Tomato warrior

A Colorado tomato warrior at the 1985 “Great Colorado versus Texas Tomato War” at Twin Lakes takes aim against the Texan “enemy.” The Rotary Club of Buena Vista will revive the old rivalry in September as a fundraiser for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Remember the “Tomalamo!”

In the 1980s the rivalry between Coloradans and Texans grew to a fever pitch, and the time was ripe for conflict.

Coloradans traditionally didn’t mind the money vacationing Texans brought into the state, but would just as soon they went home.

Enter the “Great Colorado versus Texas Tomato War” in 1982.

The saucy little event was originally the brainchild of Taylor Adams, then owner of the Inn of the Black Wolf in Twin Lakes, and has its roots in the decades-old love-hate relationship between Coloradans and Texans.

The two factions didn’t mess around (or maybe they did), and faced off to bombard each other with a hail of overripe tomatoes as the Coloradans tried to take the “Alamo,” a cardboard and hay bale structure manned by the Texans.

The popular event will be reborn this year as the Rotary Club of Buena Vista uses the age-old rivalry and the desire to get messy in the name of fun to raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The program is an early reading program for children from birth through their fifth birthday. Children enrolled in the program receive an age-appropriate book mailed each month to their home in their name.

The event is free to all children in Chaffee and Lake counties because of the work of local rotary clubs.

The renewed First Annual Great Colorado versus Texas Tomato War will be held Sept. 18 at the Meadows, 15264 CR 350, Buena Vista.  Individuals and teams representing the states of Colorado and Texas can expect to toss thousands of pounds of well-ripened tomatoes at each other.

“Tomato War is all in fun, and that’s what we intend to have for both participants and spectators,” said Rotary Club of Buena Vista President Jeff Wahl.

Jed Selby, owner of the Meadows, donated the site for the tomato engagement.

Gates will open at 3 p.m. and tomatoes will launch at 5 p.m. Food and beer will be available at the event and spectators are welcome.

Registration for participation in the Tomato War is available at EventBrite.com; search “Tomato War 2021.”

The $45 entry fee includes 10 pounds of tomatoes and a commemorative T-shirt.

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