"I love the way they're talking to you, 'cause they're winners. Winners get to do what they want."
That bit of Talladega Nights dialogue is apropos here, of course, because we've gathered for the 18th consecutive year to name the Best Of Colorado Springs. (And yes, some of us got "all jacked up on Mountain Dew" to power through it.)
As for granting this year's winners free rein to disrespect their elders and do what they want, we don't hold that power of decision. Nor do we even decide who these winners are, although we do throw in a few completely separate writers' picks here and there. Like the Indy Music Awards, which grew out of Best Of into a standalone competition earlier this year, the issues this week and next are devoted to those people, places and things that you deem most worthy.
And no question, these people are rock stars, though they were down-to-earth enough to give us some photo shoots and interviews. On the lenses were: Brienne Boortz, Sean Cayton, Casey Bradley Gent, Bryan Oller and Kin Scott. And behind the notepads: Bree Abel, Edie Adelstein, Kirsten Akens, Sam Benesby, Whitney Bryen, Suzie Calvin, Ellie Cole, Bryce Crawford, Cherise Fantus, Bill Forman, Chet Hardin, Lynn Jacobs, Mary Jo Meade, Monika Mitchell Randall, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper, J. Adrian Stanley, Claire Swinford, Rhonda Van Pelt, Kirk Woundy, Bret Wright and Pam Zubeck.
We hope you enjoy this year's Best Of roundup. Now, without further ado ... shake and bake, baby!