MEEKER I Saturday evening at the inaugural 2016 Meeker Classic NCA National Cattledog Finals, the Rio Blanco County Heritage Society and the Heritage Culture Center Committee brought a celebration of our cowboy heritage with history on Cattle Drive Days in Rio Blanco County.
This was accomplished by Kylen Seely of Ogden, Utah, weaving heritage stories with cowboy music and then, his pretty wife, Abbie, joining him as they thoroughly entertained the crowd with their songs and tales.
Gary Zellers, our charming and fun emcee for the entire event, informed the audience their nickname was “Abbie Cadabbie and Ripple Creek Ranger.”
As advertised, a delicious chuckwagon dinner was provided and was prepared by Giovanni’s in Rangely with a “cow trail menu” of pulled pork, fried potatoes, beans, biscuits and cowboy coffee.
To further enhance the cowboy spirit, Jeff Rector of Rangely brought a Dutch oven demonstration with desserts that pleased the crowd. And local citizen, Pamela Benthall Smith, baked an additional six homemade cobblers that garnered rave reviews.
Blanco Cellars with Vanessa Trout, donated their time and product to a wine tasting table delighting those who came through the line.
In the midst of the dinner and music, there was a well-attended entertaining event copying the TV Reality Show “Chopped” with our own Chopped Challenge Competition —cowboy style, involving three local “chefs,” facing a primitive open fire cooking challenge and two local judges determining who gets chopped on each round.
Reno Roybal, Rene Barr and Arturo Rodriguez bravely volunteered and brought their own skills and personalities to the contest. Judges Kathy Sizemore and Lynn Lockwood, with their own expertise, watched as each contestant was given a basket of food that was mandatory to use and only unveiled when the clock started.
As the two rounds of contest clicked on and the “chopped” chefs were announced, the crowd observed and cheered their favorite participant as they feverishly worked to create a tasty entree dish then dessert out of the basket items and other basic ingredients provided.
In the end, Arturo Rodriguez of Meeker Café and The Mexican House was declared the winner along with his lovely sous chef and wife, Tania.
The heritage event was organized and carried out to not only bring the community and visitors a cultural heritage experience but to bring awareness to the dedicated group’s capital campaign goals to raise $25,000 toward the theater system for the Old West Heritage Culture Center, furthering heritage education.
White River Electric Association was a prime sponsor of the event and has already donated an additional $3,500 toward this effort.
The Heritage Culture Center welcomes any donations toward their ambitious efforts. You can contact them by email at email@example.com or go to their website to give online: rioblanco county.org/join-and-give/project-support/