From My Window… Fishing Day, Fish Fry fun work, unite communities

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
It was a fun weekend to be working. Can’t always say that, but covering the Meeker Kids’ Fishing Day on Saturday morning and traveling upriver to attend the Buford School benefit fish fry on Saturday afternoon reminded me of what is fun about covering local events for a small publication.

I was worried that the White River was too high to allow for any fishing success on Meeker Kids’ Fishing Day, not realizing that Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocks the back irrigation ditch, which works like a small lake, with 125 trout for the kids to catch.
Turnout wasn’t huge, but a good number of kids along with their moms, dads and siblings showed up to take part in the event, and it was good to see the parents (and CPW officers) helping to teach the kids how to bait their own hooks, how to cast and how to catch the fish.
It was interesting to watch as the kids from about 5 years up to about 10 or 12, would cast their bobbers and worms into the pool. It was also obvious that most had not been taught the concept of patience.
Most of the kids were reeling their hooks/bait back in every two to three minutes, barely enough time for the fish to find the bait.
The bites were numerous; the trout that were caught were not numerous.
Casts that didn’t quite make the water, ones that were thrown hard enough to tangle in the bushes on the other side of the pond, ones that saw the worms fly off the hook en route to the water, ones that got caught up on someone’s shirt or pants and massive tangles in line were more commonplace than not.
However, as anyone who has ever fished knows, fishing may not be too tough to learn, but there is definitely some learning that needs to be done — regarding the act of fishing as well as the art of catching.
I am a true believer of the adage, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day working,” and several youth locally as well as some parents discovered the old adage bears some truth.
With the Meeker Lions Club serving hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, pasta salad, chips and water or lemonade, combined with the quite nice weather between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., one could easily judge Meeker Kids’ Fishing Day a complete success, particularly the one young angler who caught four fish, ranging in length from about eight inches to about 13 inches.
Thanks, CPW and Meeker Lions Club.
It was a fun day for the kids, the parents and one adult journalist who just played spectator.

Not being a stranger to County Road 8 and the Lake Avery/Sleepy Cat area along CR 8, the short drive up County Road 17 to the old, beautiful Buford School was an introduction to even more beautiful scenery in the mountains east of Meeker.
The fish fry was slated to run from 4 to 6 p.m., so we rolled up to the school house about 3:50 p.m. and the place was already packed. People were already eating inside the school, and by about 4 p.m., the school was packed and people were spreading out to the tables and chairs outside, not bothered at all by what had been dark black clouds and an ominous sky about 30 minutes earlier.
Having provided food for about 125 people last year, roughly 250 folks had been fed by 5 p.m. this past Saturday, and many of the salads and desserts furnished by members of the hosting White River Community Association were gone.
Those who showed up after 5 p.m., had limited choices for their side salads and desserts, but there was still plenty of both to go around, and the fish held out in fine fashion.
Neither my wife or I, natives of Colorado and Wyoming, respectfully, had ever crossed paths with white fish before, so the main entree of the day was a most-pleasant surprise.
Looking at one alive and looking at one on your plate — neither one really reminds the uneducated consumer that it is in the trout family. It looks a bit like a sucker and tastes like many saltwater fish or smaller freshwater fish like crappie or sun fish. It is firm, which makes it easier to eat, and with a touch of lemon made for a great meal.
Speaking of a great meal, not only did the fish fryers do a great job with the fish, but the side dishes, salads and desserts were awesome. I had one or two favorites among the side dishes (potatoes) and desserts, particularly, but I dare not say which ones. However, I can guarantee there were no lousy offerings there, showing once again that the womenfolk around here do know how to cook.

I have lived in Rio Blanco County now for 16 months and I don’t get tired of the scenery in the county even though I spent time in this county as a child then spent many years living in and enjoying the mountains in Colorado and Wyoming.
It is easy to take that scenery for granted because it is what we see each day.
But we just had some friends from Arizona who came this way after making the swing through Reno, Nev., for the national bowling tournament that is held there each year.
They were speechless as we drove around Rio Blanco County last weekend. They couldn’t believe how green it is, how much water is still in the rivers, the politeness and courtesy of the people they met at Meekerpalooza and that Meeker had as many eating places as it does.
The three days they were here, they couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful a place this is and that they would likely be back against next year — if not again this year.
The last words Will said to me as he hopped into his Mercedes van, heading back to Arizona were, “You know, we might make it back later this summer and stay a little longer. This looks like a great place to go fishing.”
I assured him it was, and I, being a bit of a gambling man (that comes from living about 20 miles from the Nevada border), might place a small wager that Meeker will see Will and Shirley again before the snow falls.

Looking for people who are looking for something to do in the evenings for the next couple of weeks, there is always the Range Call Pageant, which recreates the Meeker Massacre and the humble beginnings of the Meeker area.
Director Hallie Blunt said that the more people there are taking part, the better the pageant is. She is right. There are lots of roles available for the recreation, which will be held at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds in Meeker on July 3.
Rehearsals will be held the next couple of Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds arena, and Blunt said veterans of the pageant as well as newcomers to the pageant are most welcome and encouraged to take part.

The new summer concert series in Meeker gets under way this Friday evening on the county courthouse lawn.
Felix y Los Gatos (Felix and the Cats) will begin playing at 6 p.m., so bring your chairs and enjoy the free music.