Since its humble beginning in 1979, with just 2,700 participants, Bolder Boulder has grown to be one of the most notable races on the planet.
Every Memorial Day, racers — some costumed, some world-renowned — dash through downtown Boulder and complete the course at a stadium-packed Folsom Field. Besides all the enthusiastic sprinting to the finish line, the real magic of this unique trek can be found on the sidelines. In typical Boulder fashion, the variety of entertainment is anything but conventional. Past Bolder Boulders have featured pole dancers, slip ‘n’ slides, enthusiastic drummers, blazing electric guitarists and the occasional random yard party.
“We have everything from elderly hula dancers to rock ‘n’ roll bands and every other genre of band as well,” said Dee Rohrbaugh, first-time entertainment coordinator for Bolder Boulder. “We’ll have belly dancers, bagpipers and of course, the Blues Brothers and Elvis.”
With 33 officially scheduled musicians and performance groups, and the variety of independent eccentric sideliners that bring a bit of their own brand of zany, Bolder Boulder proves to be the ultimate in people-watching. From ska band The Dendrites to Green Day tribute band, American Idiot, the day’s eclectic soundtrack will be unmatched.
“I think some standout bands will be The Simple Parade, Famous Men, Eighty Percent Human, the list goes on,” said Rohrbaugh.
Psychedelic trio Jackson Cloud Odyssey will be keeping things rockin’ at Folsom and Arapahoe. At 23rd and Glenwood, Denver-based Industrial Dance Alliance will be treating racers and onlookers to thought-provoking choreography. No shortage of DJs, Southern rockers and hip-hoppers will be sharing their artistry along the route.
“The most rewarding thing for me is going out and seeing the bands that I hire and getting to know them,” said Rohrbaugh, who previously organized entertainment on a smaller scale for FORTitude race in Fort Collins. “Also, working with the business owners and people who allow us to have our acts on their properties. It’s great building those relationships.”
Wanting to make the lineup have a little something for everyone, Rohrbaugh made sure to add a diverse array of high-energy crowd-pleasers.
“Because I’m new at this, I’m just looking forward to the energy that the race is going to bring to Boulder once again,” said Rohrbaugh. “Being a part of this is going to be exciting. Everyone seems to love the race and the whole atmosphere that it brings.”
Multiple area businesses will be partaking in the day’s festivities, with Boulder’s Twisted Pine Brewing Co. throwing an unofficial Bolder Boulder after-party called “Will Run for Beer,” which will be complete with games and plenty of opportunities to recharge physically and mentally following the race.
Hannah Olbrich, director of possibilities at Twisted Pine, said that there is a convenient drop-off for the race right by the brewery.
“We’ll be there cheering on runners before the race and offering them beverages from Skratch Labs,” said Olbrich, who will also be passing out “Will Run for Beer” stickers that can be used for a buy-one-get-one pint after the race. “I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone that comes back to Twisted Pine after the race that’s in search of a well-earned beer.”
According to Olbrich, the hoppy fermented beverage is actually a pretty smart option, post run.
“Since beer is mostly water, I’d say that any type of beer that you enjoy drinking will be the best choice,” said Olbrich. “However, we do have a special beer release the day of the party called Bolder Bandit, which is a classic German Gose with a refreshing, slightly tart taste, subtle saltiness and a hint of coriander. It’s our take on an electrolyte drink — minus the electrolytes.”
Those not keen on straight-up beer will have a chance to sample a refreshing mash-up on race day that may just evoke memories of a classic summer Shandy.
“We also are doing a collaborative beverage with Upstart Kombucha, which is a mix of their Lemon Ginger Kombucha with Twisted Pine’s Bolder Bandit — refreshing, but with a kick in the pants, thanks to the ginger.”
In addition to offering new and different varieties to sip, Twisted Pine will go a step further by providing after-party guests with chances to both play and Zen out at a massage therapist station provided by local CBD company Be Well Dexter.
“I’m definitely going to take advantage of (that),” said Olbrich. “We’ll have hammocks by Trek Lite, which will be perfect for a post-run nap. And of course, there will be corn hole and giant beer pong outside.”
Although the team at Twisted Pine isn’t afraid to break a sweat, they are leaving this race to the 50,000 and counting participants that plan to run, walk, jog, sprint, wheel or dance to the finish line.
“While a good number of us at Twisted Pine are world-class athletes, we collectively decided that we’d bow out of this year’s race to focus on making the ‘Will Run for Beer’ party as awesome as possible,” said Olbrich.
If you go
What: Bolder Boulder and Twisted Pine’s Unofficial After PartyWhen: Monday, 5:45 a.m., after party at noonWhere: race held throughout Boulder, after party at Twisted Pine, 3201 Walnut St., BoulderCost: watching the race and attending the after party is freeMore info: twistedpinebrewing.com/will-run-for-beer