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Men's club lives in the past 

Ranger Rich

What do the famed Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters tournament, and our village's El Paso Club have in common? Well, there are the obvious things. Both are clubs, of course. And both have a lot of old men wandering around hoping they don't accidentally step on their balls.

Another similarity is that both clubs prohibit women members, and we'll focus on that point in an effort to shed some light on serious and important issues such as social disparity and the effects of exclusionary policies.

Just kidding. I only want to make fun of the respectable and elegant gentlemen of the El Paso Club (proud motto: "Using Cigars and Well-Timed Coughing Noises to Mask Our Flatulence Since 1877").

The story of the club's ban on women resurfaced recently in local media after its members voted overwhelmingly to maintain its male-only policy. Veteran member and highly respected local insurance peddler Randy "I Don't Want to Catch Cooties" Kilgore led the no-women fight.

"We can't decimate a 130-year-old men's club to let in a few women. It would be the end of the club," Kilgore told both the Denver Post and the Gazette.

Gazette footnote: As part of its strict non-discrimination policy, the daily newspaper treats all of its workers equally, firing them not on the basis of gender but on the basis of how big of a salary it can unload to keep its banker-owners from pulling the plug.

Leading the recent progressive movement to allow women members was accountant Marvin Strait, who's been in the club for 30 years. He hasn't talked to other news media about the policy, and he referred the Gazette to club president Tom Dalsaso Sr.

But Dalsaso, who was against adding women to the club, hasn't talked with other media, either. Although, to be fair, Tom can't scramble up the utility pole in his backyard to answer the phone as quickly as he once did. (Tom still mourns the passing of Mabel the telephone operator, who died in 1913 of the "canine madness.")

The club has a current member list of 293 men, with only about half of them able to give first-hand accounts of the Civil War. About 20 recall watching their homes being torched by hordes of Vikings. Eleven still stand in their backyards at night, looking to the sky and hoping for a glimpse of Sputnik. Six members have photographs of themselves riding unicorns.

And you'd think with all that accumulated wisdom, someone in the El Paso Club would be able to write a sentence. You would be wrong. Here now, some actual phrases that appear on the El Paso Club website:

"Since it's organization in 1877..."

"In it's earlier days..."

"El Paso Club purchased this residence as it's quarters in 1890..."

Which means the El Paso Club probably wont be entering an'y grammer contests any'time soon'.

(The correct use of the contraction it's would be in a sentence such as this one: "I am now entering the El Paso Club and, whew, it's smelling like a nursing home in here.")

More, from the club's website: "With the passing of the fabulous old timers whose antics and deeds are now recorded in the El Paso Club history, the club has taken on a different image and has gradually transformed into the elegant, much-envied downtown club of Colorado Springs."

You betcha.

News note: The club is happy to announce that the member who wrote that passage is now home from the hospital after a near-fatal bout with the double-whammy: scurvy and viper's dance (aka St. Vitus Dance).

The club has been reported to have been graced with the presence of many famous men, including Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who stopped by for a poker game in 1880, and famous humorist Oscar Wilde, who dropped by in 1882 and made fun of brand-new member Randy Kilgore.

Anyway, that's about it from the El Paso Club these days. I hope no one was offended by any insensitive jokes I might have made about the club members or their ages, or whether any of them actually rode a unicorn.

Frankly, there's probably a perfectly harmless reason the gentlemen of the El Paso Club want to maintain their men-only policy.

It's just hard to think of one right now.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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