Rain fails to dampen celebratory spirits in county events

It was a big weekend on both ends of the county.
Meeker celebrated the 125th anniversary of Range Call, making this year’s event even bigger than usual. While Rangely celebrated the Fourth of July holiday with kids’ activities in Elks Park and fireworks at Kenney Reservoir.
The weather cooperated until Sunday afternoon, when it started to rain, cutting short some events like the dunk tank and threatening to cancel the Meeker Massacre Pageant at the fairgrounds and the fireworks shows.
“Whew, it’s all over,” said Ryan Stewart, who directed the pageant for the last time. “I think the 125th was a success overall. Sunday’s weather was pretty horrible. We came pretty close to canceling the pageant, which I don’t think has ever been done before. We were concerned about safety and whether or not any parents would send their kids up to participate. We also wondered if anyone would show up to watch. I’m glad we decided to go ahead with it.
“Everyone keeps telling me it was a great pageant. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but that’s OK. We cut some of the stuff we’d worked at adding in this year. The pre-pageant show suffered greatly. Fortunately, two of the performers were able to have abbreviated performances before the pageant. Setup was delayed until after 5 and we took clear until 9 p.m. We had three inches of mud in the arena, wet backdrops, muddy costumes. I spent the night in a wet, dirty T-shirt and irrigation boots. It was kind of a wild night, but the show must go on,” Stewart said.
The weather was also a factor with the Meeker fireworks show, which was doubled in size for the 125th celebration.
“It was a great show. We had a small show at the pageant, which was good,” said fireworks organizer Todd Morris. “The rain was not real friendly to us. We were tied in and covered up, but it rained so hard that it soaked through our tarps. We only lost a few due to the fuses getting wet. People were upset because of the show starting late. We had no choice due to the way the Fourth fell on the weekend and with the concert and rodeos. Next year we’ll be back to the fireworks at dusk. I have heard people really liked the show, but it was too late and their kids couldn’t enjoy it. I agree with that also.
“We had a huge mess on the cemetery, but the local 4-H Sheep Club came and helped clean up. I can’t thank them enough. They were a huge help. And my crew was outstanding: Butch Smith, Clifford Smith, Jim Riegel, Drew Riegel, Fain, James and Seth Richardson, Trey Morris, Alex Freeman, Bobbie Castaldo, R.D. Clare and Brett Carroll.
“Also, thanks to the Meeker Fire and Rescue volunteers for wetting down the hill before the rain, and for helping with the show itself, for lighting and support with the fire trucks and ambulance. We are lucky to have such a good crew there. They had several (firefighters) out on fires all weekend, but made time to help us out,” Morris said.
Congratulations to the all of event organizers and thanks to the many volunteers who make these community events happen.
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Jeff Rector of Rangely is recuperating from a recent rock crawling accident.
“Jeff is on the mend; however, he was pretty well broken up,” said his mother, Peggy Rector. “He will be dealing with some issues for a while. The vehicle landed on him since he did not have his seat belt on. Thank goodness the little guy with him was belted up and didn’t not have a scratch on him.
“Jeff’s injuries included broken bones in his face below his eyes, sinuses shoved up into his skull, broken collarbone, broken shoulder blade, broken shoulder, three cracked bones in his neck and four in his lower back, besides the head injury. He truly looks good for all that has happened. He is still dealing with some swelling from the head injury. So we won’t know from that for a while what issues he will need to address. Right now he is having some trouble with one eye and also hearing in one ear. He says he has a constant headache … Anyway, he is up and in a neck brace and arm sling. He is supposed to take it easy, but that is hard for him. We are concerned he is trying to do too much. He lets you know that he heals fast. However, dealing with a head injury is different from any other injury one might have. I can attest to that from personal experience.”
Peggy’s husband, Carl, who underwent surgery recently, returned home the day of Jeff’s accident.
“Got Carl out of the hospital on the 24th of June and back home by 2:30 that afternoon,” Peggy said. “Then 11 that evening there was a knock on the door and they said were life flighting Jeff out to Grand Junction. So away we went.
