Walking into the Pondy on Main Street in Cedaredge is, at once, a blast from the past and a taste of the here and now. The walls are adorned with memorabilia that honors the bar’s past events and patrons through time with a special focus on the local veterans that have made the Pondy their own over the years. It’s a place full of heroes. Some of them are memorialized on the walls and some can be found in person on both sides of the bar.
Barb and DJ Hladik purchased the historic restaurant and bar in 1985 after recently moving to Cedaredge. The building has served the town as a local watering hole since the 1920s, and the bar itself emanates history. A large collage on the wall displays photos of military heroes from the area while a nearby photo of a six-year-old boy presents a hero of a different kind. The bar is home to several tournaments and fundraisers that happen throughout the year and the ever-supportive clientele is always present at every event.
Horseshoe, dart, pool and corn hole leagues are offered to anyone wishing to try their hand. In the winter, a horseshoe tournament is even played in the snow where contestants are required to wear mittens. The focus on the military is ever-present at the bar and on the third Tuesday of every month, a Veteran’s Coffee is held in the adjacent dance hall. The Welcome Home Alliance, out of Montrose, attends to pass out kits and jackets and to make sure that all the veterans are receiving their benefits.
The most anticipated and largest fundraiser that Barb and DJ orchestrate each year is aptly titled the Cancer Warriors. The event has three components that last throughout the summer and is very well supported by their patrons and the community at large. Each year the team chooses one family that has a child in need of treatment. Word of mouth in the small town with a little assistance from the local school district help to connect families to the organization. Barb claims that it would be wonderful if, some years, there were no families in need but unfortunately, this is never the case.
This year, they decided to choose two families in need. A six-year-old boy from Delta who was diagnosed with a large tumor and another boy from Cedaredge with Epilepsy are the focus for the current fundraiser. Families in these situations find themselves in need of assistance quickly as often the parents have to change or quit their jobs and move closer to special medical facilities while the bills begin to mount. Because Cancer Warriors is in direct contact with the families, the team is confident that the funds are going to a worthy cause and they are able to let the parents decide where to best allocate the money.
The first event of the fundraiser is an all-you-can-eat Mexican dinner that happens in June and is very well attended. This year, the second piece of the event, known as A Day on the Mesa, had to be postponed due to the epic snow accumulation on Grand Mesa. Instead, The Walk, that takes place in Cedaredge Town Park, was the second event. This portion occurs in July when the Serenity Runners, a touring motorcycle group, arrives in town. The Runners are excellent supporters of the cause. A gun and knife raffle and a silent auction are also part of the event.
On August 17th, the much anticipated Day on the Mesa will finally return this year. This competition is run as a four-wheel gymkhana. Participants ride around an obstacle course while picking up flags, ringing bells and retrieving mail from ridiculously tall mailboxes. Kids games, like sack races and three-legged races, will happen while hamburgers and hot dogs are served up to hungry crowds. Several generous local businesses donate food and prizes like cabin getaways, pedicures, backpacks and more for the event, allowing the Cancer Warriors to give 100 percent of the proceeds to the families.
On the east wall of the bar, appropriately placed next to the homage to the local military heroes, rests a photograph of a smiling boy who was the recipient of last year’s fundraiser. He was recently diagnosed as cancer-free and his family is so grateful for the love and support they received from this event that they have become generous donors to this year’s efforts. The $15,000 they received went quite a long way and they are more than happy to pay that kindness forward.
In some respects, the Pondy is just a bar. It’s a place not unlike many others that you might find in a small town where local patrons meet to tell stories and attempt to best each other at games of skill. But on a closer look, you’ll find that there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. From the veterans on the wall to the smiling boy beside them and from the ever-supportive patrons on one side of the bar to the team that stands behind it, this is a place full of heroes.
To find out how you can participate, donate or join in the fun, call 970-856-3464 or check out The Pondy’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Pool---Billiard-Hall/The-Pondy-260541687290082/