Top 5 most-read stories last week: A rancher’s election spending, cyclist dies on Colorado Highway 9 and 1982 Breck murder case closed

Weld County farmer and rancher Steve Wells has donated more than $6 million to Republican Heidi Ganahl's gubernatorial campaign.
Valerie Mosley/For the Colorado Sun

Stories in this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. Meet the Colorado rancher spending $11 million — and counting — to prevent Jared Polis from winning reelection

Steve Wells is plotting, mostly by his lonesome, how to spend the $11 million — and counting — of his personal fortune he’s dedicated to preventing Democratic Gov. Jared Polis from winning a second term. The money is going to a political action committee Wells formed that’s purchasing billboard space and TV ads across Colorado.

Wells, whose family has been farming and ranching in Colorado for more than 125 years, is not your traditional political influencer. He doesn’t like the halls of power, nor the people who fill them. But what he says he dislikes even more is the state’s direction, and he’s willing to dig into his deep pockets — filled with money from when he allowed oil and gas drilling on his 40,000-acre Weld County spread — to change it. 

— The Colorado Sun

2. Cyclist dies after police say driver drifted onto shoulder on Colorado Highway 9 just north of Silverthorne

A cyclist is dead after police say a Dillon man driving a pickup truck drifted onto the shoulder of Colorado Highway 9 Tuesday evening.

The 65-year-old cyclist was riding along the shoulder near mile marker 107, a few miles north of Silverthorne, around 5 p.m. when the crash occurred, Colorado State Patrol Master Trooper Gary Cutler said Wednesday. The cyclist was wearing a helmet.

The call for service was placed around 5:13 p.m., Cutler said. Responders performed CPR, but the cyclist died at the scene, he said. 

Luke Vidic

3. Cold case closed: 1982 murder of two hitchhikers, who were last seen in Breckenridge, ends with conviction

More than 40 years after two women disappeared near Breckenridge, the man suspected of murdering the pair of hitchhikers was found guilty by a Park County jury Thursday.

Modern forensic genealogy techniques reopened the case after it sat cold for nearly four decades after the women were last seen on Jan. 6, 1982. The investigation led to the arrest and conviction of Alan Lee Phillips, 71, of Dumont.

Phillips was arrested in February of 2021 on two counts of the following charges: kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and murder after deliberation.

— Luke Vidic

4. Denver-based investment company commits to $225.5 million for Keystone’s Kindred Resort

At the end of August, Concord Summit Capital sourced the total construction cost of Kindred Resort at $232.5 million, with the help of Pure Development.  

The Kindred Resort is a multi-million dollar project that was originally supposed to start construction in 2021. 

The 4.5-acre designated property is next to the Keystone Resort’s River Run Gondola and will include a 107-room high-class hotel, a new ski school, a private ski club and 95 luxury residential condo units, according to a news release.

— Eili Wright

5. Breckenridge’s Christopher Fisher earns fastest known time over Mosquito-Tenmile Range traverse

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 6, Fisher set out to claim the unsupported fastest known time over the Mosquito and Tenmile mountain ranges. On his second attempt, Christopher Fisher was able to fuel his body up until the 16-hour mark which allowed him to push his body well past the site where he faltered out on Peak 10 nearly two months ago.

Not only did Fisher revamp his nutrition on his second attempt, but he also fixed his pacing after going out too fast on his first attempt.

— Cody Jones

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