Tenderfoot Mountain lit up with its orange and blue heart Saturday night, and Sunday morning a few Denver Broncos showed up.
It’s not quite the Bat Signal, but for some area residents, their heroes had arrived.
The Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos sent five representatives to Salida Sunday for their “Salute to Fans” tour: cheerleaders Emily G. and Faymie, Broncos mascot Miles, linebacker Todd Davis and wide receiver Jordan Norwood.
Along with more than 20 members of the Salida High School football team, the Broncos put on a football training camp for members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaffee County.
The camp included drills such as tackling, catching and passing.
For some kids, participating in the drills was just another day of practice. Kailli Turner, 10, of Buena Vista went from station to station with no problems following directions for the drills.
That’s to be expected since she plays tight end for her team in Buena Vista.
“I’m the only girl on my team,” Turner said. “It was really fun, and so is this practice.”
Norwood said getting to see kids have fun with the drills and “jump on some bags” was a great experience.
He said he was nervous the whole run during his record-breaking 61-yard punt return against the Carolina Panthers at Super Bowl 50.
Even a big stage like the Super Bowl couldn’t help Norwood shake the nerves and excitement he felt working with the kids Sunday.
“(The nerves were) a little different, but I still get nervous having to talk to kids,” Norwood said. “The nerves were there but they were good nerves.”
Davis, who said it was great to win the Super Bowl after being dubbed an underdog, said he saw great things in the kids on the field.
“There were a lot of great kids out there with plenty of potential,” Davis said. “The enthusiasm from all of these kids is great for me to see.”
Brian Beaulieu, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaffee County made it known that the players’ visit to the Salida turf was about the kids.
“When we first heard from El Pomar Foundation and they asked would we like to host the Salute to Fans tour, we said absolutely,” Beaulieu said. “They came to Salida because there was a Boys & Girls Club. We wanted that experience for the Boys & Girls Club kids.”
The El Pomar Foundation was responsible for getting the Denver Broncos to Salida and made the experience at Salida High School possible. Beaulieu said he was grateful they made the trip, especially for the kids.
While many camp participants were happy to see Miles, James Medina, 8, of Leadville said he was happy to see just one player in a Broncos jersey.
“It was good seeing No. 51,” James said.
No. 51 was Davis, who reciprocated those feelings.
“When the kids are really excited and having a good time, it makes our time that much better.” Davis said. “I feel like when I have the opportunity to give back. I have to take it.”
Following a talk with the kids, the Broncos headed to Salida SteamPlant to autograph memorabilia and have their pictures taken.
Hazel Brown, 7, of Salida said she enjoyed the experience on and off the field and several parts of the morning made it especially exciting.
“Everything was fun, Miles was nice,” Hazel said. “It was fun doing the drills, and meeting the cheerleaders was my favorite.”
Keenan Cooper, 10, of Fairplay also got items signed by players and cheerleaders and said it was “pretty sweet” getting to spend time with the Broncos.