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USA Pro Challenge host city, Gunnison: facts and fables

March 10, 2012

Historic downtown Gunnison (photo by Jeffrey Beall, Flickr)

Gunnison enjoys its reputation as a real western town.

When the best cyclists in the world line up there on August 22nd to start stage three of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (UPCC), they’ll stand in the land of rugged men past and present, where the fishing’s great and the stars shine over clear skies.

Rugged men and women

In 1882, Wyatt Earp – lawman, investor, and fierce gunman – and his brother Warren sojourned in the Gunnison area after taking revenge on the suspected killers of one of their brothers.

Today Gunnison is home to David Wiens, world champion mountain biker and six-time winner of the Leadville 100 MTB race.

Residents of both sexes tough out some cold winters. The Weather Channel selected Gunnison as one of America’s five coldest cities. Gunnison’s all-time record low is a frosty -47° Farenheit and the average last freeze date is June 24th. If the averages hold true, daytime temperature should reach about 77 degrees Farenheit on stage 3 of the UPCC.

Great fishing in water and on land

How is it that “Gunnison County‘s population is mostly fish”? Nine miles from the city of Gunnison anglers can cast their lines for Kokanee salmon as well as several varieties of trout in the Blue Mesa Reservoir. It’s the largest body of water in Colorado. Rocky, dry canyon hills and cliffs rise in striking contrast along both sides of the long cool blue reservoir. Fish also thrive in the many rivers in Gunnison County, including the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers.

It might be a stretch to call it fishing when a cowboy tosses a lasso to rope a calf, but it’s not a stretch to call Gunnison’s Cattlemen’s Days the oldest and longest running rodeo in Colorado. Cattlemen’s Days began in 1900 at about the time Wyatt Earp checked in a pistol with the Juneau Alsaska marshall’s office.

starry sky (photo by Daniele Malleo, dmalleo, Flickr)

Clear skies

Friday and Saturday evenings in summer the Gunnison Valley Observatory shares its 30 inch reflector telescope with the public. See a photo of the blue and pink Ring Nebula on the observatory’s website.

Clear skies and a dry climate make Gunnison the perfect place for an antique car collection. The Andy Mallett Antique Car Museum at the Gunnison Pioneer Museum displays one of the largest antique car collections in Colorado with 63 vehicles.

See also:

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Durango: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Telluride: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Montrose: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Mount / Crested Butte: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Aspen: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Beaver Creek: facts and fables

[Many thanks to Daniele Malleo and Jeffrey Beall for Creative Commons sharing on Flickr.]

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6 Comments
  1. You forgot a couple of important facts — like the W on the mountain is the largest college letter in the US (or at least was when I was growing up there). There was also the La Veta Hotel (which unfortunately no longer exists) which would serve free dinner every day the sun didn’t shine — they only did that three times!

    It was a great place to grow up and I love visiting it now!

    • Katie! Thank you so much for that information, it’s fabulous! They are just the types of “quirky” items I hope to include in these pieces about the USA Pro Challenge host cities. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  2. Gunnison also is home to Western State College of Colorado (David Wein’s alma mater), which was the first public college on Colorado’s Western Slope when it was founded in 1901. Western is also the fourth-oldest public college in the state. And to my knowledge, the “W” on the mountain still is the largest collegiate symbol. Western is proud to be the title sponsor of the UPCC Gunnison Stage Start.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. USA Pro Challenge Host City, Mount / Crested Butte: facts and fables « ProVéloPassion
  2. USA Pro Challenge host city, Aspen: facts and fables « ProVéloPassion
  3. 2012 USA Pro Challenge Route Details Announced « ProVéloPassion

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