Range Call celebrates 124th year

Photo by Gidget Jones. Colorado’s longest-running annual rodeo will take place this weekend at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds during Meeker’s Fourth of July celebration — Range Call.

Photo by Gidget Jones. Colorado’s longest-running annual rodeo will take place this weekend at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds during Meeker’s Fourth of July celebration — Range Call.
Photo by Gidget Jones. Colorado’s longest-running annual rodeo will take place this weekend at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds during Meeker’s Fourth of July celebration — Range Call.
MEEKER I Endurance, perseverance and stubborn tenacity were characteristic of Meeker’s pioneer settlers. Today’s residents share those same traits, living in a community that continues to survive, thrive and succeed in spite of booms and busts, droughts and floods, times of plenty and times of want.
In 1855, those early settlers came together to celebrate the birth of our nation, and perhaps, to celebrate another year of beating the odds. Many small towns in the late 19th century held community-wide Fourth of July activities, with horse races, picnics, parades and speeches. To these traditional events, the town of Meeker added a community rodeo.
Dubbed “Range Call” in the late 1930s — Meeker’s Fourth of July celebration metamorphosed into a three- or four-day summer festival with world-class entertainment, one of the best fireworks displays in the state, historical re-enactments performed by local residents, and, yes, the rodeo. Meeker’s Range Call carries the honor of being the longest-running annual rodeo in the state of Colorado.
This year marks the 124th anniversary of Range Call, and with all that history and a landmark year coming up in 2010, Range Call 2009 — themed “Time Marches On” — promises to be an event to remember.
The festivities begin today and continue through the Fourth of July weekend. Highlights include the Meeker Pageant, a theatrical re-enactment of the so-called Meeker Massacre; renowned country-western musician Tracy Lawrence in concert July 3; the parade and a host of downtown amusements on July 4, topped off by the fireworks display that night at dusk. An art display and aution, the CPRA rodeo, an archery tournament and a carnival add to the fun throughout the weekend. Fittingly, Range Call ends Sunday, July 5, with the ever-popular Ranch Rodeo — where local ranches have a chance to compete with each other for prize money and the coveted belt buckles.
While a wide range of the weekend’s events are free — the parade, the fireworks and most of the downtown events — you don’t want to miss out on the rest of the fun during Range Call. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for kids under 12 and seniors over 55. Ticket prices do not include the pancake breakfast, barbecue, 5K walk/run race, archery tournament or the ice cream social. Single event tickets are available at the gate, but the purchase of a Range Call wristband is by far the best bang for your buck.
Tickets are available for purchase at the Meeker and Rangely chambers of commerce, at Wendll’s Wondrous Things in Meeker and at Murdoch’s in Craig.