Hey, Spike! polishes a story of Kingdom royalty | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! polishes a story of Kingdom royalty

She's a Breckenridge princess — and a striking one.

Amanda Spilman, yep, the daughter of Alden and Kathryn, loves telling the stories of the Kingdom of Breckenridge she knows starting in the '70s.

Her father is that bearded giant of a man and fits his royalty role to a T: Ullr, the Norse God of Winter.

Born in Fairplay in 1970, after her parents left the University of Colorado in Boulder in the late '60s, Amanda first went "public" in an early day town photo that hangs in the courthouse.

"I'm the baby in the town photo taken in 1970," she offers.

She's a photographer like her father, who is known as "Alden Ullr." Mom is a poet and singer.

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"I'd like to publish a book with my dad's photos of Breckenridge," notes Amanda. "He has left a wonderful legacy and the town was built so quickly, it's nice to see the images from the undeveloped era."

The family talent runs deeper as grandfather Raymond Spilman is credited with inventing something most of us have used.

"Grandpa Spilman was an industrial designer and came up with the Pringles chip can — he liked tubes," says Amanda. "His work is on file at Syracuse University in New York."

Amanda's childhood covered some major territory outside of Breckenridge.

"I spent many of my childhood summers in a very special place in Maine called Northeast Harbor," recalls Amanda. "My grandparents also took me to Cape Cod every summer. My aunt has a home in Bali, which was another great world travel — ultimate surf trip — with my daughter."

She also remembers those colorful fun times in the Kingdom during the annual Ullr Fest and parade.

Here are a few of those:

"A few memories of the Ullr bonfire were couches being thrown in, skis, Christmas trees — of course, the town was much more radical and loose. Order was restored quickly.

"As a child I saw a great deal of drunkenness and debauchery within the festival. The cool years were when the freestyle athletes from all over the world were in the parade, it really was like royalty — it was as if Breckenridge had its own Olympics."

Newt year will see the Kingdom of Breckenridge marking its 53rd Ullr Fest in January.

Graduating from Summit High in 1989, with the likes of Miles Dylan Conway, Steven Rockne and Ashley Dempsey, Amanda earned a medical assistant degree at a trade school in Jackson, Florida.

"I enjoyed being a phlebotomist for Mayo lab in Ventura, California," says Amanda. "I was good at drawing blood. I worked in family practice at Breckenridge Medical Center when I was just 21."

And it's not just people's health she's concerned about.

A while back, she worked for two years at the Poncha Springs Community Garden, and took land stewardship classes at the CSU Extension Service headed by agent Kurt Jones of Salida.

"I volunteered this summer with High Country Conservation, working at The Greenhouses by Whole Foods and Nancy's Place by the Senior Center," explains Amanda. "I enjoy learning all aspects of growing food — I believe it is our future."

That knowledge and interest — human and plant — has Amanda continuing her professional massage therapy practice.

"I am passionate about healing and connection with people," she adds.

Continuing the talented and caring Spilman line is Amanda's daughter, Lelia, also a Summit High grad, now 21 and living in California.

She is a professional model and heads her Beneficial Sounds Foundation, which develops resources using music to improve transitional living for those coming out of the foster care system.

A photographer like her mother, Lelia is just as striking.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com