It turned out to be a beautiful weekend this year for the annual Septemberfest activities and fun was had by all who attended and participated. I can’t begin to thank enough, all of the volunteers and the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District Staff who are now seasoned veterans in conducting this event as well as the time spent doing the wonderful community event! Septemberfest is 36-years-old this year and has changed some over that time period. One thing that stays true about this event in this writer’s eye is the smiles of all the people who come to this remote town to enjoy this three day event and the staple of this event. This event is to recognize the working men and women not only in this region, but in this country. It takes many hours by its volunteers and staff to get to that point and, sacrifice of family time to do so in order to provide the meal on Labor Day. This year’s Septemberfest started out on Saturday, Sept. 3 with the Fast, Flat and Free 5K at 8 a.m. that had 45 participants as well as the Blue Mountain 1/2 Marathon which started at 6 a.m. and we had 15 participants. New event this year was the Rangely Wagon Wheel UTV annual ride headed up by Jeff Rector and Brad Casto of Rangely, with help from Bud Ridings, Ali Ridings, Rebecca and Brian Rector and several others who helped. They had 25 vehicles with approximately 60 participants enjoy the beautiful scenic desert trails that the western part of Rio Blanco County has to offer. The Bike Rally started at 9 a.m. and was held at the Striegel Automotive Museum parking lot and the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District is a proud sponsor of this event by donating the free helmets fitted and given to each of the participants that attend each year. Meet the Tank went from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Next on the schedule was the “Day in the Park” sponsored by the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District. The inflatables were set up and 1,500 water balloons as well as several squirt guns were filled with water for this activity. This writer believes that there may have been a conspiracy or possibly some planning done by some of the local youth as I may have been hit by 200 to 300 water balloons during this phase of the activity? One might tend to believe if this writer would not have driven around town during the summer time with fully loaded squirt guns and possibly shooting unsuspecting kids and people with them that just maybe it is self-inflicted? Either way, kids and adults alike had a smile on their faces as well as laughter! Next, the bench press contest started in Elks Park under the main pavilion and had several participants. To end the day was the seventh annual Rock ‘N Bull presented by the Colorado Northwestern Community College rodeo team and their leader Jed Moore. This event never ceases to amaze me by all the folks who attend and what takes place! Being a Midwestern guy we never rode the cows we milked them. So I’m still trying to figure this one out but I truly love watching this event and would like to thank CNCC and the rodeo team for putting on this awesome event! Sunday, Sept. 4 started out with the Rangely Wagon Wheel UTV ride once again headed up by Rector and Casto with participants headed south out of town toward the only BLM-recognized rock crawling park in the state of Colorado at 9 a.m. The Ice Cream Social started at 1 p.m. with the tasty treat being served to all who attended. Participants also were treated to music by Jarod Fiscus of Fiscus & Gravy which was made possible by a donation from the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District. The Chili Cook Off Contest started at 3 p.m. in Elks Park with 15 entries in the contest: eight red chili and seven green chili. Best overall chili and green chili was awarded to Derry Banta with the best red chili going to Kevin Eyl and the people’s choice went to Kellen Kuck (Kane Kuck son of Kellen was given credit for the win) who stated that he drove all the way from Fort Collins, Colo., to enter his green chili to beat Tim Webber in this contest (Tim didn’t enter due to time constraints). Next on the schedule were several activities, “Muddy Dip ‘N Dash” and “Mud Tug of War” and I think that these titles pretty much sum up what happened to all of the participants. One quote by a total stranger to this writer was “at least it’s free here, because in Europe they pay big money for this type of mud bath!” Meet the Tank had their doors open from 7-9 p.m. and there was a movie and dinner provided by the Rangely Christian Church and New Creation Church at Elks Park to end the day. Labor Day is finally here and the day starts out with the Rangely Rural Fire Protection District hosting a Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast at the Fire Station. These outstanding individuals who serve our community and area are truly amazing people and never cease to stop serving this community; thank you for all that you do. Next the parade started at 9 a.m. from the Fire Hall. To their surprise, Jerry LeBleu with his wife Danielle were the grand marshals of this year’s parade. Jerry and Danielle, with their friends, have been organizing and running the car show at Septemberfest for 20 years; thank you so much for all of your hard work in this event from your personal touch as well as from your Professional Touch. The craft fair had 75 booths, and the car show had 99 entries. This started at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The barbecue in the park is the staple to this weekend and barbecue is used loosely here. Planning for this meal starts right when the event is over with calculating how many for next year. It starts with ordering close to 60 pounds of seasoning for 600-plus pounds of beef (in years past we have seasoned close to 1200 pounds of beef). A big thank you goes out to Bud Striegel and the Striegel family for donating the amount of firewood needed to cook the beef. The Rangely District Hospital donates the macaroni salad and the potato salad, and Giovanni’s donates the baked beans as well as the pickles (thank you John and Sandy Payne). The bottled water is donated by the Rangely True Value Hardware store (thank you Roger and Debbie Polley). The brownies, cookies, potato chips, beef, hamburger buns, etc. are donated by the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District. A thank you must also be given to Jeff LeBleu, Don Reed, Cody Reed, Mike Miller and Mike Dillon from the local Elks Club 1907 BPOE. They start the fire in the pit at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and tend this fire until 11 p.m. that evening until the cookers arrive with the beef that is placed in the fire pit at the Elks Trap Club. Thank you to Nichols store for donating the use of your store, trucks and equipment to make this event possible. Without you we would not be able to do this event! Thank you to the Rangely Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and assistance from the CNCC men’s basketball team as well as the CNCC men’s baseball team. Approximately 850 meals with 75 meals being delivered to the Rangely District Hospital, Eagle Crest, and White River Village were served on Labor Day. It is truly a remarkable view from this writer’s eyes on how this all comes together! A special thank you goes out to Jeff, Rebecca and Brian Rector, Eddie Stewart of Stewart Welding, Camilla Kennedy, Kirstin Cushman, Bethany Green, Natalie Kurrasch, Richard Brannan, Darby Gollaher, Linda Gordon, and the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District board and staff need to be recognized because they never stop serving this community! These folks not only give of their time but they also have their friends help. Ali Ridings of Meeker and Scott Ellis of Rangely, you two were newcomers to this event (Ali second year), but your service to this event and to the community as well as others is impeccable and appreciated! For 2017 we will be looking for additional help in hosting this event! If you would like to help out in any facet it would be much appreciated! Thank you all for attending and supporting this very important community event!
Timothy J. Webber
Executive Director, Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District