From My Window… Septemberfest a great showcase for Rangely; Sheep Up!

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
Rangely residents were out in droves this past weekend as Septemberfest brought residents and visitors to a wide variety of locations for an even wider variety of events to celebrate Labor Day.
Activities began Friday night with a magician performing at the Rangely Junior/Senior High School, then opened up early on Saturday with the Uintah Railroad Tour as well as the Fast, Flat and Free 5-kilometer race, setting off at 8 a.m.
The day continued with the Bulls ‘n’ Bogeys golf event with members of the Colorado Northwest Community College rodeo team, a bike rally (sponsored by the Rangely Police Department), A Day in the Park featuring vendors, all kinds of games, a Bench Press Contest for males and females, a Chili Cook-off, and the fourth annual Rock’N’Bull’N’Barrels in which not one of the bull riders was able to stay on board their bulls for the full eight seconds.
Saturday’s events took visitors from Elks Park to the fairgrounds to the Rangely Golf Course and I got a lesson on a few of the “off the road” locations around Rangely.
On Sunday, the fun and food began at the annual Rangely Museum Ice Cream Social where about a dozen flavors of homemade ice cream were served to several hundred attendees and a new sign was unveiled by the museum. The sign was painted freehand by local artist Tabitha Hejl.
The Cardboard Boat Race was a bit of a disappointment as action scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. was over by the time I arrived at 3:05 p.m. The race involved two boats, each making an not-very-triumphant and short trip across part of one pond as a rain shower seemed to take all the wind out of the boaters’ sails.
The Muddy Dip’N Dash Obstacle Course and the Mud Tug O’War were both a lot of fun to take in.
The Meeker Fire Department and the Rangely Recreation Center crews did a lot of work — flooding the competition area on the old Parkview school site and setting up the course. The fire department set down a lot of water, which seemed to soak in as fast as they could put it down — but the wet, muddy course was finally complete, offering a tough, muddy, messy course that hundreds of spectators/participants thoroughly enjoyed.
I was also able to sneak away from the mainstream of activities and run up the hill to the Elks Shooting Range and take in some skeet shooting competition.
The evening concluded with the New Creation Church offering a free pig roast and music in Elks Park, providing a welcome opportunity to take a break and relax. Both the pig and the entertainment by Fiscus and Gravy, who also played at the museum’s ice cream social, were welcome ways to spend the busy day that had taken me to the Rangely Museum, the Camper Park Ponds, the old Park View Site and back to Elks Park.
Sunday’s excitement began early with the short but entertaining Star-Spangled Parade down nearly the full length of Highway 64 following the Rangely Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast, which began at the fire hall at 6:30 a.m.
Next came the Craft Fair in the Park and the Car Show in the Park, and both were highly impressive, showing off a wide variety high number of arts and crafts booths as well as other activities, and the cars were impressive to say the least.
My favorites – and there were many really neat cars – were Bud and June Striegel’s 1930 Cord, Mayor Frank Huitt’s 2006 Viper and a purple 1992 Dodge Dakota owned by Rich Jones of Grand Junction.
I was able to watch the three gents who took part in the team cribbage tournament and to take part in the barbecue in the park as well as the Win It in a Minute Challenges.
The weekend of fun was wrapped up by the Duck Race at the Green River Bridge, making for a truly enjoyable weekend for a first-time attendant.
Other than Saturday’s events, which were perhaps spaced a little too far apart for a person who didn’t have a home or cool shade to escape to between events, the entire event flowed very well, was well attended and truly offered a lot of fun.
It was great to watch the obviously large contingent of mostly Rangley residents greet their friends and neighbors from across Elks Park during events there, from across the crowd gathered at the old Park View site for the obstacle course and mud tug o’war and across Highway 64 during the Star-Spangled Parade.
Well done Rangely; I look forward to next year, which promises to be bigger and better.

After a welcome weekend for Rangely to be in the Rio Blanco County spotlight, the last major event of the summer returns to Meeker this weekend, having started Wednesday, with the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials. One hundred and twenty-five teams of handler and dog from all parts of the globe are expected to gather for five days of fan and family fun, lots of hard work for the sheep, the dogs and their handlers, good food and sheep education.
According to a study done a few years back, the Meeker Classic brings in roughly $1 million to Meeker’s economy, and that, folks, is nothing to sneeze at.
I have watched this type of event on TV many times, most usually from Scotland, and it is impressive to watch the dogs and handlers work together. However, many of those sheep seem to know what is expected of them and just seem to routinely move toward the pens.
Here, however, the sheep don’t seem to know what they are supposed to do, and that is what makes the Meeker Classic one of if not the No. 1 trial in the business.
I have family and friends coming into town this week to take in the events, and they, coming from Boulder, Colo., and Ten Sleep, Wyo., (sheep country), are both pretty excited to see the event in person for the first time.
If you haven’t been there before, I can guarantee you owe it to yourself to take in the action.
If you have seen this type of action in person, be assured that each individual handler’s experience with their dogs and the wild sheep make for entertaining, unique encounters.
And congratulations and thanks to all who brought this event to Meeker and to those who continue each year around to keep improving on the event and bringing more money into the local economy.

My question of the week comes about after repeated trips back and forth between Rangely and Meeker this past weekend.
I would love to know why the price of gasoline at each of Rangely’s gasoline outlets (except one) was $3.79 per gallon while that other one in Rangely and every station in and close to Meeker is $3.89 for regular.
To add insult to injury, Channel 4 TV in Denver announced Tuesday that the average price per gallon in the metropolitan Denver area ranges from $3.38 per gallon to about $3.41 per gallon.
It kind of makes one wonder…