With the return of professional football this week, the Estes Park Archives celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Denver Broncos on Saturday, September 12, as we visit with Neal Kittredge, retired AP sports writer and author of the new book “Bronco Lore.”
The American Football League formed in 1959, with Denver as a charter member. The “Broncos” mascot was chosen from among 500 entries (other sources say 162 entries, each entry may have permitted multiple suggestions) in a “Name the Team” contest - Winning entrant Ward Vining of Lakewood was not the only one to suggest “Broncos,” but his accompanying 25-word essay, in which he suggested that broncos were “tough and typified the west,” carried the day. His prize package, which wasn't quite as coveted at the time, included two season tickets and passes to watch practices.
The Broncos played their first game in Boston on September 9, 1960, a 13-10 win (one of only four wins that inaugural season), and their first home game against Oakland, in a half-empty Bears Stadium. Although they finished last in the Western Division, what most die-hard fans remember is the Broncos brown and yellow (or brown and white, for away games) vertically-striped socks.
The weekly Estes Park Archives football-themed September programs are all free, and are held at 240 Moraine Avenue. You do not have to be a member, or even an Estes Park resident, to attend. The COVID-modified format this summer is 15-minute programs repeated on the quarter hour between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., with only family members permitted around the conference table at any one time, masks required. Because we have an invited guest for this installment, advance reservations are required. Call 586-4889 to pick your 15-minute time slot, or for additional questions or directions.