The Old West is alive and active in Park County thanks to the efforts of the Park County Regulators, a group of dedicated and authentic Old West reenactors.
It began in 2013 when Jim Myers was serving as Vice-President of the Platte Canyon Chamber. As part of his duties, Jim was put in charge of the Bailey Day Celebration that year.
It was brought to his attention that attendance at Bailey Day had been steadily declining, and the event was in desperate need of a boost of some kind.
In order to spark more interest and participation, the organizing committee decided to give that year’s event a theme, and they chose “The Old West.” A reenactment group was hired to entertain and Main Street was decorated in an Old West theme. The theme and the entertainment proved to be a big hit, and it was decided to repeat the same theme the following year.
Unfortunately, the reenactment group that was hired the previous year was not available in 2014, so Myers thought, “We can do this,” and recruited four other men who had an interest in doing reenactments.
Thus, Myers’ Marauders (as they were initially called) was born. The group practiced diligently, and then performed that second year on both Friday and Saturday nights. They went all-out, even building a mock saloon next door to the Sasquatch Outpost. The crowd seemed to really enjoy the Marauders and their depiction of how life was in years gone by. The Old West theme has since remained an integral part of Bailey Day to the present.
Myers’ Marauders eventually changed their name to The Park County Regulators and continue to entertain at Bailey Day, and other events around the state, including at South Park City’s Living History Days.
In 2016, they were hired by the Georgetown Loop Railroad to stage train robberies over several weekends that summer. Again, the presence of outlaws, lawmen and ladies in beautiful period dresses was a huge hit with the passengers. The Regulators have been robbing trains every summer since. The railroad even gave a new name to the weekends when the Park County Regulators are raising Caine: Wild West Days.
The Regulators have also performed as part of the entertainment for the Halloween and Christmas trains. “This would have been our fifth year,” Myers said, “But all the Covid regulations required the train to cancel Wild West Days this year.”
Bailey Day and Wild West Days in Georgetown are the Regulators’ two main gigs, but last summer (2019) they were invited to the town of Castle Rock to perform for its Western Heritage Days, which kicks off the Douglas County Fair. The event includes a cattle drive down Perry Street, and the town hired the Regulators to perform in Festival Park to encourage people to hang around after the cattle drive was over. About 1,500 people stayed to watch the show, including a gun fight which was a delight to all the kids present. As is the case at most of their performances, the Regulators stayed until late in the evening, posing for pictures and interacting with the crowd.
Today, the Park County Regulators are comprised of 15 members, men and women, but more are always welcome.
“We’re always looking for new members, but we have some very important criteria; “You have to have acting ability, have good chemistry with the rest of the team, and you must purchase your own period correct outfits and props,” explained Myers, who goes by the stage name “Cherokee Jack.”
The Regulators take their roles seriously, and the focus is on safety and making sure everything is authentic to the period of time, even down to the buttons on their clothes, which are either metal or wood. Being a member of the Park County Regulators requires significant time practicing to ensure the safety of both the actors and the spectators, but they have fun doing the reenactments and providing entertainment and a bit of history to the onlookers.
The regulators write their own skits and many videos can be found on their web site www.parkcountyregulators.com. Anyone interested in joining the group or booking a performance can contact them through the web site.
“We enjoy what we do and love the interaction with the public during and after our performances ... and of course, keeping the wild west alive,” concluded Myers.