“We are all glad to be home and so very thankful that Jeff is doing really well in light of the injuries.”
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My apologies to Jean Gianinetti for giving her the incorrect title in a story in last week’s paper. Jean is the activities director, not the director, of the Walbridge Wing long-term care facility in Meeker.
In typical fashion, Jean took the mistake in stride.
“Hey, thanks for the promotion,” Jean said. “I fired my boss and gave myself a raise. I really am only a peon here at the Wing, not the director. No worries, I really enjoyed the position for the day.”
By the way, Kristen Eskelson is the manager of the Walbridge Wing, and Ken Huey is the Walbridge Wing administrator.
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Another correction: Johnny Wix received a high school diploma, but not from Meeker High School, according to his attorney.
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Readers responded to the story in last week’s paper about Mike Ehredt’s Project America Run, where he’s running from coast to coast and placing a flag at every mile marker as a tribute to soldiers who have died in the Iraq War.
Here’s a sampling …
“It was an honor to meet Mike and hear his stories. He is so humble and does not draw attention to himself, but rather insists this is just simple act he chooses to do in memory of all those who have died in Iraq.”
“We had the privilege of putting together a gift bag from the chamber and delivering it to his room. Also, the police department presented Mike and (his girlfriend) Peggy a voucher for dinner at Ma Famiglia, which they appreciated. I believe they enjoyed Meeker hospitality.”
“While driving to Meeker I kept seeing these flags. So I stopped, got out of my truck to see what they were. Once I was able to wipe the tears out of my eyes, and get collected I went on in to Meeker. Thank-you doesn’t seem to say enough.”
“What an amazing man on an amazing journey. May God bless his efforts and his life.”
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Last week’s letters to the editor about the Meeker School Board terminating the contract of Doug Pfau, who had been superintendent, also elicited a reaction.
“Worthy letters to the editor in (last week’s) paper regarding the (superintendent) story. Keep rocking the boat, ladies,” wrote one reader.
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Best wishes to Angie Arnold, who has taken over Meeker Video from Jo Ann Ruckman.
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The town of Rangely was scheduled to launch its new website Tuesday.
“We have a server issue that must be resolved and could delay our launch,” said Peter Brixius, town manager.
Once the website is up and running, you can check it out at www.rangely.com.
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There will be a public review of the final version of the county’s master plan on Aug. 19, instead of Aug. 5, as originally scheduled.
“Since the previously scheduled meeting fell during fair week, we decided to change it,” said Michelle Burke of the county’s planning department.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the county’s administration building in Meeker and will be available in Rangely by video conference at the county annex building.
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I set the alarm even earlier than usual on Thursdays, which is the day when we insert the paper. When I got up last Thursday, I felt a sharp pain in, well, my butt. My left butt cheek, to be exact.
I first noticed a pain in my lower back about two weeks ago, but didn’t think much about it. The back pain was uncomfortable at times, but it didn’t keep me from doing my usual activities.
This time was different.
The pinching pain in my butt extended down my left leg.
With all of the inserts that ran inside last week’s paper, I knew I would be doing more-than-the-usual amount of lifting, so I took a pain pill a friend had given me.
The pill helped me get through the day. But on Friday, the pain was even worse, so I decided to see the doctor. She thought it was a sciatic nerve problem. So, the doctor prescribed both a muscle relaxer and a pain pill. And thank goodness she did. Without the medication, there’s no way I would have made it through the weekend, with all of the activities going on.
The muscle relaxer makes me feel pretty dopey. The first day I was on the medication I called our owner/publisher Mitch Bettis and said, “Do we have a drug policy?”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I’ve been high all day,” I told him.
The medication also makes me so drowsy, if I closed my eyes I would fall asleep at my desk. But at least I can function with having that shooting pain up and down my leg.
People have always told me I’m a pain the butt. Now I know what that feels like.

Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at jeff@theheraldtimes.com.