Cordillera says ‘no’ to sleighs |

Cordillera says ‘no’ to sleighs

EDWARDS, Colorado – For the past 13 years, Bearcat Stables and Leeds Butcher contracted to run the sleigh rides out of the Timber Hearth in Cordillera.

But like three of Cordillera’s golf courses and other facilities, the Timber Hearth is not open and Bearcat is parking the sleighs this winter.

They’ll still do horseback rides, Butcher said, but that one-horse open sleigh is looking for a new place to go dashing through the snow.

“It’s hurting more than the club members,” Butcher said. “A lot of us are out of a livelihood. We’ll live through the winter doing everything we can. It makes a lot of sleepless nights when you’re stuck in the middle of a situation you didn’t create and have no control over.”

Bearcat Stables and Indian Summer Outfitters had three winter employees, plus himself and his business partner, Butcher said.

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“I’ve turned down more than 500 reservations through the holidays and winter season,” Butcher said.

It’s the latest twist in the ongoing dispute and legal battle of Club at Cordillera owner David Wilhelm and the Wilhelm Family Trust versus club members and property owners.

The dispute left dozens of golf course workers jobless last summer when Wilhelm refused to open three of Cordillera’s four golf courses.

Now it’s Bearcat Stables being forced out.

“I don’t know what’s changed other than spite,” Butcher said.

Some of Cordillera’s homeowners are trying to help, Butcher said.

“It’s a tight community. The homeowners have been very supportive,” Butcher said.

The Cordillera Lodge and Spa called and asked Bearcat to run sleigh rides for them, and they agreed, Butcher said.

Cordillera’s owners, the Wilhelm Family Partnership that owns the golf courses, said they wanted a $2,750 deposit to cover damages to the turf, according to an email exchange between Butcher and Cathy Kulzer, the Club at Cordillera’s vice president and director of operations and development.

Butcher agreed and asked that the deposit be maintained by the Cordillera Metro District, as a third party.

That’s when Kulzer and the Wilhelms pulled the plug.

“Let’s forget this idea. Too much brain damage for the short sleigh ride,” Kulzer wrote.

It’s always been a handshake deal, Butcher said. They ran their sleighs over parts of Cordillera and Bearcat carried all the insurance, he said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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