For many of our community’s young people, the La Plata County Fair is the culmination of a year’s hard work. Members of 4-H clubs from around the county come to show off their projects, whether they’re raising a calf, sheep, goat or pig, knitting a hat, decorating a cake or analyzing Animas River water.
It’s also a time when the La Plata County 4-H Council raises much of its funding for the coming year. And they do it, in perfect fair fashion, with a barbecue that’s also a chance for some local supporters of 4-H to win bragging rights for their beef and pork grilling skills and sauce magic. (Oh, the peach-habañero and the raspberry-chipotle! Yum.)
The judges and the people were in agreement that the winning team was XTO Energy, but the judges gave second place to BP and the people voted for WPX. The Crossfire LLC team was also no slouch. I just know no one was a loser when it comes to enjoying a good barbecue.
Christi Zeller of the La Plata Energy Council deserves credit for recruiting the competing teams for the Battle of the Barbecue.
Also on the menu were corn on the cob, a garden salad, country bread, cobbler and ice cream.
Members of 4-H of all ages, including many club leaders, provided the manpower (and womanpower) to keep the setup, serving and cleanup going.
Funds raised at the event go to the La Plata County 4-H Council, to which all the 4-H clubs in the county belong, to be used as its budget for next year.
Council President Michael Semler tells me the money is used to fund scholarships, do community service, send students to leadership camps, put on community functions and help clubs and groups do various things, such as supporting the livestock judging team with awards for its contest and helping the royalty court members make their trip to the National Western Livestock Show. In other words, those dollars stretch far and do a lot of good.
Semler credits community support for helping 4-H succeed, and particularly for helping the barbecue succeed. And boy, did the community support this event in spades. First of all, the grillers and 4-Hers fed about 1,600 people, helping the council raise about $20,000.
Lots of adult-run enterprises are also fans of 4-H. The list of sponsors is long and generous, including First National Bank of Durango, Bank of Colorado, Durango-Farmington Coca-Cola Bottling, Bread, the Durango & Silverton Co. Narrow Gauge Railroad, Basin Co-op, the Gillen family, Serious Texas BBQ, La Plata Electric Association, Durango/La Plata County Senior Center, Sunnyside Meats, Conoco hillips and Durango School District 9-R.
Angela Fountain, Greg Felsen and Wendy Rice all deserve big kudos for making the event come together and run smoothly.
I don’t write about 4-H often enough. In addition to learning all sorts of skills, agricultural, life skills such as sewing, knitting, canning, cooking, baking, and the scientific method, kids and students grow as leaders and perform community service projects. It’s an extremely effective and fun model, and it’s not just for country kids.
If you’re looking for this kind of positive experience for your child, call Fountain at 382-6465. The start of the school year is the perfect time to start in the club.
Birthday greetings go out to all these Leos – Deborah Uroda, Cooke Seale, Raiana Ollier, Eileen Stastny, Bobby Lehmann, Fred Riedinger, Gary Cook, Loren Skyhorse, Kathrene Frautschy, Robert Griffith, Bob Pope, Phil Patterson, Sandy Dalenberg, Laura Stransky, Judy Danielson, Glenn Francis, Roger Landgren, Don Southworth, Kevin Jones, Bonnie Rossmiller, Jonathan Wince, Beverly Brown, Diane Calfas, Dianne Williams, Bill Foreman, Sheri Collins and Ken Fusco.
Durangoans have figured out ways to turn all of our favorite activities into fundraisers. And in the summertime, that often means golf.
(Me writing about golf is pretty hilarious, since I know just enough to be dangerous, so I hope everyone, duffer and pro alike, will forgive me any errors.)
The Hillcrest Women’s Golf Association held its annual Chili Pepper Tournament on July 15, attracting 112 participants from as far away as Phoenix and Moab, Utah.
Tarpley RV has, for many years, served as a sponsor, with an RV going to anyone who achieves a hole-in-one on Hole No. 9. Alas, once again, no one drove away with the new wheels.
Other sponsors included Animas Capital Management and Frank and Michele Hegenwald, who also bought and hung the decorations. Many of Durango’s restaurants once again stepped up, donating gift certificates for prizes. Kim Seitz worked the shoe leather to procure them.
The event ended with a live auction of four donated pieces of golfwear from Paula Creamer, a tournament-winning member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Maybe the magic will rub off.
For the second year, Ariel Moody and Marty Kay Aigner served as co-chairwomen for the event, which raised $2,000 for the Sexual Assault Services Organization.
There are a lot of men who braved the sea of estrogen to help out. For a hole-in-one prize as big as an RV, spotters are required. They were Frank Hegenwald, Ray Sigwart, Tom Burnett, Mike Seitz, Sam Smith and Paul Cahill.
The Chili Pepper began in 1992 with that name but had existed as the Hillcrest Ladies Invitational Tournament prior to that. Mary Colgen and the late Doris Douglas came up with the name. Attendees took the name to heart, often were wearing chile pepper shirts or earrings. There’s still a lot of red and green to this day.
If these couples weren’t washed away in a flash flood, they’re celebrating their anniversaries this week – Steve and Lou Hudson, Jim and Marty Monn, Richard and Evelyn Black, Gary and Ginna Harbison, Bruce and Diane Diiro, Tom and Chris Spahr, Lou and Jane Steele, John and Stella Welcher, Paul and Susan Plvan and Ted and Wilma Cooper.
I apologize to my readers for missing so many columns recently. Between vacation and working on a big series as well as having other responsibilities, Neighbors is what I have allowed to slip. I’m almost done with the series, so here’s hoping it’s smoother sailing from now on!
Here’s how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.
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