It was a heck of a weekend. For one solid weekend, I looked out my windows and saw the sun on Saturday and Sunday. What a joyous time! Think spring is coming?
Nope! Me neither.
But it has been nice to see most of the city streets and that the snow piles up to about 14 feet are down to about 9 or 10 feet and that rivers are no longer flowing through all the town’s gutters.
The most pleasant thing about the weekend was the fact that the Meeker High School wrestling team came through in Denver and claimed the Colorado State 2A Wrestling Championship.
Colorado is not a big state, but those farm and ranch kids in Rocky Ford have been tough for decades in a wide variety of sports.
But for the remarkable head coach, J.C. Watts, his assistant coaches and the 10 wrestlers who went to state for the Cowboys, it was a job well done to defeat the Rocky Ford team by one point and claim that elusive state title.
My wrestling career at Boulder High School lasted one week. It ended with a non-serious injury and the realization that wrestling was going to take too much dedication as well as aches and pains I didn’t really want.
My only fun claim to that short mat career was to say that my coach was Joe Dowler, who was Green Bay Packers receiver Boyd Dowler’s brother, and when Joe had turned out several state and a couple of world champions (some of the top Boulder wrestlers went on to Greco-Roman wrestling and became world champs), Joe left Boulder High and eventually became the very successful head coach at the University of Wyoming. He retired in 1999, also carrying the title of associate athletic director at UW, but not until after I became the only person I know who wrestled for Dowler and covered him as a sports writer in Wyoming.
Joe was tough; wrestling was tough. It took an individual tougher and more dedicated than I was, but I never gave up the respect for those who gave their all on the mat.
The strength, the endurance and the dedication it takes are highly admirable. For 10 young men to take on the challenge and come back victorious is outstanding. And for three of the 10 young men to return to little ole Meeker as individual state champions is staggering.
Meeker has always had an impressive wrestling program. The success goes back for years.
But for the coaches and wrestlers, stand proud, you have done what very few have done in the past, and for T.J. Shelton to have emerged as the first Meeker wrestler in history to walk away with four individual state wrestling titles is, well, historic.
There is no one around here to compare him to, and, be assured, T.J., your family, your school and your town folks are incredibly proud of you.
To become one of only 19 wrestlers in Colorado wrestling history to have reached that benchmark is truly a remarkable feat. Congratulations … and may the good fortune and hard work continue for you on your way to becoming a success at whatever you should decide to do.
In sharp contrast to last year’s event, this year’s “I Ride With James” Snowmobile and Poker Run also went off without a hitch and with a great turnout.
Last year’s event was marred by a lack of snow except for an hour-long windy blizzard during the run.
This year, the sun was out, there was a light breeze, there was plenty of snow and there was a great turnout with trailers lining County Road 8 for more than a half mile down from the staging point at Lost Creek Trailhead.
There were more than 200 riders and a number of other folks who joined the poker run without riding their snowmobiles.
There was an unbelievable variety of food featuring free hot dogs, chili, hamburgers and brisket to die for as well as all kinds of cakes, rolls and cookies and beverages available to those who helped out, took park or those who just stopped by.
It was a fun time for a great purpos—two scholarships at Meeker High School and support for Rio Blanco Search and Rescue.
The grand prize for the poker run was a new 120 Polaris child’s snowmobile and first place won $1,000, second place won $500 and third prize won $250—all in the name of James Sizemore, the son of Kathy and Mike Sizemore.
The event is held annually in memory of James Sizemore, who was killed Feb. 20, 2011, in an avalanche on nearby Sand Peak.
“Our registration building is James’ old school bus that he used to take a bunch of his friends dirt biking,” Kathy Sizemore said. “So, each year since his death on President’s Day weekend in 2011, we have held this memorial in memory of James and his bus.”
This year’s event was a success from the weather, the turnout, the food and the fun times had, not to mention the prizes won.
Mike and Kathy Sizemore—along with some family and friends—have done a great job with this event that I have attended for the last three years, and all must be commended for turning what was a tragedy into such a fun-filled, benefit-based tribute to a young man whose life ended long before his time.
There’s still a lot of talking going on these days about the Republican race for commissioner of Rio Blanco County—that interesting little battle between incumbent Commissioner Jeff Eskelson and former Rio Blanco County Sheriff Si Woodruff.
This is going to be an interesting couple of months that should continue to be so until the Republicans have their primary, later toward the fall.
The interesting question is, why is Si Woodruff running against a fellow Republican for a seat in which Eskelson would likely badly defeat any opponent—except for a Si Woodruff?
Here’s to hoping that both candidates make it onto the ballot so the voters have a fair shot at electing who is most qualified, but even more important might be for the Republicans to hold a debate between the two gentlemen in the next couple of weeks before the Republican County Assembly, set for March 12 in Rangely.
There were large numbers of people who took advantage of the tours on Friday and Saturday at the new Rio Blanco County Justice Center.
I caught Saturday’s last tour, which was a two-hour in-detail tour led by Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola.
Needless to say, we saw pretty much everything while the sheriff answered questions and told us little tidbits about the building that I don’t suppose every person taking the tour was made aware of.
Speaking to the inside of the courthouse, it is gorgeous, using a combination of materials from concrete to beautiful oak. The colors are very attractive and appropriate. The courtrooms are models of what courtrooms should be and it certainly appears that the aesthetics of the interior match the intent of the area—from the neutrality of the courtrooms, the subdued colors of the detention areas, the well-designed control room for the jail entry area as well as the pleasant and comfortable dispatch center.
Rio Blanco County should be proud of the facility’s interior. It is a classy building that certainly will serve the needs of Rio Blanco County and its court system for years to come.