No old bones at this affair

If you think a bunch of archeology buffs are old fuddy duddies, you’d be wrong. The San Juan Basin Archaeological Society’s holiday party, which was held Dec. 13 at the Swing Restaurant at the Dalton Ranch Golf Club, was a bevy of happy, chattering folks.

More than 60, in fact, all of whom were happy to be out on the last truly dry roads of the season.

Let me say up front what a Herculean effort the staff members put out for the event, cheerfully serving appetizers and a three-course meal that included all kinds of variations for the various dietary needs among the members of the group. The meal was delicious, with a choice of grilled chicken with shrimp, chicken cordon bleu or pork loin with an apple cider sauce accompanied by asparagus and sautéed veggies.

Foxie Mason decorated the tables using alternating shot and martini glasses with votive candles, little ornaments, nutcrackers and some tinsel to add some glitz.

Members Dianne Skinner, John and Eliane Viner, Mark and Marlene Gebhardt and Jeanne Brako donated door prizes, which society President Andrew Gulliford and Mark Gebhardt had great fun delivering to the lucky winners.

This group exists both to learn about archeology and to support the further study of archaeological areas. This year, the society is funding its first ever scholarships for Fort Lewis College students working toward degrees in public history at the Center of Southwest Studies. New center Director Jay Harrison was on hand to receive the check, with an assurance that the society is making a five-year commitment to continue the internship.

Gulliford tells me the society is the largest chapter in the state and hosts more field trips than any other chapter. Part of that, of course, is because we have access to the wealth of Native American cultures and ancestral Puebloan ruins in the Southwest. But it’s also because the membership is committed to exploring and learning.

After a great slide show of the field trips happy members took in 2012, the tentative schedule for 2013 was announced, and people were already getting out their calendars. There are 17 trips scheduled for 2013, beginning with a trip to Arizona missions and forts at the end of the month organized by Marlo and Gail Schulz, museums in or near Albuquerque thanks to trip leaders Marion and Andy Simon, and trips to Ames Power Plant near Telluride (Bev and Bob Danielson) and Cedar Mesa (Barb and Lyle Hancock) as well as some closer to home such as Gulliford’s walking tour in historic Durango and a hike to view pictographs in Dalla Mountain Park led by Jim and Kathleen Shadell.

All of the society’s programs are free and open to the public, but to go on the field trips, one must be a member, and most tours are first-come, first-served with size limits.

To join or for more information, call Gulliford at 247-7011, email him at gulliford_a@fortlewis.edu, or visit the society’s website at www.sjbas.org.

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These folks’ friends are singing “Happy Birthday to You” with chattering teeth – Jordan Stanley, Bill Marsh, Libby Heath, Carol Arnspiger, Chloe Bourdon, Tom Stuber, Jeff Booton, Jesse Parker, Megan Downey, Karla Dudley, John Florek, Sofia Seiger, Amy Bourdon, Coral Eidenshink, Leticia Rambo, John Tait, Nina House, Paul Dittmer, Bonnie Fuller, Bonnie Hermesman, Jan Goldman, Cheryl Jackson, Marcia Baxter, Jacky Dzuibek, Therese Michaels, Pat Roberts, Mick Souder and Pam Furze.

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Congratulations go out to Megan Semler, a member of the Colorado State University Livestock Judging Team. The team came in second at the National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest, which makes it the reserve national champion.

This is no easy feat. To compete at this level, the students have to really know livestock physiology, understand market demands and consumer preferences as well as be persuasive in their public-speaking skills. It takes a ton of studying and preparation.

The competition included 28 teams representing the country’s best agricultural colleges. The students evaluated classes of cattle, swine and sheep, then explained their evaluations in oral presentations to the contest officials. Semler’s team finished second overall in swine – I imagine that’s the one and only time I’ll write something like that – third in sheep, fourth in cattle and seventh in overall reasoning.

Oklahoma State University edged out Colorado State University by just nine points out of 5,000 possible at the contest, which was held at the American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.

Other finishers in the top five included Western Illinois University, Texas Technical University and Texas A&M University.

Semler is the daughter of Melody and Wayne Semler of Bayfield. Part of her college studies are being paid for by a scholarship from the La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen’s Association.

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Celebrating the plighting of their troth this week are Tom and Geri Mulligan and Pat and Karen Boots.

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