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The spring of 2020 has brought many changes to our lives and our local communities. Recently the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce said goodbye to their tenacious leader, Executive Director Konnie Billgren, and welcomed incoming Director Richard Smith.
In the same way many past and present residents have come into the community, Matt Billgren was transferred to the Rangely field with Chevron in 2015. His wife Konnie accompanied him. Early on Konnie worked for Urie Trucking/Urie Rock weighing trucks but soon thereafter was shuffled into the Executive Director position for the Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce. Billgren, previously a successful outside saleswoman for an electrical company that sold supplies to the oilfield and sugar cane processing plants, set out to sell the Rangely area to everyone she encountered.
Billgren amped up Chamber Member promotions and rallied for more memberships. Speaking of rally, with help from the locals, she planned the first ROAR (Rangely OHV Adventure Rally) in 2017, turning many residents and outsiders onto the idea of group OHV pleasure riding on the ample public lands around Rangely. Matt and Konnie became our neighbors, friends, and family in short time. Both highly active within the community. It seemed something new was always on Konnie’s “punch list” to bring more people to the Rangely area to enjoy our great outdoors, culture, and area businesses. The go-getter added fun new events such as Rally Colorado races, Colorado Hill Climb Association’s Canyon Pintado Hill Climb, and the Fourth of July Barbecue. Residents looked forward to the Elf on the Shelf, Scarecrow, and window decorating contests, just to name a few. The long-standing Crab Crack event grew year after year and as attendees begin to dress up for each year’s theme the silent auction funds and liquor sales exploded.
“We saw people take it to the next level each year,” Konnie said. Since moving on to Texas, Billgren states she misses the people and the community spirit the most. Best wishes to the Billgrens on their new adventure and thank you for serving the Rangely community.
Konnie Billgren leaves big shoes to fill and the new Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce Director Richard Smith was chosen by the chamber board to do that. Smith has a BA in public administration. He moved to Rangely in April from Mesquite, Nevada, where he was employed by Eureka Casino Resort. Smith brings years of experience as a commissioner and chairman for the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Black Hawk, Colorado. In Black Hawk-Central City he was also a board member of the Sanitation District. Smith is excited to work with the local government, businesses and residents. The Colorado Springs native said he looks forward to bringing his experience and education to the community and to help progress the efforts thorough recovery and future sustainability of the area.
By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times