News Column

Olympic celebration kicks off in 'thrilling' fashion for large crowd

July 26, 2014

By Stephen Hobbs, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

July 26--A blustery afternoon gave way to an entertaining evening for the Olympic Downtown Celebration in Colorado Springs Friday, as live music, sports demonstrations and autograph sessions with former Denver Broncos helped kickoff the local start of the Rocky Mountain State Games.

Four members of the Xpogo stunt team performed for crowds of hundreds that circled around the intersection of Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street.

Dalton Smith, 17, Michael Mena, 21, Jake Fagliaron, 20, and Nick McClintock, 27. bounced, flipped and jumped for onlookers in three different sessions.

After the first show of the evening, 9-year-old twins Colton and Zac Osburne raced over to check out the pogo stick riders up close.

The brothers are competing in speed skating races as part of the state games, and their mother, Lyn, was "thrilled" that they got to kick off the games in a fun way.

"That was pretty cool," Colton said when he returned. "I pogo stick sometimes, but I can't do that."

McClintock, one of the co-founders of Xpogo, said that events were also fun for the performers.

"We get to travel to new places and meet new people and spread the sport," he said.

Representatives from organizations like USA Rugby, USA Wrestling and U.S. Figure Skating were among the organizations out Friday to spread the word about their respective sports. Kids and young adults wrestled on mats, kicked soccer balls and practiced Taekwondo while music pumped in through speakers played in the background.

On the other side of Tejon Street, next to Kiowa Street, Colorado Springs-based 'Grass it up' performed on stage, while people gathered in the street and outside adjacent bars and restaurants.

Megan and Jeremiah Snyder bounced their heads and tapped their tapped as the band played.

Coming to the event had been a spontaneous thing for them.

"Earlier today I wanted to hear bluegrass," Megan said. She heard about the free event and they decided to show up.

After the band performed and the sun started to set, Susan Laabs, was leaning on a parking meter waiting for the live music to continue. Country singer Josh Gracin headlined the music for the evening and was about to perform. Laabs said she was not familiar with his music, but she was also was excited to hear Gracin perform.

"I love live music," she said. "It should be a lot of fun.


(c)2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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Source: Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)

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