, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., welcomed the opportunity to support the local community.
“We are feeding a lot of people today,” Ubaldo said. “It’s a tradition and a good experience.”
The street breakfast is more than just a time for eating breakfast and music.
“It’s a celebration of our Western heritage and a destination event for Colorado Springs,” said Kevin Kaveney, the co-chair of the Colorado Springs Western Street Breakfast committee.
It serves as the kick-off event for the PPBR and many other Western heritage events for this summer.
The success of the street breakfast was due in part to the support of the Soldiers.
“(The street breakfast) wouldn’t have happened without the help of our Soldiers from Fort Carson,” said Kaveney.