‘Pete’s Dream’ monument gaining growing support in Vail | VailDaily.com

‘Pete’s Dream’ monument gaining growing support in Vail

Vail Pioneer Roger Tilkemeier is leading the effort to create "Pete's Dream," a monument commemorating all the ranching and homesteading families in the Gore Creek Valley, and Pete Seibert and others who helped take Vail from a dream to a reality.
Randy Wyrick|randy@vaildaily.com |

Send donations to

Town of Vail/Art in Public Places

Attn. Molly Eppard

1309 Elkhorn Dr.

Vail, CO 81657

For more information, contact Roger Tilkemeier at roger.tilkemeier@gmail.com.

VAIL — People should know who was here when Vail started — and for decades before that, Roger Tilkemeier said.

Tilkemeier wandered into the Claggett-Rey Gallery to speak with his long-time friend Bill Rey. Tilkemeier suggested he would like renowned sculptor Herb Mignery to create a monument, an idea Mignery loved because it’s right in his wheelhouse.

“We hit it off right away,” Mignery said.

‘Pete’s Dream’

The monument will be called “Pete’s Dream,” it’ll be larger than life, and it’ll cost $400,000 to make “Pete’s Dream” a reality.

The monument will be at the top of Bridge Street above the Covered Bridge, about where Pete and Earl Eaton parked Eaton’s Jeep one pre-dawn day and climbed to where Chair 4 is now. To get there, they climbed on land homesteaded and ranched by some of the Gore Creek Valley’s legendary ranch families.

Vail’s Art in Public Places board is behind the idea, and the Vail Town Council has approved it. The town has also created a “Pete’s Dream” account to make it easier for people to make tax-deductible donations to the project.

Mignery’s work is Western Americana with a respectful eye toward the West’s quieter moments.

“It was a project that I really welcomed,” Mignery said. “It was along the lines of what I had done in the past, action sculptures.”

In front of the Claggett-Rey Gallery is The Hungry Loop, featuring a down-on-his-luck cowboy preparing for a rodeo and who really needs to finish in the money. In the rodeo world, those ropers are said to have a “hungry loop,” Mignery said.

“I like to look at the meditative and reflective moments, cowboys and Indians were supposed to be the stars of the Old West, but the homesteaders reflect the more solid foundation of those stories,” Mignery said.

“Checkmate,” in Avon, is one of Minery’s sculptures. It’s the one with two horses rearing apart with a rider on one.

There’s a model of “Pete’s Dream” in the Claggett-Rey Gallery. The cowboy in “Pete’s Dream” represents that cowboy and all of the ranchers who played a vital role in kickstarting Vail, Rey said.

The monument will be a life-sized bronze sculpture memorializing Pete and the ranchers who established the land and water rights, without which Vail could not exist.

Risk takers

“This is about the risk-takers: Pete, Earl and all those early believers,” Rey said.

Speaking of risk takers, Tilkemeier, 88 was the first to build houses in East Vail. He also helped found the Eagle Valley Land Trust.

Vail’s lifts started turning on Dec. 15, 1962. Legend has it that they celebrated Vail’s original Opening Day with dinner at The Lodge at Vail, which was so new that when they sat down to dinner they had to be careful. The paint on the walls was still wet.

“As the ranchers did earlier, the Vail pioneers scratched and scraped to form a community of emotionally charged people who developed a distinct culture of their own, the culture of Vail,” Tilkemeier said. “Without them and that essential culture, Vail would not exist today.”

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