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  • Nina Reed performs on a pole during the 2014 Bolder...

    Daily Camera file photo

    Nina Reed performs on a pole during the 2014 Bolder Boulder. The race isn't just for athletes, but live performers, too.

  • There will be a couple of Slip 'N slides present,...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    There will be a couple of Slip 'N slides present, as usual, at the Bolder Boulder.

  • The Black and Blues Guys perform during the citizen race...

    AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post

    The Black and Blues Guys perform during the citizen race in 2015. The band will be performing again at this year's Bolder Boulder on Monday.

  • Justin Caldwell, left, and Max Verhaeghe play a game of...

    Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Justin Caldwell, left, and Max Verhaeghe play a game of cornhole during the 2013 Bolder Boulder.

  • Shari Gerson was passing out beers to runners as she...

    Cyrus McCrimmon / The Denver Post

    Shari Gerson was passing out beers to runners as she drank a little Pabst herself at the 2009 Bolder Boulder.



38th annual Bolder Boulder

When: Memorial Day, May 30

Start times: Professional wheelchair race — 6:50 a.m.; Citizen’s race — 6:55 a.m.; Professional women’s race — 11:13 a.m.; Professional men’s race — 11:24 a.m.


Entertainment lineup

Start: Dave McLoughlin on trumpet for a call to the post

30th and Pearl: Black and Blues Guys

30th and Mapleton: DJ Covex

30th and Bluff: Chick-Fil-A dancing cows

30th and Valmont: Logo Ligi

29th and Valmont: Solterra

2840 28th St.: 101st Army Country Band

28th and Pine: Edison

Pine and Folsom: DJ Eddie Rose

Folsom/HillTop: Desert Rain belly dancers

Folsom/HillTop: Jane Hunt live painting

Folsom and Valmont: Elvis

Mile 2: Boulder High Poms

23rd and Glenwood: Gamelan Tunas Mekar (music from Bali)

19th and Glenwood: Rocky Ridge bluegrass students

19th and Floral: Beledi Dance Caravan (belly dancing)

19th and Elder: Ms. Tu-Tu

Cedar and Ellison: Zumba Dancers

14th and Cedar: DJ Fleugel

13th and Balsam: AJ Silverberg (folk musician)

13th and North: Zyzzyx Road

13th and Portland: The Royal Pains

13th and Mapleton: Foxfeather

13th and Spruce: Liz Barnez

14th and Spruce: Aspen Hourglass

15th and Pearl: The Who Dos

17th and Pearl: Taylor Scott

20th and Pearl: The Deciders and Friends

21st and Walnut: Brandon Copeland

Walnut and Folsom: Banshee Tree

Folsom and Canyon: The Goonies

25th and Arapahoe: U.S. Navy Band Northwest Passage/Boulder Samba

Folsom and Arapahoe: Tailgater Rockstars

Folsom and Newton: Centennial Pipe Band

Stadium Drive: Boulder High Pep Band

Expo: The Pamlico Sound

Look, Boulder. Life isn’t always about exercise.

Some of us have beers to drink. Rugs to cut. Upright basses to slap. Kegs to tend.

On Memorial Day, this city will offer good reason to do it all.

The 38th annual Bolder Boulder will feature 50,000-plus runners on their marks to get ready, set and go, while another 70,000-plus spectators party on the sidelines.

Like its eclectic race costumes, live entertainment has been a key element of the famed 10K race since 1980. Ron Bostwick, entertainment director for the Bolder Boulder, said he has been wrangling local acts along the 6.2-mile course for 10 years.

“The Front Range has a plethora of talent,” Bostwick said. “My goal is to showcase that as much as I can.”

Touted as the third-largest road race in the nation, the first leg of the 10K kicks off at 6:50 a.m. Throughout the day, more than 30 live entertainers will be featured, and Bostwick said much of the show is catered to traditionalists in an attempt to continue the community tradition.

“I want the entertainment along the course to be like going to the same vacation spot every year,” he said. “Every year, spectators can return and see Elvis at the 7-Eleven. Or the Blues Brothers band right out of the gate. That’s the type of community connections we want to make happen.”

On a route lined with party spots, lemonade stands, cheerleaders, bagpipers, gymnasts, hula-hoopers and costumed pets (no pole dancers this year, says Vivienne Palmer, organizer of the Polder Boulder — but hopefully next year, she said via email), runners can finish with a satisfied smile.

Bostwick said he also likes to usher in a new set of talent each year — like DJ Covex.

Covex, aka Brendan Bell, a 2015 graduate of Fairview High School, said he will be spinning a variety of electronic music (from future bass to drum and bass beats, he said) at 30th and Mapleton.

“I’m happy for the athletes and runners whizzing past me, as long as they can hear my music,” said Bell, who is now studying music and recording arts at University of Colorado-Denver.

Bell had a big 2015. Aside from performing at Denver’s big New Year’s Eve bash Decadence (among the likes of Bassnectar, Odesza and Deadmau5), he was the winner of eTown’s Handmade Song Series.

He said playing the Bolder Boulder can pose a bit of a challenge because, like performing at a DIY show, he has to provide and set up his own equipment. But that’s no stretch from playing house parties, he said, so it should be fairly easy.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Bell. “I’ve never played for four hours or performed ‘in front of’ 50,000 people before so it’ll be a new experience for me completely.”

Bostwick said Boulder County craft brewery and race sponsor Oskar Blues will have party spots all along the course.

Diana Ralson, director of sponsorship at the Longmont brewery, said the crew sets up camp at various house parties and will be handing out “canned bling and high-fives to runners from people in beer-can suits.”

“It’s such an iconic event, the whole town comes out,” said Ralson. “People are hosting house parties, so we got together with the community to find out where these parties are happening and we set up close by.

“We like to be a part of the whole spectacle of the day,” she added.

Ralson said when it comes to drinking and running, Oskar Blues’ Pinner is a good choice — it’s a lower-alcohol, sessionable IPA that is a nice fit with the active running community.

“We call it the anti-ficial recovery drink of the Bolder Boulder,” she said.

And what about a pre-run brew?

“Maybe the Beerito?” she said, laughing, adding that Oskar Blues’ low-alcohol Mexican lager could help runners either go fast or at least “numb their pain.”

“The lighter beers are easily paired with running. But it really runs the gamut of which beers the runners like to chug before the race.”

Boulder’s seven-piece horn-funk band, Pamlico Sound, who won Oskar Blues’ Battle of the Bands honor in February, earned itself a headlining gig on the main stage at the end of the course — which will sit outside of Folsom Field on the University of Colorado campus.

Another feature organizers are bringing back from its debut last year is visual arts, through a partnership with the Boulder County Arts Alliance.

“We’ve created a synergy between the athletic world and the art world in Boulder,” Bostwick said.

This year there will be four members of BCAA on the course: Logo Ligi, a group of African drummers; Rocky Ridge Music Academy featuring bluegrass students; The Schiff Dance Collective; and Jane Hunt, a local landscape painter doing a live painting.

And, as tradition, Boulder’s KBCO will release the “Bootlegs Volume 13,” an album featuring the performers who are playing along this year’s route. It can be accessed at

So as runners are cheered on by thousands of the biggest fans they’ve never met — with signs like, “Go random stranger, go!” — they can make that 10K a bit easier with some sideline bacon, beer, beats and random buddies.

“It’s Boulder’s big party,” Bostwick said.

And we’re all invited.

Christy Fantz: 303-473-1107, or

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