"Miss Bo Peep’ – "the girl who closed down Vail’
It saved the parishioners from driving to church at St. Patrick’s in Minturn.
In addition to his many unbelievable but stimulating stories, Bill Whiteford was also a practical joker – a very serious practical joker.
In the summer of 1965 ,Vail had one of its first sellout conventions – all the hotels were full. It was the Colorado Wool Growers’ annual meeting, and between 300 and 400 people were in attendance. The wool growers were affluent owners of the many bands of sheep that grazed in the mountains each summer. They were to spend three days in Vail, and the town looked forward to having them improve its tax base.
Their big party in the Casino was to be on Friday night. Can you imagine my surprise when, on Saturday morning, several guests in the Plaza came to my office most irate and ready to check out – never to return?
Totally unaware, I asked what had happened. The wool growers wanted Whiteford to furnish a belly dancer, preferably Greek, but he couldn’t find one. He did, however, arrange for what he thought to be a tasteful girl – attractive and suitable for mixed audiences.
Bill put up signs everywhere, “See Miss Bo Peep, sheared three times a night!”
The show was open to all and everybody came – not just the wool growers. There weren’t many other tourists at the time, because the streets were not paved. Construction workers featured prominently in the audience.
Miss Bo Peep got carried away, did a complete strip, and invited participation from the men in the crowd. It caused an uproar. People started for the doors but found them locked. What kind of a practical joke was this?
Whiteford said he missed it all. He was down in his office writing Miss Bo Peep a check. An electrician named Arnold, with a patch over his eye, came bursting into Whiteford’s office, saying, “I’ve been in some rough places, but this beats them all!”
“She took all her clothes off and straddled me lying on the floor, trying to give her dollar bills,” Whiteford said.
It was devastating. The wives of the Greek sheepherders were embarrassed. It broke up the entire convention and there were many checkouts. Bill lost his license for six weeks.
As for Miss Bo Peep, she became instantly famous: She went to Las Vegas with the headliner “The Girl Who Closed Down Vail!”
And for the town – Bill pulled the wool over their eyes!
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 123rd installment, an excerpt from chapter 14, “Bill Whiteford: The Lovable, Incorrigible Scoundrel.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.