What do you want Range Call to be?

MEEKER I It has been said that all good things must come to an end, but Range Call committee president Suzan Pelloni is convinced that it’s not time for Meeker’s traditional Fourth of July celebration to go the way of that old saying.
Unfortunately, the 127-year-old event is in need of an infusion of fresh ideas and new blood in the form of volunteers if it is to remain viable.
“The number of people attending has dropped. To put on an event of the magnitude we’ve been attempting to do, we can’t support it right now,” Pelloni said. “We need a larger draw.”
Range Call 2011 resulted in a more than $10,000 loss. Rodeo, the origin of Range Call, no longer draws a big enough crowd to pay the bills. The concerts, which are the largest audience draw, are also the biggest expense, with bands charging tens of thousands, and in the case of the “big-name” performers, up to $300,000 an event. That doesn’t count sound, staging, and lighting. The Range Call committee also covers expenses for the Meeker Pageant, the parade and the barn dances. Other events, like the fireworks display and the downtown events, are paid for by the entities that provide the activities.
“We have limited funds (now), but if we are going to sustain this event we are going to have to do some smart business moves,” Pelloni said. Some of those business moves are already in the works.
“The most promising change this year is the redesign of our website. We’ll be able to offer online ticket sales for the first time ever.” The new website will provide downloadable entry forms for the parade and other activities as well as advertising space.
Another change is the relocation of the concert venue from the fairgrounds to Ute Park. Traffic congestion and the addition of new buildings at the fairgrounds have made it more and more difficult to host the concert there. Using the Ute Park venue will offer increased space and elevated seating. The stage will face China Wall, creating a natural amphitheater. It will also provide space for a “beer garden” and concessions. Parking will be in the upper field, beyond the space David Smith uses for hay.
“We’re also looking to add a motorcycle event at the fairgrounds,” Pelloni said, adding, “The schedule for 2012 is not finalized. If there are other groups that want to be involved, we’re not going to turn them away.”
Since July, Pelloni has been meeting with various community organizations, the county commissioners, and other districts seeking new ideas, volunteer help and financial support.
“We need the community to understand that Range Call needs support from the community. Volunteers are needed and new ideas are welcome. At this point we’re trying to keep it as broad as we can,” Pelloni said. Individuals are encouraged to contact her at 970-623-2900 or via email at suzanpelloni@ yahoo.com to share their thoughts, become event sponsors and volunteer.
“In this small town, people come home for the Fourth for reunions and vacations. I would love for this community to enjoy this event.”
Finding the answer to the question, “What is going to draw in the crowd?” may be the key to Range Call’s survival into the next century.