San Juan Horseshoe Goes World Wide

By Caitlin Switzer


COLONA–If Montrose and Telluride do not seem especially funny at the moment, the much more humorous communities of Gunnison and Ouray are close by. And fortunately for local readers, all four locations fall within the territory served by the San Juan Horseshoe, the light-hearted but legendary satirical newspaper written by Kevin Haley since 1977.

While other publications cover actual elections, crime and breaking news, the San Juan Horseshoe does a re-write on reality, creating an alternative, more ridiculous world, issue by issue—recent stories have included “Feds Admit Misplacing Rhode Island,” “Colorado may Raise Drinking Age to 55,”   “Dolphins Actually Hate People,” a how-to piece on forming “Fantasy Democracy” leagues, and an editorial arguing that mandatory helmet laws should exclude fishermen…you get the idea.

In the past, Horseshoe readers have had to venture out in search of a news stand or other public location to find the latest issue of the paper, which has been published quarterly in recent years. Last month, Haley took the historic step of putting the San Juan Horseshoe online, where it will be updated on a regular basis every two weeks. The paper will go to actual print just once each year, in June.

Expect the same easy but straight-shooting editorial approach.

“I don’t take cheap shots, and I’m not writing about dragons in Ridgway Reservoir,” Haley growled, “but God knows people need to laugh.

“Our evolution away from paper is about clean industry, and keeping it fresh,” he continued. “I want local readers to be stimulated to read the Horseshoe, and I want to reach readers all over the world.”

It’s not always easy to find the ridiculous in today’s bleak headlines, asserts Haley, who pointedly  ignored mundane questions from this reporter.

“I don’t want to come off as anybody who knows what’s going on,” he said. “When it comes to politics, it can be hard to be funny about something that is already funnier than you could imagine.”

Nevertheless, recent articles on the GOP Exhuming Ike and Obama turning the White House into a bed and breakfast clearly succeed on the laughter scale.

One local reader who is thrilled to see the San Juan Horseshoe go digital is longtime Ouray County publisher (San Juan Silver Stage) and marketing pro Kathryn Burke.

“It’s always a fun read with some outrageous comments and ideas,” Burke said.  “I love the Horseshoe! Glad it’s online, but it’s hard to take my laptop into the bathtub.”

Ridgway Jeweler David Houtz, who came to the area in the 1970’s, laughed even just contemplating the San Juan Horseshoe.

“I love the satire,” Houtz said. “I have known that man a long, long time. He has done some articles I just love—he has even written some about me that were funnier than hell.

“Ah, Kevin!”