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It was more than just the typical Saturday rush that brought dozens of people to Casa Bonita on the morning of April 28.
The Denver Broncos took over the famous restaurant for the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft, announcing three picks at different spots in the restaurant.
“We were trying to find somewhere uniquely Colorado to make the announcements, and it doesn’t get much more unique than Casas Bonita,” said Liz Coates, game entertainment manager with the Broncos. “This was a chance to bring together two great, unique Colorado entities.”
The first pick the team made was Iowa inside linebacker Josey Jewell. He was taken with the team’s first fourth-round draft pick, No. 106 overall. The announcement was made by former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer with a little Casa Bonita twist – he made it from atop the restaurant’s cliff, complete with divers.
Following Jewell, the Broncos next picked Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton with their second pick in the round, No. 113 overall. This time, former Broncos center K.C. Jones made the announcement, this time featuring the team’s mascot, Miles, and the restaurant’s mariachi band.
Before the final pick was announced, the fans who had formed a line outside the restaurant hours before its opening had the chance to get meet and get autograph from former players like Plummer, Jones, David Bruton, and Karl Mecklenburg, and cheerleaders Gioia, Jozie, Gabby and Sara.
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Lakewood resident Albert Perry was the first in line and arrived at Casa Bonita at 9 a.m. – two hours before the draft event was scheduled to begin.
“I heard about this on the radio and thought it would be fun to come see this,” he said. “This is a chance for other people to be a part of the draft.”
The former players and cheerleaders were more than game for swapping stories, taking a quick selfie, and signing all manner of memorabilia.
“I’m excited I got to talk to the players and get their autographs,” said 8-year-old Malakye Sawa, who was brought to the event by parents Jacquelyn Sawa and Mike Gorski.
When the third draft pick was announced, it was Mecklenburg who made the announcement, with a little help of professional magician Gregg Tobo. The final pick of the event was tight end Troy Fumagalli from the University of Wisconsin.
There’s still several months before the season starts back up, but fans are already excited about what the fall will bring.
“I’ve been a faithful fan since 1969, and I think some fantastic picks have been made,” said Becky McKernan, the widow of Tim McKernan, better known to fans as “The Barrel Man.” “I love being on the roller coaster ride called the Broncos, and I think we have a winner this year.”
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