THE COLORADO KID RIDES INTO THE SUNSET
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EDDIE ORTIVEZ WAS AN ICONIC FIXTURE IN WALSENBURG; A REAL GUN TOTING, HORSE BREAKING, TRAIL DRIVING COWBOY
The name "Colorado Kid' came to him early in life, while he was still in school. It was told that he was wearing a vest with the word "Colorado" lettered across the back, it didn't take long before his classmates started calling him the Colorado Kid. The name stuck.
Eddie Ortivez, also known as the Colorado Kid, was born on September 26, 1931, the youngest child of Demon and Anaudrelieto Ortivez, on a small sheep ranch near the Huerfano. The family then moved to Del Carbon, where Eddie grew up, made lifelong friends, went to school, and earned his nickname.
During his childhood, the coal-mining boom of southern Colorado was slowly subsiding and the meager years of the Great Depression were approaching. The boom was going bust big time, and thousands of miners in southern Colorado lost their jobs. His family was among those in trouble, so the Kid was there to help. He was only 14, in the eighth grade, when he had to quit school and was hired local sheep ranches.
Eddie stayed close to home during most of his working days. Only once did he head north, hiring on as a ranch hand on a sheep ranch in Wyoming. After spending less than a year up there, he longed for Huerfano County and returned home. He went with the flow, taking on local ranching jobs where they were available.
He liked to reminisce on some of his best memories, including the occasional times he was able to participate in the trail drives. Coordinated for tourists and local folks, the drives were overnight,wagon-train-style events,with wagons and riders slowly making their way through the more beautiful parts of the country. He also spoke fondly of working on the Sulfur Springs Ranch near La Veta. Not all his remembrances were quite so idyllic. The Kid also spoke about the time he found a dead woman in a refrigerator while he was rounding up cattle near a trash dump.
The Colorado Kid was known for his impeccable ability to break horses. His epic command of the animals was like nothing else, and there are horses still being ridden today that he trained.
In December of 2011 he lost the home he lived in with his sister Cora on the edge of Walsenburg. His nephew Anthony and his wife, Jennifer Ortibez, took over the job of watching out for Eddie in his old age, no small feat as he continued to walk around town, talking to everyone he came across. Colorado knew no strangers. If you met him, you were his friend. He was always easy to spot, wearing his western vest, leather with a fringe jacket, leather gloves, and his unique cowboy hat, scarf, and whip.
Colorado Kid was no Hollywood cowboy. He was the real deal, a real working cowboy, no glitz, no glamour. A real Colorado Cowboy.
And this was only part of the story of Eddie Ortivez, the man, the myth, the legend. The Colorado Kid touched so many people that he is sure to ride on in memory for a long time.
A Memorial Service is scheduled at 12:00 noon, Thursday May 9, 2019 at St. Mary Catholic Church, followed by a pot luck reception at Delaney Hall.