Pair of county golfers hope to make game a career

Golf in northwest Colorado — at least for the season — will be coming to an end soon.
But for two golfers from Rio Blanco County, the sport is more than a seasonal game.
It will hopefully be a career.
Clark Edwards, a 2009 Rangely High School graduate, is attending an 18-month golf school in Phoenix called the Golf Academy of America. From the other end of the county, Jason Back of Meeker spent the summer as manager of Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig and is waiting to find out if he got the job full time.
After finishing up at the golf academy in December, Clark hopes to land a job at a golf course, preferably one that is open year-round.
“In northwest Colorado, that’s kinda difficult,” said Simon Boudreaux, who works at Cedar Ridges Golf Course in Rangely and is married to Ellen Boudreaux (formerly Edwards), who is Clark’s mother.
“Ellen and I met at the golf course,” Simon said. “She was a single mom at the time and she would work out here so she could play golf. Clark was 5 or 6 at the time. We started playing golf together and he’d come along. He used to cry if the ball didn’t go where he wanted it to go. You watch him now, and he can bang that ball.”
So can his mother.
Last year, Clark won the men’s club championship at Cedar Ridges and his mom won the women’s club championship.
Clark hopes to become a golf pro someday.
“Yes, that’s why he went to school,” Simon said. “They cover every facet of golf (at the academy). They teach you how to run a tournament. They teach you club repair. They teach you how to teach golf.”
For Jason Back, a 1996 graduate of Meeker High School, he gained hands-on experience this summer at Yampa Valley.
“He managed the course all summer,” said his father, George. “He put in for the pro job. They interviewed him. That should help him (having been the interim). It gave him an idea of what it was all about.”
Jason pulled double duty this summer. Besides covering duties at the golf course, he kept his regular job at Colowyo coal mine.
“This has always been what he wanted to do, be a pro at a golf course,” George said.
Jason played golf at MHS and received a golf scholarship at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.
“He loved the golf, but him and school didn’t get along,” George said.
A few years ago, Jason considered coming back to his hometown.
“He was offered the Meeker (golf pro) job,” George said. “They tried to get him to come here, before Jimmy (Cook) came back. He thought about it, but it wouldn’t have been feasible for him. They have a new home (in Craig) and his wife works in Steamboat. They talked Jimmy into coming back, which has been the best thing.”
Jason took — and passed — the Playing Ability Test, which is a step in becoming a golf pro, recently at Greeley.
“You have to shoot a certain score,” George said. “He passed, which is good for the first time. He said some (players) had been there six or seven times. There were 14 there that day, and only three of them passed it, and some girl shot the best score.”
If he gets the job at Yampa Valley, Jason will complete the requirements to become a golf pro.
“If he gets the job, he’ll go ahead and get his pro card, so he would be like what Jimmy (Cook) is,” George Back said. “He’s still managing (Yampa Valley). He will finish out the season. Then he’ll just wait (about the golf pro job). He should be hearing any day.”
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There was quite a bit of activity last week at the old Meeker Elementary School, which is sitting empty.
Well, it’s not completely empty.
“Yes, we are in the process of cleaning out the building,” said Susan Goettel, superintendent for the Meeker School District. “Right now, other school districts and several government agencies have been receiving donations (of furniture) from the building. We are looking at other taxpaying entities at this point — that was the charge from the school board. They got first walk-through rights. We had a haul-off last Friday morning. They had tagged the items they were interested in.”
As far as the modular classrooms located on the grounds of the old school, the school district is still hoping to find a buyer for the two units.
“That is still the goal, but there is nothing new to report,” Goettel said.
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Kim Brown is moving, but she doesn’t have far to go.
Brown is changing banks. After 18 years with First National Bank of the Rockies, including a time as manager of the Meeker branch, Brown is moving one block down the street. She will be a new vice president at Mountain Valley Bank, replacing Chad Luce, who left the bank.
“Kim will complete our lending team at Mountain Valley Bank. She brings with her a strong set of lending skills that fits our community’s needs and complements our bank’s philosophies,” said Tawny Halandras, MVB president.
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Sam Love, a 2008 graduate of Meeker High School, met former President Bill Clinton recently at an event in Portland, Maine. Sam is a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
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Some of the issues that will be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 general election have local officials concerned.
“What we are mostly concerned about is the possibility of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 passing,” said Meeker Mayor Mandi Etheridge. “Those measures will severely decrease the budgets for all tax-funded entities, specifically the county, town and school districts.”
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Samme Elder said there have been no developments in the case of her husband, who has been missing since Sept. 2.
“Nothing new,” Samme said.
Asked about a report that a body was found, Samme said, “I have heard that rumor too. No, no body has been found.”
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Last week’s Herald Times newspapers were mistakenly delivered to Glenwood Springs instead of Rifle, which is the usual drop-off site.
When our driver called me shortly after 4 a.m. to say there were no papers, I knew it was going to be a long morning.
I immediately called the printer, who tracked down his driver and found out what happened to the papers. Our driver had to wait in Rifle for the papers to be retrieved and brought to the right location, and then drive back to Meeker.
Our early-Thursday-morning inserting crew was shorthanded, which made for an even longer-than-usual morning. Typically, it takes three or four of us about two or two and a half hours to insert the papers. Last week, it took two of us twice that long.
I had already been up all night the night before — I hadn’t been able to sleep. So, by the time we were done inserting, it was 10 in the morning and I had been up for more than 24 hours.
I figured it was time to call it a day.

Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at jeff@theheraldtimes.com.