A Blue Knight’s Guide to Denver

DENVER, CO – Are you coming to Denver on July 11th for Drums Along the Rockies? If so, why not plan a whole weekend in the Mile High City?

» If you haven’t yet purchased tickets for Drums Along the Rockies, you may get them here.


A giant brontosaurus welcomes visitors to the Dinosaur Ridge Visitors Center.
A giant brontosaurus welcomes visitors to the Dinosaur Ridge Visitors Center.

Red Rocks – Red Rocks Park, home to the famous amphitheatre, features some incredible hiking trails that offer awe-inspiring sights. For anyone who wants the true Colorado experience, Red Rocks is a must.

Dinosaur Ridge – While not quite as dangerous as Jurassic Park, Dinosaur Ridge offers many fun activities for everyone including indoor exhibits, big replica dinosaurs, and unique hiking trails that feature footprints and plant fossils. You can even visit the Bone Quarry, a special location where the first Stegosaurus was discovered in the late 1800s.

Website: http://www.dinoridge.org/


If this jug was filled with milk, it would hold almost 6,500 gallons
If this jug was filled with milk, it would hold almost 6,500 gallons.

Pie Hole – This pizza place on Broadway Street features delicious New York style pizza pinball, and paper plate art. Every day, Pie Hole features four unique slices of pizza they feature each day. These featured slices of pie may at first glance seem weird, (e.g candied bacon, pineapple, and jalapeno) but upon that first bite, you’ll be surprised at how tasty it is.

Website: http://pieholedenver.com/about-us/

Little Man Ice Cream – Just a short drive away from Sports Authority Field is a 28 foot milk jug where you’ll be able to treat yourself to the some of Denver’s best ice cream. Little Man also hosts free events almost every day, so you could stop by on Friday to see a free movie, or participate in yoga sessions in the morning. When you visit Little Man, the building isn’t the only unique thing about this place.

Website: http://www.littlemanicecream.com/


Lakeside's "Tower of Jewels" looms over the park at night.
Lakeside’s “Tower of Jewels” looms over the park at night.

Casa Bonita – While this could also fit in the food section, Casa Bonita is certainly a lot of fun! Established in 1974, Casa Bonita has been a staple of Denver and is the last remaining location of the former Mexican food chain. Popularized by South Park, this quirky restaurant is a must-see.

Website: http://www.casabonitadenver.com/

Lakeside Amusement Park – A cheaper alternative to Elitch Gardens, Lakeside Amusement Park has operated since 1908. You can ride the original carousel that is old as the park itself, or the Cyclone, one of the few remaining pre-WWII roller coasters in the country.

Website: http://www.lakesideamusementpark.com/

Blue Knights History

220 Broadway Street – While you won’t find much of interest here anymore other than a KeyBank, this location was the site of the Fred and Fae Talent School. Fred and Fae Taylor taught music at the school, and the drummers Fred taught here would go on to become some of the very first Blue Knights.

The white horse statue known as "Bucky" was moved from Mile High Stadium to Sports Authority Field.
The white horse statue known as “Bucky” was moved from Mile High Stadium to Sports Authority Field.

JeffCo Stadium – Located on the intersection of Kipling and 6th Avenue, this field was the location of the very first edition of Drums Along the Rockies in 1964. Now the event is held at Sports Authority field. It serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings of the Blue Knights and the drum corps activity.

Mile High Stadium – While you won’t find this historic building, it’s memory lives on through the newer Sports Authority Field. It was the location of the DCI Championships in 1977 and 1978 where the Blue Devils and Santa Clara Vanguard won, respectively. If you walk around the parking lot J, you may be able to find a home plate painted into the pavement. This is the exact location of home at the old Mile High Stadium. More recently, the 2004 DCI Championships were held at Sports Authority Field (then Invesco Field) where the Cavaliers took the top prize.

» Need tickets to Drums Along the Rockies? Get them here.


StephenBatesStephen Bates’ involvement with Ascend Performing Arts includes membership in the Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble in 2014 and 2015.  He is pursuing a Communications degree in Digital Film-making at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he also works as a graphic designer/marketing coordinator for the office of Student Life and Leadership.

Stephen co-founded Tomahawk Percussion in 2014 with fellow Blue Knights Percussion Ensemble member, Tom Griess. Tomahawk Percussion was founded to provide resources, support, and a community for those involved in the marching arts.  Outside of school and music, Stephen was TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006, is a shareholder/part owner for of the Green Bay Packers, and has had his name engraved into NASA hardware that has flown into space.

