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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 evolved into a three- or four-day summer festival with world-class entertainment, one of the best fireworks displays in the state, historical reenactments performed by local residents, and, yes, rodeo. Meeker’s Range Call carries the honor of being the longest-running annual rodeo in the state of Colorado.
This year’s festivities began Wednesday night with a free showing of “The Music Man” and continue through Sunday.
Highlights include the Meeker Massacre Pageant (a theatrical reenactment of the Meeker massacre) on Friday, musical groups Gloriana and Last Men On Earth in concert Saturday, a community Independence Day parade on Thursday, followed by a host of downtown amusements including a open air art exhibit, free live music and the dedication of the new Rio Blanco County Veterans Memorial at the Rio Blanco County Courthouse following the parade. The demolition derby on Thursday before the fireworks, the CPRA rodeo on Saturday, and a multitude of other family friendly events add to the fun and frolic, as well as the annual barn dances, on Thursday from 9 p.m. To 1 a.m. and Saturday nights, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The ever-popular Ranch Rodeo – where local ranches have a chance to compete with each other for prize money and coveted belt buckles — will begin Sunday at 11 a.m. and will include the kids events, held during the CPRA rodeo.
New this year: Jump for Jesus, a free motorcycle stunt show, will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds with free admission.
While a wide range of the weekend’s events are free, 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. Kids five and under are free.
Ticket prices do not include the pancake breakfast, 5K walk/run race or root beer floats. 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 online at www.meekerrangecall.com, at the Meeker and Rangely chambers of commerce, at Shepard’s Office Outfitters, Meeker Drugs and Wendll’s Wondrous Things in Meeker and at at Murdoch’s in Craig and Clifton.