MEEKER I For 131 years, the Fourth of July has been a big deal in Meeker and Rio Blanco County. This year is no exception as the 131st annual Meeker Range Call gets underway on Friday and continues with all kinds of activities—inside and out—through the culmination with fireworks at dusk on Monday, the Fourth.
Activities this year begin at dusk on Friday with the highly acclaimed Meeker Massacre Pageant at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds. This event is a well-produced recreation of events that led up to the Meeker Massacre involving the Ute Indians as the West was finally becoming settled.
The presentation is put on annually by local volunteers that can run as high as 100 persons and is well produced and staged for the audience to get a clear view of the happenings that left an indelible mark on this part of the country.
Activities resume early on Saturday and continue all day until a series of two concerts and a barn dance end the day’s fun.
Starting at 9 a.m. is the Co-ed Softball Open Invitational Tournament at the Paintbrush Park ballfields.
At 10 a.m. is a concert at the downtown plaza, located at Fifth and Main streets. There will be vendors, a zipline and kids’ activities.
Also at 10 a.m. and running to 5 p.m. is the Plein Air Art Auction and display of works created in the past two weeks by artists from all over Colorado and nearby states. The event is at the Meeker Public Library.
At 1 p.m. is fun for the entire family. The downtown plaza is the venue for the annual “Meeker’s Got Talent” show and a hypnotist show.
At 3 p.m., the action moves to the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds.
The old West will come alive at 3 p.m. with the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo, meeting the expectations of any seasoned rodeo fan.
At 5 p.m. the gates open for the concerts, starting with Ned LeDoux and followed by Blackhawk. LeDoux, the son of the late country western star Chris LeDoux, is expected to start playing at 7 p.m. with Blackhawk taking over the stage at 8:30 p.m. These concerts will take place on the lawn outside the 4-H building, and fans are asked to bring lawn chairs and blankets to make the viewing more enjoyable.
After Blackhawk finishes its concert, Lever Action will be the headline band for the barn dance, which will be held at the indoor arena at the fairgrounds, running until roughly midnight.
Sunday’s events are a little more scattered but still all within a couple miles of Meeker.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Meeker Public Library will be the continuation of the Plein Air Art Auction.
At 10 a.m. is the Jon Wangnild Memorial Shoot to be held at the Meeker Sportsman’s Club shooting range, which is located just south of town about three miles past the intersection of highways 13 to Rifle and 64 to Rangely. The public is invited to visit and shoot bows, shotguns, .22 pistols and maybe a .357 magnum handgun.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is on hand to offer instruction and safety and to help members of the Meeker Sportsman’s Club run the event, which is being held in memorial of the late Jon Wagnild, a member of the CPW who was killed in a horseback riding accident in 2013.
Also at 10 a.m. and running until 7 p.m. are more fun activities for the kids in the downtown plaza. There will be vendors, inflatables, a zipline and other kids’ activities.
At 4 p.m. on Sunday, the action moves back to the county fairgrounds with the hypnotist being the main attraction. That will run through 5:30 p.m.
The Colorado Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo will fire up again at 6 p.m. in the fairgrounds area.
Activities for the day will wind up beginning at 9 p.m. with Lever Action playing another barn dance to be held inside the Fairgrounds Indoor Arena.
Monday the Fourth also starts early for the morning risers and continues until after dusk, when fireworks will be shot off.
From 7 to 10 a.m., the Meeker Masonic Lodge will offer a free pancake breakfast in the downtown plaza, at Fifth and Main streets.
Next, the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District will begin its activities with the start of the “Run for Your Life 5K” for runners. The running race is slated to begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration from 6 to 7 a.m. for those in the running and walking events.
The start for those who will be walking the “Walk for Your Life 5K” for walkers is 8 a.m., with registration being held from 6 to 7 p.m. Both starting lines will be from the downtown plaza on Main Street.
Daytime activities for kids will resume at 10 a.m. and run to 7 p.m. with the vendors, inflatables, zipline and other kids’ activities.
The morning activities will be highlighted by the annual Range Call/Fourth of July parade, which begins pretty sharply at 10 a.m. The parade route starts at Eighth and Main streets and travels down Main to Fourth Street.
At 10:30, in the Downtown Plaza Pavilion will be a free concert by “Desert Moon,” continuing until 2:30 p.m.
11 a.m., Faith Baptist Church will hold is annual barbecue. That will also be held in the downtown plaza.
From 11:30 to 3:30 p.m., the Plein Air Art Auction will continue at the Meeker Public Library, also located at the intersection 5th and Main Sts.
At 11:45 a.m. is the ERBM Park and Recreation District’s favorite event with its Main Street Madness 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. Teams can register prior to the event or they can register on Monday in the ERBM vendor tent from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Vendors, games and downtown activities will run early on Sunday afternoon until 1 p.m., when a crowd will gather at the intersection of Sixth and Main streets for the reenactment of the unsuccessful Meeker Bank Robbery presented by the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and other notable residents.
At 2 p.m. action for the rest of the afternoon will return to the county fairgrounds, beginning with the calcutta followed by the Ranch Rodeo, which is always a fun time featuring rough and tumble young kids from miles around.
A number of great spectator events will be a part of the Ranch Rodeo, which begins at 3 p.m., and kids’ events will also be taking place during the Ranch Rodeo.
The four days of entertainment wrap up just after dusk with Meeker Search and Rescue setting off fireworks from Highland Cemetery. The best vantage point is to bring blankets and chairs to Meeker Town Park or Meeker Circle Park.
For details on various events, download the complete Range Call section here: http://www.theheraldtimes.com/pdf-copy/