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Ken Adams


Mark Arnold is one of the longest-serving Directors in Drum Corps International, serving as Executive Director of the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps since 1985 and as CEO of Ascend Performing Arts since 2010.

Under his leadership the Blue Knights organization has developed into one of the premier Drum and Bugle Corps in the history of the activity, recognized Internationally for excellence and innovation in the performing arts. Through the years the Blue Knights has expanded its programing and now serves thousands of young musicians and performers annually in multiple performing ensembles, events and educational programs under the umbrella of the Ascend Performing Arts.

In addition to shaping the course of Ascend Performing Arts, Mark also has played an integral role in the ongoing development and successes of Drum Corps International as a collective. He served as chairman of the DCI Board of Directors in 1994 and again from 2008 to 2013. Mark was honored as Corps Director of the Year in 2004, and was the inaugural recipient of the George Bonfiglio Chairman’s Award at the 2012 DCI World Championships, which is given to an individual each year who demonstrates extraordinary leadership and service on behalf of DCI and its performing drum corps.  Mark was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Blue Knights Hall of Fame in 2019.

Prior to his position with the Blue Knights, Mark was the Assistant Director of the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps from 1978 through 1983, serving alongside Director Jim Jones, one of the founders of Drum Corps International and an inaugural member of the DCI Hall of Fame.  Mr. Arnold has a degree in Music Education from the University of Wyoming and taught High School Music in Wyoming and Nebraska from 1979 through 1985.
Mark Arnold


Scott Factor has served on the Ascend Performing Arts Board from 2012 to 2018 as a voting member in various positions including Vice-Chairman. Since 2019 my role has been in an Advisory position.

Outside of Ascend Performing Arts i am Senior Account Executive for Baxter HealthCare.
Scott Factor


I am currently an Ascend Board Member-at-Large.  I have been a volunteer with the Blue Knights since 2013.  I have been serving on the BoD since 2019.  I retired from the United States Postal Service in 2010.  Although I have never marched drum corps I am an avid fan of the activity and thoroughly support our members in any way that I can.  “We Go On”!!! 

Neil Corvino


Board member Kathy Black is an attorney in New Mexico practicing as a full-time litigator focused on employment and civil rights defense. She came to the law as a second career after twenty-five years in high tech with NCR Corporation, doing everything from operating systems programming to Vice President positions in engineering, customer services, and sales. She earned her JD from Lewis & Clark Law School and her BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Black is active as a percussionist in the Albuquerque area. Way back in 1978 she marched with the Guardsmen, including at DCI Finals in Denver.  After many years of being just a drum corps fan, she was elected to the Drum Corps International Board of Directors in January 2016 and served on that board until January 2022, including three years as chair. 

Kathy Black


Bryant’s path to the Ascend Board of Directors, which began in 2021 as a member-at-large, traces back to his childhood. Watching the Reading Buccaneers senior drum corps practice near his grandparents’ home ignited a lifelong passion, and a student of all thing’s percussion.

Years later a family move to Colorado provided Bryant with a platform to display his passion, both on the stage with the nationally acclaimed Green Earth Percussion Ensemble and on the field as a snare drummer with the Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps until his age-out year in 1984.

In his professional career as the Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Yokohama Tire Co., Bryant credits the principles instilled by the marching arts and years on tour for his success. On a personal level, the arts played an even larger role, where Bryant met his wife, Stephanie. The Rankin’s currently make their home in South Carolina, enjoying time with their grown children, two incredible grandchildren, and their beloved brown lab, Zoey.
Bryant Rankin


Retired, Director, Office of Research and Analysis, Colorado Department of Revenue Ms. Archibeque served 26 years in the area of statistical analysis for the Colorado Department of Revenue and Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Her skills in this area assist the board in developing a strategy for statistical analysis in the area of program evaluation. She has also been a significant volunteer managing and working with volunteers for the organization and will assist the board in understanding the complex nature of the organization. Her personal experiences as a minority and female can inform and promote a more inclusive environment and agenda for the projects that the board supports.

Janet Archibeque


Rob Batchelder was appointed to the Ascend Performing Arts Board of Directors in May 2023, and currently serves as Vice Chair. As a member of the Senior Foreign Service, Rob has represented the United States overseas in India, Poland, Germany, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, and Namibia during a diplomatic career spanning nearly 30 years. He currently serves as Managing Director for Visa Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, DC. Rob marched in the Blue Knights hornline in 1987 and 1988, and he was Drum Major in 1989. He and his family live in Alexandria, Virginia, but his heart still yearns for Colorado.

Rob Batchelder