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Superstar guitar man sports bird toenails

Andrew Harley
Special to the DailyTalons Fest '05 begins today with pre-registration at Red Tail Camp in Beaver Creek. The Talons Challenge represents some of Beaver Creek's toughest terrain, and participants will get a chance to ski or ride alongside some of Colorado's finest athletes.
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Somebody’s probably said that birds can’t dance. They fly and nest and perch and sing, and are wary of anything out to clip their wings.Blues bigshot Kenny Wayne Shepherd swaggers into Beaver Creek Saturday with his righteous hooks and fiery riffs, and he aims to get those talons tapping.Shepherd headlines Talons Fest ’05 in Beaver Creek with a free House of Blues Village Party show on Saturday from 4-6 p.m.Talons Fest ’05 gets going today at Red Tail Camp in Beaver Creek with a snow sculpture contest and an opportunity to pre-register for the Talons Challenge.The Talons Challenge happens all week until the lifts close on Saturday afternoon. Chris Anthony, a veritable human-highlight reel of Warren Miller films, leads the crew of Talons Challengers on Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. Mike Kloser, the World Adventure Racing Champion, leads the pack on Friday from 10 a.m. And, on Saturday, X Games and skiercross professional Eric Archer inspires Talons Challengers to complete their quest starting at 10 a.m.”Basically, we took a few athletes that really stand out, and have done a lot in their careers,” said Beaver Creek’s Christina Schleicher. “Talons Fest is a great chance to meet some top athletes, ski with them and enjoy some great music as well.”Talons Fest ’05 represents both a mountain challenge and a music festival, and all of the events are open to all interested participants and are free of charge.Blues man’s group

Shepherd will act as grand finale for the Talons festivities.Shepherd found music as his way of life at a very early age. He pursued guitar grandeur, and began performing live at the age of 13.At 17, Shepherd exploded into popular American blues when his debut album, “Ledbetter Heights,” topped Billboard’s Blues charts for five months.Shepherd has since put eight years of touring and notched three more albums on his fretboard. His most recent release, “The Place You’re In,” marks his first shot at singing on an album.”The Place You’re In” is a departure from Shepherd’s more traditionally-sounding blues creations, and an exploration in alternative rocks tones.”Although I established myself in the blues, my music has always had rock elements. When I started writing for this album, I just went where the songs led me and found myself opening up to another side of my music,” said Shepherd in a recent press release. Shepherd attributes his new, confident singing voice to “a moment of clarity.””I suddenly saw myself up on stage, fronting the band, singing and playing guitar. I finally locked on how these two elements can work off each other,” said Shepherd. “All of a sudden, I understood how making the songs my own as a vocalist would give so much more passion to my guitar playing and vice versa.”Shepherd’s band includes singer Noah Hunt, keyboardist Jimmy Wallace, Michael Devin on bass, Shaun Hague on rhythm guitar and drummer Bogie Bowles.”We’re really psyched to have Kenny Wayne Shepherd. This is one of the biggest concerts that we’ve had on Beaver Creek Plaza,” said Schleicher.

Athletic adventureThe Talons Challenge has traditionally been a program utilized to build loyalty in ski and snowboard school curricula. It was designed for more advanced students.Since the challenge has been opened to the public this week, Talons Fest will allow participants to attempt completion of its 13 runs – 23,722 vertical feet – over the course of five days.The runs are not Beaver Creek’s easy, breezy green groomers, they can all be accessed by chairs 9, 10 and 11. Goshawk, Peregrine, Golden Eagle, Lupine, Shooting Star, Loco, Screech Owl, Raven Ridge, Ptarmigan, Ruffed Grouse, Bald Eagle, Falcon Park and Osprey make up the gauntlet.Upon completion of a run, each participant requires a signature proving completion. Finishers of all 13 runs will receive a lanyard, a collector’s pin, bragging rights and names will be engraved on brass plates and placed on “The Talons Wall of Fame” alongside other champions.”Everyone who completes it by 3 p.m. on Saturday can enter their card in a drawing to win a trip to the House of Blues in Chicago,” said Schleicher.The theme for today’s snow sculpture contest, which is new this year, is birds of prey, and anyone can enter.”It’s just designed as a fun event for amateur snow sculptors. So, kids and parents and individuals can come up and try their hand at sculpting a sculpture within the theme of birds of prey,” said Schleicher.



To sign up for the snow sculpture contest or for any other information regarding Talons Fest ’05, visit http://www.beavercreek.com or call 845-9090.Talons Fest ’05 ScheduleWednesday, January 5th: Snow Sculpture contest from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Red Tail Camp with $500 in prizes. Ski or ride the Talons Challenge.Thursday, Jan. 6th: Ski or ride the Talons with Chris Anthony at 10 a.m.Friday, Jan. 7th: Ski or ride the Talons with Mike Kloser at 10 a.m.Saturday, Jan. 8th: Ski or ride the Talons with Eric Archer at 10 a.m. Kenny Wayne Shepherd rocks out in Beaver Creek Village for free from 4-6 p.m.Vail, Colorado


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