From My Window… Memorial snowmobile ride a great success; Olympics easy to enjoy

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
Roughly 200 spectators, helpers and participants took part in a great event Sunday morning and afternoon at the third annual “I Ride with James” Poker and Snowmobile Ride in the mountains around the Lost Creek Trailhead, about 30 miles east of Meeker on County Road 8.
The purpose of the ride was to raise funds for the James Sizemore Memorial Scholarships and the Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue squad.
Not only was the cause a good one, approximately 135 snowmobiles, often with more than one rider, from all around Northwest Colorado and as far away as Vernal, Utah, took part, competing for poker hands to win the grand prize of a new Polaris 120 kid’s sled, $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second prize and $250 for third prize. There were also prizes for oldest snowmobile and another for ugliest snowmobile and prizes for all the kids who attended.
The event is in memory of Kathy and Mike Sizemore’s son, James, who was killed Feb. 11, 2011, in an avalanche on nearby Sand Peak.
The registration building was James’ old school bus, in which he used to take a bunch of his friends dirt biking.
“So each year since his death on President’s Weekend in 2011, we have held this memorial in memory of James and his bus,” Kathy said Sunday. “Besides, it all works as more closure for us and our extended family, and that really makes us feel good.”
The event proved to be a lot of fun to participate in and to watch, and the organizers and volunteers who stayed near the base made everyone feel welcome and comfortable even though a rather chilly breeze came up early afternoon, prompting a lot of those eating lunch or taking an early break to hide behind the downwind side of the old school bus.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages and brisket were offered free to all at the site, accompanied by coffee, water and a number of cookies and cinnamon rolls and other goodies.
Sheriff Si Woodruff was smiling after his run, but he wasn’t overly confident about the pair of aces he sported from the run.
“It really was a beautiful ride for a couple of great causes, and there were well over a hundred riders who had a great time,” he said. “It was really nice to get out on the snow and see the countryside up close. What a great day.”

I always look forward to the Olympic games — particularly the winter games — because I used to be a good skier and have long enjoyed many of the contests that were traditionally part of those games.
So many new sports have been added to the winter games in recent years that the games are even more exciting than they used to be.
When I was skiing, the freestyle flips and jumps were just catching on and a run down the moguls when I lived in Aspen was a lot of fun and great exercise, but a long way off from being an actual Olympic event.
It is neat to watch the snowslope event and, since I was a downhiller back then, the downhill in Sochi I believe is the scariest I have ever seen. It looks brutal.
My interest in the Olympics turned up a bit in the late 1960s and early ‘70s as Colorado vied for the Olympics games of 1976.
Not only did I think it would be great to drive a couple of hours to watch the Olympics, my Dad was president of the Denver Olympic Committee, which did, indeed, win the 1976 Olympic Games, only to have that overturned by a vote of Colorado residents. That vote meant a hurry-time for Innsbruck, Austria, which had hosted the Olympics previously and was chosen to host again since most of the infrastructure was already in place.
I still have mixed feelings as to whether Colorado should have hosted those Olympic Games in 1976 or not — and my feelings are the same now as they were when the vote was held, about 43 years ago.
Yes, Colorado was loaded with money to spend because the state was booming. The games would not have been a financial disaster for the state.
Yes, the Olympics would have been a huge boost for tourism as well as bringing throngs more people to the state and various industries along with it.
Economically, it would have been a great thing for Colorado and its coffers.
However, it also would have required new infrastructure, tremendous growth to some of the Colorado towns that were probably not ready or equipped to do it right, new runs and new jumps, etc. that would have been carved out of previously untouched terrain as well as more environmental damage making room for more hotels, dorms for the athletes, new roads for transportation, etc.
It was the environmentalists of the time who succeeded in turning back the Olympic Games.
Was it good thing or an embarrassment to the state of Colorado?
Certainly, it was a huge embarrassment to the state on a world scale following the election, and that embarrassment lingered for many, many months later.
In the long run, it may have been one of the wisest things Colorado voters ever did.
It didn’t hurt the growth explosion that Colorado was experiencing at the time, and, as important as it was to double check the impact on the environment, questions of water supply were not answered for the state until much later.
Now, with all the water being moved from the Western Slope to the Front Range, think what would be the case if a large portion of the Western Slope water high up in the mountains had been diverted to the Front Range.
You think much of the Western Slope has problems with water supplies now? Think what could have been.
Would Northwest Colorado have gained in any way from having the Olympics here in Colorado? I don’t know, and Dad is no longer around to ask because they reportedly had all the answers back then.
What do you readers think?
Should Colorado have hosted the Olympics in 1976?
Was the environment more of a concern?
Was Colorado already growing fast enough?
Did Colorado miss out on a financial gold mine?
Drop me a line and let me know. Many readers of this newspaper, particularly those in the Meeker area, were voters in that election and it would be interesting to have the reaction of those who weren’t here then as well as the hindsight response of those who were here then.
Send me a note at sean@theheraldtimes.com

The United States, as I write this on Tuesday morning, is tied with the Russians atop the list of medals won with 19 each.
So far, the United States teams have performed fairly well but are well off the pace from four years ago, when they ended up No. 1 with 37 medals, their best showing ever.
One thing is sure, however. If medals were given for fourth-place finishes — just missing the podium — then the United States would be running away with the medal count.

A big congratulations and a huge “good luck” goes out to all the boys and girls moving on into the playoffs in wrestling and boys’ and girls’ basketball.
You have done your towns proud. Hang in there!!!