Rick Lambert – One of Loveland’s Cool Kids

– By Dan England | Photos by Jordan Secher –

When Kathie first set eyes upon her husband dancing like a scarecrow in a stiff breeze, it wasn’t exactly love at the first sight. 

“I said to myself, ‘What does that fool think he’s doing?’” Kathie says. 

Rick looks like Santa, but the kind of Santa you’d see on the cover of a Rolling Stones Christmas album. He has a ponytail and an earring and a wry grin to match his thin white beard. But Rick, 68, isn’t an old fool. He’s one of Loveland’s ambassadors, both literary and figuratively, and one of its true characters. He also can’t imagine his life being any better than it is now working for himself as a professional greeter, meaning, yes, he greets people at the door for special events. We’d call it a resurgence, but that would imply that there were many other good times along the way. Instead, times were hard, even as he enjoyed raising his three kids on his own.

Rick and Kathie Lambert dancing at their Christmas-themed wedding, December 2021.

When he was 17, more than 7,500 volts raced through his body while he was climbing a power pole. He’s since used a cane most of his life. He worked as a telemarketer but wasn’t very good at it. He lost his home at one point and ended up staying in a campground for several months. Rick’s daughter, his youngest, was 1 when his wife died of alcoholism 28 years ago. He himself got sober two years earlier, when God visited him, he says, and told him his wife wouldn’t make it and to get ready. 

He survived those years with a burning faith and a love for his kids. He now has a dozen grandkids under 14. He’s retired and works as an ambassador for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. He got married a year ago to Kathie, 77, and they are never apart, “not even for 10 minutes.” He calls all this good fortune “a God thing,” a phrase he uses a lot. 

He had another talk with God a decade ago when the city asked him to drive the train at North Lake Park. When he thinks about it, Rick volunteered his whole life at his church or at his kids’ school, and he supported his kids’ activities. But he’d never volunteered beyond that. He admitted to himself that he felt a little left out since his kids were grown and he wanted to do something for Loveland, where he’d lived for more than 40 years. God, he says, nudged him to drive the train. 

“I said, ‘God, should I?’ And he took me here and here and here and hasn’t stopped,” Rick says. 

Rhonda Marcus, Rick Lambert, Luanne Martin at the Loveland Corn Roast Festival, 2021.

Indeed, one thing led to another after someone saw him working the train and asked him to join the downtown Loveland Lions Club, and he’s now known for dancing at the Foundry during the city’s summer concerts, lighting the decorations at the Winter Wonderland Lights and working as a greeter for the Chamber and for the Rialto. He’s so good at that, he won Ambassador of the Year in 2019. 

“He always has the biggest smile, arrives early and greets everyone with details of our events,” says Dixie Daly, membership director for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. “He has such a kind soul.” 

More people seem to know him than ever, Kathie says. “He talks to people all the time, everywhere we go.”  

Rick enjoys being married again too. Kathie taught him how to paint. He taught her how to dance. It was his dancing, in fact, that grew on Kathie, and at the last summer concert in 2021, she introduced herself and said she wanted to see him again. They were together soon after that. 

“I danced with every girl in town,” Rick says, “but before Kathie, I didn’t want to take anyone home.”  

He lost 60 pounds with her help this year—she lost 130 a few years ago and kept it off—and he can now walk without his cane for the first time in decades. Rick isn’t as active as a greeter as he once was, but he loves hanging out with Kathie downtown at the breweries and bars late at night, just to support Loveland’s downtown scene. He’s stayed sober and has never been tempted to drink again. 

He also loves his status as one of the cool kids of Loveland and is very proud of it, even while he credits God and tries to remain humble. 

“Everyone tells me they appreciate what I do, but it really isn’t much,” he says. “I’m just being nice to people.” 

You could call it a comeback or his golden years, but Rick simply calls them the best years of his life. 

_________________________________________________________________

Dan England is NOCO Style’s assistant editor, and a freelance journalist based in Greeley.