From My Window: Fun fair ends; children’s names take new look; how to back Colowyo

Sean McMahon, Editor
Sean McMahon, Editor
The sun was out, the temperatures were warm, and during the Rio Blanco County Fair my tired feet and note-taking hands could see pretty clearly outside the window to all corners of Rio Blanco Fair.

It is over. That is a good thing.
It was the smoothest-running fair I have ever been to. That is a good thing.
And this year it was more fun to watch and take notes on. That is also a good thing.
A lot of people get credit for that because if any one thing goes wrong, it can make for a mess, which is not a good thing and which makes for some unhappy and frustrated folks.
Other than some folks who weren’t overly thrilled with the judging—and you are going to have that at any event that comes to human judging—I didn’t hear a single complaint nor did I see or perceive of any problems.
But truly special thanks go to Ed Coryell for all of his help in the 4-H show barn helping track down results. He is truly a gem; and only about 10 days ago he had back surgery.
He is a good man, a dedicated man, a genuine sweetheart when it comes to being with his grand (maybe great-grand) children and all the generations there are in the Coryell group, who can often be seen having meals all over town in Meeker.
The other two saviors of the weekend are always Bill and Kim Ekstrom. Sure, putting on the fair is a good part of Bill’s job, and yes, Kim is “helping out,” but she is his wife, and no matter how busy or nuts things are at any given time, Bill and Kim can easily be found and they are an invaluable aid to covering the fair and all things 4-H.
There are numerous other volunteers working their rear ends off at the fair, and a real special thanks goes out to each of them. The fair simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
Thanks, you three, from the bottom of my heart!

Covering the livestock events presents a few brief lulls in the action, but they don’t last very long when you are the livestock announcer.
As such, Ed Coryell is very good at what he does and he is a fascinating man to speak with, and I had a lot of time to do that during the livestock events. We both had to laugh about some of the names of the kids in the competitions as common names today have become so different than they were when we were growing up.
Ed and I started discussing the issue, and Ed said, “What ever happened to the Johns, Toms, Bobs, Pauls, Williams and Mikes that we all grew up with?”
A darned good question.
But not only are the names different, the spellings could drive you crazy.
I am going to point a few names out because they belong to the participants at the fair, but they should not be considered to being made fun of.
I like the diversity. When I was growing up, starting in the 1950s, no one knew how to pronounce my name and not many had even heard the name Sean before.
I was in junior high or later before I would be called the correct name and pronunciation most of the time.
A little inside truth here. I am the oldest S-E-A-N I have ever met. The person whose name became common that brought awareness to the name was Sean Connery—James Bond. The interesting thing here is that when he made his first movie, which was “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” about the leprechauns in Ireland, he went by his birth name, which was Tommy Connery.
I was regularly called “See-an,” “Seen,” “Shane,” and a variety of others. I actually grew up enjoying the fact that I had a unique name—a fine Irish name. Truth be known, the true Irish name Sean is spelled in Ireland/Gaelic as: S, E, A, foddah, N. The foddah is a straight line above the A. And in Gaelic, the “SE” at the beginning is pronounced “SH.”
I know! Enough about me; just understand I like and chuckle just a bit at unique names and spellings. But there are an incredible number of unique names with unique spellings among the livestock participants at the fair, and I don’t think many of them have anything to do with country of origin.
And for the girls? What happened to the girls’ names like Mary, Cathy, Susan, Patty, Diane and Christine? They are now the rare and unique names associated with girls in their teens and younger.
Let’s take a look at some of the names and spelling right out of the fair book for some of the boys in the various competitions. (I must point out that I will likely be mixing the names because I don’t know every person and I am not always correct on whether the names are male or female. I’m trying):
Boys (I think):
Peyton (perhaps after Manning?), Braxton, Cutler, Kaden, Hayden, Ivan, Corbin, Dillon, Wyatt, Rylee, Trae, Cash, Chance, Clay, Raiden, Cade, Kelton, Damien, Jaxon, Spencer, Kasey, Connor (first time I heard this Irish name was in a Leon Uris novel about the years of strife with England), Hadley and Urie.
I find these names to be great “character builders,” as my father would say. They are unique in origin or spelling, and they draw attention to the names. That can’t be all bad.
Now we come to the girls’ names, which, again, are unique, in either origin or spelling, but not common in any sense. And that is a good thing … I think.
For the girls: Alanna, Jazzmyn, Lila, Kolbi, Marryn, Destinee, Tatumn, Kadence, Abigayle, Kaylalle, Caeleigh, Madison, Zoey, Cia, Kacie, Raelynn, Kassidee, Neveah, Teijah, Tristan (my bet this name came from veterinarian Dr. James Harriott’s book “All Creatures Great and Small,” which surfaced in the ’70s or ’80s), Aimiee, Gabriel, Kadence, Sierra, Melayni, Teagan, Mollee and Joie.
And again now, there are names right off the Rio Blanco Fair Show Schedule for which I have no clue whether they are male or female names. A couple of examples are Kinzy, Pake, Kaden, Dayton, Kastyn, Dawson, Raiden, Phalon, Kasen, Teijah, Kasey, Kenzie, Urie (maybe named after Urie Geller, the scientist) and Melayni.
Remember now, these are all the names of teenagers and younger who entered various events at the Rio Blanco Fair last weekend
You were right to ask, Ed. “Whatever happened to the Johns, Toms, Roberts, Williams and Mikes that we all grew up with?” The same can be said for the few, but familiar girls’ names.
If you are one of those named above, take your unique name and embrace it. Be proud of it. Know that the uniqueness of that name will likely make you more unique as an individual and may even help define you as an adult.
You are special.

There is something that everyone in Rio Blanco County can do—and very easily—in support of our economy and that of Moffat County.
The federal Office of Surface Mining has been charged with doing the research and footwork in support of keeping the Colowyo Coal Mine open and in operational condition, keeping 200 area (including Rio Blanco County residents) employed and continuing to harvest $200 million in tax income returning to the area.
Your public comments are a necessity outlined by the OSM in regard to the mine’s possible closing.
The OSM has released its draft Environmental Assessment, and the public is requested to comment on the EA on the importance of the mine to Northwestern Colorado. It is also vital that the Office of Surface Mining hear from the community before the public comment period closes on Aug. 14.
It is easy to comment, the site has all the ability to help you write, then submit your comments. Simply go to
This website allows for the electronic submission of comments directly to the Office of Surface Mining.
It is important to act now to show your support for the Colowyo Mine, its 200 employees and their families, and the $200 million in economic activity that the mine brings to the region.