MEEKER I This year will be the 104th Annual Rio Blanco County “Old Timer’s Reunion.” It will be held June 4 at Meeker’s Fairfield Center with afternoon activities of registration, visiting and recording of oral history from 3 to 5:30 p.m., a social time starting at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. with the annual dance following dinner.
In today’s world, consumed by social media, constant change and “progress,” it is hard to find anything that lasts longer than a thought.
The current Old Timer’s Reunion Presidents Mike and Mary Grady asked the question, “Why has this event lasted so long?” It is certainly a question worth considering, as the longevity of this celebration far exceeds those of so many other communities, counties and even state celebrations.
Perhaps the answer lies in the leadership of previous presidents or the overall willingness of community members to gather together to remember and celebrate their history.
In looking at previous presidents, it is interesting to see the multi-generational support of the event as well as the siblings or cousins doing their part.
One-three generation family to serve was the Parr family as Delos Parr was president in 1975, Dean and Artie Parr served as presidents in 2002 and Rich and Carol Parr took over in 2011.
Another name frequently listed as president is the Amick name, beginning in 1929 with Edwin Amick, in 1935 it was James D. Amick, 1968 brought Arthur Amick, Preston Amick was president in 1971 and Robert Amick and Sandra Bradfield in 2014 rounded out the history of service.
Last year’s presidents, Sparky Pappas and Mary K. Krueger, each had family serve before them, with Krueger’s father, Martin Villa, serving as president in 1982 and Pappas had to go back to her great-grandfather Frank E. Sheridan, who was the president for the first two “Old Timers” in 1912 and 1913.
The only other president to serve twice was Rueben Oldland in 1920 and 1922.
There are countless other multi-generational families that served, including a large majority of the presidential list in general. This may be the key to the success of this event, families carrying on tradition.
It seems that previous generations simply made tradition important and ensuring their kids learned their family history became imperative.
This is one gathering that offers a chance for classes to have their reunion, family and friends to gather and neighbors to remember when times were simpler and people just sat and talked.
The only way to keep this phenomenal tradition going is to attend.
Local rancher and “historian of sorts” Herald Anderson recently told Mike Grady, “All the old timers have died it is just us young guys left to carry this on.”
It truly is important to get involved in order to preserve history.
Graduates of Meeker and Rangely high schools from 2003 and before are all eligible, as are their guests or people who have lived in the county for 30 years or more.
Truly the idea is to welcome everyone and promote young members to take part in an event that has been a symbol of community pride for more than a century. This is a chance to keep something special going for the next generation of “Old Timers.”
If you have questions or would like to get on the mailing list, please call Haley Kracht at 878-4607 or Connie Theos at 878-5369.
This year’s theme is “Agriculture” and the work done by Mike and Mary Grady is going to make an enjoyable and informative meeting.