Ailing but Indomitable Vanderboegh Leads Colorado Independence Day Act of Defiance
“[A]s you know, Mike[Vanderboegh] sent us a box of 30 rounders for our Independence Day March and Rally,” George Gramlich of The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel wrote to both me and Mike’s son Matthew. The announcement of that march was the subject of an Oath Keepers column last month.
“I wrote the attached story for Mike and his loyal followers,” Gramlich explained. “Please feel free to edit, or use it for your own story about his last act of civil disobedience here in Colorado.”
“Colorado Oath Keepers marched with us,” Gramlich added. “Good contingent headed by Colorado OK head, Joe Santoro.”
I can’t improve on George’s account, so I’m not even going to try. Here is his story:
A III%’ers Last Hurrah
by George Gramlich, The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel
Westcliffe, Colorado: On a beautiful 2016 Independence Day is southern Colorado, the final public act of civil disobedience by the founder of the III% movement, Mike Vanderboegh of Alabama, took place in front of hundreds of armed patriots. But Mike was not there.
Four years ago, members of the Southern Colorado Patriots Club (SCPC) decided to turn their section of the annual Westcliffe, CO. Independence Day Parade (sponsored by The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel newspaper and The Wild West Cowboy Church) into an armed protest against the unconstitutional anti-2nd Amendment laws passed by the democrat controlled Colorado legislature and signed by the leftist governor, Hickenlooper.
After a huge fight with the liberals in town, who, when it was discovered that the SCPC was going to carry long guns in their section, wanted to stop it, liberty prevailed after a mass public meeting that was right out of a Clint Eastwood western movie (hint: there were, gasp, many guns in the room). The word then got out in the West that something big was going to happen that July 4th in tiny Westcliffe (population around 400, on a good day). And big it was.
Normally the SCPC entry would have about 25 marchers or so. We knew we were going to get more, but how many, nobody knew. The parade started at 10 a.m. By 8:30 a.m. there was a huge traffic jam down the “Main” Street leading to the SCPC’s rally point. And this is in an town with NO traffic lights and in the middle of almost literally, nowhere.
Hundreds and hundreds of patriots from all over the west (and a couple from Alaska) poured into the SCPC staging section, armed to the teeth with everything from AR15’s, muskets, , pistols, shotguns, army trucks, jeeps, and even an armored personnel carrier topped with a full auto 50 cal. machine gun (“Ma Deuce”). (Hey, you never know.) The final count was over 500 participants. It was far bigger than ALL the other entries in the parade.
When the SCPC hit the pavement it stretched almost a mile long! Normally about six or seven hundred spectators showed up for the 30 minute parade. This year, around 5000 people arrived lining the streets often 5 or 6 deep. The crowd’s reception to the patriots marching was simply overwhelming. Many wept on the side as multitudes of old Glory and Gadsden flags passed by carried by well armed American citizens. It is a day we will never forget.
Two years later we emailed Mike Vanderboegh, founder of the III% movement and author of one of the foremost patriot blog sites in the country, Sipsey Street Irregulars, and asked him if he wanted to come out from his home in Alabama and march with us in the Independence Day Parade and give a speech at the rally at the end. Without hesitation, Mike said yes.
Mike stayed with us for two days. Marched with us. And gave a truly stirring speech at the end of the march inspiring many to become more active in the movement. To say we fell in love with this man is an understatement.
The next year we invited Mike to come to our Patriot’s Day Celebration in neighboring Canon City, CO. to give a speech. (Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers was also invited and showed up.) Mike had a surprise for us. Sick with cancer, he drove solo from Alabama all the way to Canon City bringing a mysterious box with him.
At the end of his speech, Mike reached down and opened the box and explained to the crowd that the box contained a whole bunch of standard capacity, 30 round AR magazines that were now banned for sale or transfer in Colorado and that he, Mike Vanderboegh, had smuggled them into Colorado. Mike, the “Alabama Smuggler” was exposed.
He flipped over the box and the magazines fell to the ground in front of him, just off the stage. Dozens of patriots rushed to the spot and grabbed a souvenir magazine. Even a prominent local law enforcement official grabbed one! It was civil disobedience at its best. Mike got a standing ovation.
Forward to this year, May, 2016. Mike called us up and said he had a problem. He had a whole box of 30 rounders that were donated to him and he had wanted to go to, of all places, New York State, and repeat the smuggle and dump civil disobedience meme at a rally there. But he was too sick with cancer and couldn’t do it. He said, “Do you guys have any ideas?” You bet we did.
A few weeks later a box from Alabama mysteriously arrives in Westcliffe, CO. In it were dozens of signed 30 rounders with the wording, “MBV III. Smuggler Prod. Co.” A beautiful sight it was.
So on Independence Day, July 4th, 2016, in Westcliffe, Co., Mike Vanderboegh, thru his box of magazines, spoke to us one last time. With hundreds of patriots gathered around just before we began our march, the crowd was told the story of how the mags got there, Mike’s cancer status, and a little history of his efforts here in Colorado. And with that done, the box was opened, and the contents poured on the ground.
A cheer went up and the crowd descended on the “Smuggler Prod. Co.’s” box contents with many holding the grabbed mag up in the air with the righteous smile on their faces of true, Mike V. style, civil disobedience. I can see Mike smiling in his bed. We will remember this moment forever.
Thank you Mike. You have honored us again with your dedication and perseverance in pursuing a restoration of a free America. Even from your death bed.
We will walk with you again, Mike.
And we WILL prevail.
God Bless you, Sir.
And God Bless our Beloved America.