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Posted: June 01, 2012

Colorado cool stuff: Digging mastodons, Infinite Monkey, steel guitars & sassy golfin’

"DIGGING SNOWMASTODON" BOOK

"An incredible nine months" is what Denver Museum of Nature & Science Chief Curator Dr. Kirk Johnson terms the two digs he led in 2010 and 2011 that massed a major haul of fossils, including mammoth, mastodon, sloth, giant bison and camel specimens. In all, 41 kinds of Ice Age animals were found. "Digging Snowmastodon: Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies," by Johnson and Dr. Ian Miller, the digs’ co-leader, chronicles the story with 100 color photos as well as illustrations and maps. Johnson credits the 200 diggers who helped uncover the fossils at what is now considered the world’s best mastodon site. "It was epic," he says. "We moved 8,000 tons of dirt by hand." $19.95 retail.

Written by Dr. Kirk Johnson and Dr. Ian Miller; published by Peoples Press, Woody Creek, (870)-704-5829,
www.peoplespress.com or www.diggingsnowmastodon.com.

INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM

British-born winemaker Ben Parsons worked in wineries in New Zealand and Australia before relocating across the globe to the Western Slope in 2001. He moved to Denver and launched Infinite Monkey Theorem in 2008. "It just made a lot of sense to move the winery to the city," Parsons says.

Parsons is on track to make 10,000 cases of wine this year, up from 2,000 in 2008. Using grapes from a number of Colorado vineyards, occasionally sourcing fruit from out of state, Parsons says it’s up to the winemaker (like those infinite monkeys and their typewriters) "to make order out of all of the chaos. Hopefully, he ends up with a work of art in a bottle." Aaron Forman of online wine-seller Club W and Denver eatery Table 6, dubs Parsons’ wines "bold" but "approachable."
$17 to $48 a bottle retail.

Made by Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Denver, (303) 736-8376, www.theinfinitemonkeytheorem.com. Also available at numerous liquor stores.

MULLEN PEDAL STEEL GUITARS

Growing up in Eastern Colorado with his ear glued to country radio, Del Mullen started making steel guitars in the early 1970s for himself before going full-time with Mullen Guitar Co. by the end of the decade. Today Mullen makes about 100 guitars a year, selling to such big-name musicians as Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Robert Randolph and Carrie Underwood. "My granddad is a perfectionist," says Mullen’s grandson Mike Mantey, the company’s sales and production manager. "His whole thing is making the best mechanical guitar there ever was." Right now, that’s the Mullen G2. "It has what every steel guitarist wants," Mantey says. $2,100 to $8,000 retail. The company has a four- to six-month waiting list.

Made by Mullen Guitar Co., Flagler, (970) 664-2518, www.mullenguitars.com.

SASSY CADDY

Golf pro Emily Haythorn saw a void in the market for women’s golf bags, so she "started doodling and designing" in 2008 and came up with a line of golf bags. "There’s a little bit of something for everyone," she says, from polka-dots to catchy colors, featuring detachable purses, a cooler pocket and other female-friendly details. Now Haythorn has gone full-time with Sassy Caddy, expanding into tennis and messenger bags and doubling sales in 2012. "I’m really excited about it." Golf bags: $245 to $269 retail. Other bags: $95 to $145 retail.

Made by Sassy Caddy Inc., Denver, www.sassycaddy.com. Available at more than 50 golf courses in Colorado.

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