This year, sheepdog trials enjoy good weather while Septemberfest soaks

It didn’t rain during the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Champion-ship Trials. In fact, there was nary a cloud in the sky during most of the event. The weather was perfect.
But rain sure did dampen Rangely’s Septemberfest the previous weekend. In the past, it’s often been the other way around. At least it was last year.
So, go figure.
Tim Webber, director of the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District and one of the organizers of Septem-berfest, said he heard of only one other time when Septemberfest events were rained on.
However, there was plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures for the “Day in the Park” events at this year’s Septemberfest, which was good, so kids could enjoy the water slides. And, two days later, it didn’t rain on the parade.
But it sure rained after that, cutting short the post-parade events at Elks Park.
Webber figures about 700 people went through the lines for the free barbecue, always a popular event. In past years, food was served to nearly 2,000 people. But rain kept people away this year.
“The lines were pretty steady,” Webber said. “But we only went through about half of the beef. We gave away the rest.”
Volunteers prepared 750 pounds of beef, and the meat cooked for about eight and a half hours.
Despite the rain on Labor Day, Webber said, all things considered, Septemberfest went well.
“It definitely was a success,” he said. “Especially with what we had to deal with.”
The folks with the Meeker Classic know all about bad weather. Last year’s event was interrupted by a microburst that blew through the Sheepdog Trials site. Fortunately, this year organizers and participants didn’t have to deal with anything like that.
“We were due,” said Ellen Nieslanik, director of the Meeker Classic.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the Sheepdog Trials. What a great event. It brings a lot of people to town, both from inside and outside of Colorado as well as from other states and even other countries. There seemed to be such a feeling of camaraderie among the participants, the sponsors and the workers. They obviously have a passion for what they do. Congratulations to Ellen Nieslanik and the host of volunteers who make this event happen.
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Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar had this to say about Phyllis Wigington of Meeker, who attended the recent Democratic National Convention in Denver, at Salazar’s invitation.
“Phyllis Wigington has been a champion for me ever since the day I met her, over 10 years ago,” Salazar said. “But more importantly, she has been a true friend — a friend who I have enjoyed many a conversation with over a slice of cherry pie and a scoop of ice cream at her home in Meeker. I could not be a United States Senator without the support of people like Phyllis.”
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Tom Cassera, the new baseball coach at Colorado Northwestern Community Col-lege, has been working his players hard. Apparently, it is paying off. Cassera said five of the top finishers in the 5K race, which was associated with Septem-berfest, were members of the baseball team.
The ace of his pitching staff, Joel Fernandez, won the 5K.
“I took a little pride in that five of the top six finishers were mine,” Cassera said.
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A team from Meeker — Buddy and Lance Pakuer, Lenny Klinglesmith and Ryan Vroman — took top honors at the second annual ranch rodeo during Septemberfest.
“We just got lucky is all,” Lance Pakuer said, humbly.
Each one of the members of the winning team received a Septemberfest saddle.
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More than 50 bicycle helmets were given away to kids during Septemberfest. The Rangely Police Department inspected bikes, issued licenses and had kids ride through a short safety course in the parking lot at Elks Park.
The bicycle helmets are paid for by donations from local businesses and the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District.
Police Chief Vince Wilczek said bicycle safety and registration has been a part of Septemberfest for years.
“I’ve been doing it every year I’ve been here,” Wilczek said. “And that’s 18 years. So, it’s probably been going on at least 20 or 25 years.”
This was the 34th year for Septemberfest.
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The Chili Cook-Off Contest at Septemberfest was a family affair. Karen Stanley of Rangely and her daughter, Heather Zadra, also of Rangely, both participated.
“My daughter entered, so I thought I would, too,” Stanley said. “It’s a mother-daughter rivalry.”
The Ice Cream Contest was a family affair as well, with Beth Scoggins and son James both participating. Mom took second for her chocolate mint, while James was third for his vanilla marshmallow.
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Nancy Runco of Rocky Ford said her brother, who was driving the Colorado Department of Transportation pickup that was involved in a head-on collision with a semi-truck trailer about two weeks ago on Highway 13, just outside of Meeker, gave this update.
“He sees an orthopedic surgeon (Sept. 3), because of the unusual fractures to his leg,” Runco said. “He’s in pain, but doing well, considering he was in a head-on with a big rig.”
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I recently wrote about stray dogs and what to do if you find one. First, it helps if the dog is wearing a collar. I was entering the back of the Hugus Building a couple of weekends ago, to go up the back way to the newspaper office, and had a friendly dog come up to me in the alley. The dog was wearing a collar, so I called the phone number on the collar and the owners came and picked her up.
Whether you’re in Rangely or Meeker, if you come across a stray dog that doesn’t have a collar, call the police department, and the dog will be picked up and taken to the animal shelter.
Better yet, if a stray dog is in need of a home, the county’s animal shelters can help with that, too.