Dan's Bake Sale May 22, 1993: First let me begin by saying this entire event would have never happened without Rush Limbaugh seizing the moment (which he so frequently did) and the fact that he took his time to appear in person.
Rush is a supreme entertainer, a self-promoter with a conservative message. At that time Rush actually rescued AM Radio. He gave the listener a reason to tune to the AM band when most were totally ensconced on the FM Band. Rush had not yet moved to Clear Channel therefore we, KNUS AM 710, were his station in Denver. The station at that time was owned by a young blind man, Paul Stebbins and his mother Arlene. On a visit to Colorado, Paul asked me to manage his station. Because of my love for Colorado and Denver it didn't take much convincing on his part. Over the few short years I was involved with KNUS, Paul, Arlene and our staff did a lot of out of the box events.
May 7, 1993 I arranged to originate the first live call-in broadcast from Havana, Cuba. This was done with the inspiration of Dean Knox, a local commercial art gallery owner. Dean had excellent contacts in Havana and so we were able to make the journey to Havana as a cultural exchange. On another page I will describe the entire Cuba experience, however, it was during our live broadcast from Havana I was informed over our IFB that Rush was coming to Colorado for this Dan's Bake Sale. Along with our staff in Colorado we decided to charter a few buses to take our listeners to this event in Fort Collins. By the time the event was to take place we had assembled 60 buses. The first 60 were nice buses. When we ran out of the nice ones we started with the school buses. There is no question we could have filled 60 more. The problem we had was, where to park the buses in Fort Collins once we arrived and also, where to park the cars for the people who were riding in the buses. 60 buses seemed the limit. In retrospect we could have perhaps used the Mile High stadium for the Denver staging area. Things were moving so quickly we had very little time to start modifying our travel plans.
Dan's Bake Sale took on a life of it's own. We started charging $7.10 for the ride. As time went on we increased it to a little more and provided a box lunch. Kenny Hamblin (The Black Avenger) volunteered to lead the "Rush Caravan" with his motorcycle brigade from our studios on Alameda in Denver to Fort Collins. We did this with the help of the Colorado State Police who provided us a police escort the entire trip. The road trip was very gratifying. As we caravaned north on I-25 there were thousands of people on dozens of bridges with signs welcoming Rush. Unbeknownst to them, Rush was not in the Caravan, he was in a helicopter above us. The date of Dan's Bake Sale May 22, 1993.
May 22, 1993: The guesses are still coming in as to how many actually attended. They range from 20,000 to 70,000. There is good evidence that 70,000 is closer to the real number. There were no police incidents whatsoever and there was no mess to clean-up when the 8 hour event was over. The only incident, Dan passed out from the heat. My wife, Dr. Molly Snell-Crider, was on hand as the official event nurse and brought him around quickly. All three Denver TV station helicopters were on the scene at our studios in Denver as well as covering the event overhead. People came from far and wide including Australia.
Non-event: It all started when Dan from Fort Collins called Rush and told him he was bootlegging his news letter. Rush asked, "Why don't you have a bake sale and raise money so you can pay me for the letter?" This was somewhat of a parity on President Clinton asking kids to have bake sales to help reduce the National Debt. The rest is history. Just for fun Rush said, " I think I am going to go to Dan's Bake sale if he has one." That's all he had to say. The die was cast. The date was set. Rush said he was coming. Dan showed up with 36 store bought cookies that sold in 5 minutes. The rest of the story is that Dan thought about replicating the event nationwide then realized this was a once in a lifetime event and he has fallen into obscurity, just like his last name. OK, it's Dan Kelly.
We, KNUS AM 710, myself Ron Crider along with my business associates Diane Hodsen, Paul Stebbins and Al Martischang, in recent history accounting have been given little to no credit for actually putting the nuts and bolts of the event together. Quite frankly, without our radio station broadcasting Rush at that time, no one in Denver would have known about it. We all stuck our necks out including me, big time gambling on this crazy non-event. In the end I consider it the best event I was ever involved with.
More pictures from my library coming soon!