Some people can sing, some can play an instrument, some can paint and some can fish. Yep, you read that right, today Neighbors is showcasing the talents of those among us who can tie flies, make a beautiful cast and know all the secret fishing holes in the area.
They did it in aid of one our most important causes, helping mentor young people into a successful future. The 16th annual Dos Mosca Fly Fishing Tournament was held Aug. 3 and 4, with people fishing the high country one day and fishing the lower Animas or La Plata rivers the other.
(To all the Spanish speakers out there, I know it should be Dos Moscas, but thats the events name they did a direct translation of the term Two-Fly, because each fisherperson gets one dry and one wet fly per day of competition.)
This is an enormously successful fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of La Plata County, bringing in net proceeds of more than $52,000. Its thanks to dedicated supporters, avid anglers and the organizational skills of Duranglers owners John Flick and Tom Knopick, among others.
To kick off the event, BBBS Board President Mike Bruce and his wife, Sandy, welcomed the participants and friends of the organization to a barbecue at their Rancho del Perro Feo in the Animas Valley.
The Duranglers gang ran a Calcutta, an auction where bidders estimate the scores of various teams and bid on the one they think will achieve the most points, etc. Its complicated, and I have neither the space nor the writing ability to explain it. Suffice it to say, it makes extra money for BBBS, the winning teams and individuals and the winning bidders.
So there are no fishy measurements, team members dont fish together, so its not until the end of the tournament that they know how they did.
Im making it sound very complicated, but its a lot of fun, and by the time the closing banquet at Fort Lewis College took place, there were a lot of smiling, sunburned people with It was thiiiis big stories to tell.
Thanks go to the guides, who brought all the participants home safely after a fun time. They included Flick, Knopick, Don Oliver, Mark Engler, Joe Delling, Mike Sukolsky, Corky Corcorran, Josh Grounds, Spencer Schreiber, Rob Coddington, Tony Myers, Thomas Chacon, Christian Fryer, Rusty Hill, Nate Bronson and Shay Lopez.
And now its time to name those fly-fishermen who will have bragging rights as the reigning champions until next August.
Ryan Mickelson had a very good two days, in spite of heavy rains that put the kibosh on effective fishing the Friday afternoon of the tournament. (If you cant see your fly two inches below the surface, its a good bet the fish cant, either.)
Mickelson won Overall High Points with 530.5 points, and he and his partner on Team Flickin Bugs, Graham Smith, also won Team High Points (814.0, almost 200 points ahead of their nearest competitors) as well as Big Cutthroat Trout (24.5 inches).
Malones Ringers, also known as Dave Freeman and Mike Fenton, won Big Rainbow Trout (23.5 inches); Team Top Guns, Shawn Osthoff and Greg Behn, won Big Brown Trout (37 inches); and Team Leash II, with anglers Sam Stites and Ken Portz, took home Big Brook Trout (22.5 inches).
Im not a big fisherman, but even I get caught up in the fun and excitement of this event. They have a blast.
Perhaps its an even bigger blast knowing how important the money theyre raising is to local kids.
Tracy Cornutt, executive director of BBBS, says people dont understand why, with so many volunteers, the organization needs so much money, but its precisely because there are so many volunteers that staff members, which is the biggest expense, are needed.
If recent events have taught us anything, its how vulnerable at-risk young people are. Big Brothers Big Sisters does extensive background checks, its true, but perhaps more importantly, staff members frequently check in with the Littles, their families and the Bigs as well.
Last year, at Dos Mosca, Cornutt put bags of M&Ms on all the tables, to remind everyone that it takes two things for Big Brothers and Big Sisters to be successful, money and mentors.
There are currently about 30 children waiting for either a Big Brother or Sister (or couple) or a Study Buddy. To learn more about volunteering, visit www.bbig.org or call 247-3720.
And you dont have to be a fisherman or bowler the organizations other main fundraiser is Bowl for Kids Sake to support the amazing work the organization does. Tax-deductible donations may be made online or by sending them to P.O. Box 2154, Durango, CO 81302.
Being a mentor is as valuable to the Big as it is to the Little, and every dollar helps.
As the countdown to summers end begins, these folks are planning to have fun at their birthday parties Kent Herath, Sandy Dalenberg, Laura Stransky, Judy Danielson, Glenn Francis, Roger Landgren, Corbin Miller, Michael Cobb, Kallie Green, Walt Jackson, Rick Phillips, Natalie Serwe, Emma Bryant, James Calvet, Ed Dingledine, Robert Griffith, Bob Pope, Jim Gore, Ron Ollier, Don Ollier, Emily Robertson, Heidi TeBrink, JohnWhite, Roy Cook, Peri Ann Milner, Bessie Stidham, Bob Lundquist and Julie Schultz.
Shopping at the Durango Mall between now and Aug. 20? If you spend more than $25, the merchant will give you a token. Take the time to walk down to the center of the mall to deposit it in the box, because the Durango Foundation for Educational Excellence will receive $1 from the mall for every token so deposited.
Its a painless way to support innovative programs in Durango School District 9-R and show support for the foundation.
Many locals have taken visitors to the Bar D Chuckwagon Suppers, where, for the last six years, Joel Racheff has provided, what does one call that, oh, yeah, comic relief, while playing the bass with the Bar D Wranglers.
During the weekend of Aug. 3 through 5, 35 members of Racheffs blended family headed to Durango from New York City, Houston, Alabama, California, Montana and Washington, D.C., for a reunion. Although reunion is a bit of a misnomer, as many were meeting for the first time through Racheffs mother, Jeanne Noland, who married an old classmate, Bob Noland, two years ago after romance flourished at a class reunion. Their adult children had not yet met, and Durango was the perfect place to make that happen.
Of course, they went to the Bar D, but they also enjoyed a little of everything our area has to offer. Also attending the reunion was Micki Racheff Pettit Joels sister who happens to be married to a real, live astronaut, Donald Pettit. (He came, too, along with their two children.)
Pettit has spent 370 days in space and traveled more than 136 million miles in orbit above the Earth, with not one, but two, extended stays on the International Space Station. (That should mean some serious frequent-flier miles.)
Before he joined the NASA in 1996, he already had conducted more than 12 years of research on space program-related projects at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico. Hes gotten to participate in the switch to commercial support of the station, so hes part of history in another way.
Pettit just returned from his last tour on the station July 1, so Im guessing Durango was a true change of pace. He said hes sticking around the space program until it wont have him any more.
Summer anniversaries call for laid-back parties for these couples Charles and Jean Reid, Don and Terri Oliver, Chris and Tara Safran, Richard and Evelyn Black and Gary and Gina Harbison.