Palin prep gears up; visit today

A 70 x 40 American flag is set up to be hung from the pressbox at Suplizio Field in preparation of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s address Monday.The stage is set up on the pitcher’s mound facing the outfield.Organizers said they expect a crowd of 20,000

At least 400 volunteers, planners and supporters of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin milled about Suplizio Field on Sunday night.

Excitement was on a steady build, volunteers and organizers said, for today’s campaign speech, scheduled for 6 p.m.

“There’s a swing all the way through Colorado,” said Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. Of the visit he said: “This speaks to the fact that, in many ways, this is a centerpiece to the fight for Colorado.” 

Suplizio Field is expected to hold about 20,000 to 25,000, Penry said. Last he’d heard, as of Saturday morning, 15,000 had registered online to attend.

Two large screens were being set up in adjacent Stocker Stadium for possible spillover from Suplizio.

Reford Theobold, a volunteer, surveyed the stadium from the baseball diamond where the sound was being set up.

“It just hit me, going back to 1974, and it wasn’t a presidential campaign but it was an election year (with Gary Hart campaigning). President (Gerald) Ford was here to speak,” said Theobold, 54, of Grand Junction. “I’m this 19-year-old kid taking pictures and feeling the excitement. This is something we don’t see very often. The excitement level for Gerald Ford is not quite what it is for Gov. Palin.”

The stadium will be open for seating at 1 p.m., Penry said.

He advised people to treat it as if they’re going to the airport, by getting there early, being prepared to wait and even bringing books and magazines.

Country music singer Hank Williams Jr. is traveling with the campaign and will perform before Palin’s speech.

Free buses are scheduled to start running at 2 p.m. from Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50, and Canyon View Park on 24 Road, just south of Interstate 70.

To attend the rally at Suplizio Field, visit


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