Bunkhouse Bull Session raises funds for Routt County 4-H
With the smell of grilling beef and laughter in the air, the 2009 Bunkhouse Bull Session was under way. The members of the Routt County Fair Board started this as a fundraiser intended for the Fairground Facilities Projects and to help the 4-H members. The ambitious program has several parts, including an art show, kiddie corral, steak dinner, entertainment and a scholarship program.
The art show came to be after an application for a Colorado Council of the Arts grant was approved. With cowboy poetry being considered a folk art, the board thought a visual art show would complement the event, so invitations were sent out to local leathermen, sculptors, painters and even quilters. The art show seemed to be a real hit. Routt County really does have a lot of talented people.
The kiddie corral was held at the elementary school, hosted by the 4-H exchange students to keep the younger guests entertained and give their parents a worry free night on the town. Susan Merril volunteered her services as Lasso the Cowgirl, to help entertain the children. The children were also provided dinner and games to kill the time. Special thanks to the Yeager family for donating their bus to shuttle the children around.
The steak dinner was made possible by the generous donations from Coyote Creek Ranch, River Ranches and the Hayden Mercantile. Sam Barnes and Todd Dunckley grilled the New York strips to perfection, while Jody Babcock stirred up a big pot of vaquero beans to complement the steaks and the Fair Board members and 4-H parents handled the rest. Along with the steaks and beans salad, baked potatoes and dessert were provided. The desserts were donated by the 4-H clubs.
Our entertainers came from all over the region. The host of the show was John Fisher – one half of the Yampa Valley Boys, playing his guitar and banjo, keeping the momentum of the show on pace. Chuck Larsen, Tom Munn and Fred Ellis were the scheduled performers with Tom Sharpe filling in for Tim Nolting, who was snowed in on the Front Range. With poems and stories of ranching, roping, bears chasing cattle and outlaws, with an occasional mention of some backyard bourbon, our guests kept smiling into the intermission.
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During the intermission the 4-H scholarship students took the stage to recite their poems and short stories in hopes of receiving a scholarship. The rules were simple: Write and perform their own work in front of our guests and judges. Kim Rossi and Catherine Koroulis both received a $500 scholarship.
As the shows end drew closer, Susan Merril made her way back to the main stage from the Kiddie Corral to perform her poems.
As the show closed, people were milling around the art show, buying tapes, CDs and books of the entertainers, door prizes were handed out and the extra steaks were auctioned off. Several people were asked what they thought of the show and one loving bride said she hadn’t seen her husband smile like that in years. Don Hayes received many calls this winter asking if we were going to do it again and the answer is yes. With overwhelming support and encouragement from the entire Yampa Valley, donations for a silent auction have been received. Items range from sporting and recreation certificates, leather craft items, metal sculptures, hay, artwork and many other items.
This year’s sponsors are Mountain Valley Bank, Coyote Creek Ranch, Yampa Valley Beef, the Bill May Foundation, FM Light and Sons and KRAI 55 Country.
Thanks to all our quests and sponsors for supporting our youth.
This years program will be 6 p.m. Friday, April 16, in the Exhibit Hall at the Fairgrounds in Hayden, Colo. This year’s artists are Bill Barwick, hosting and supporting music, Hugh Pelts from Wheatland, Wyo., Jeff Carson from Heber City, Utah, Susan Knight from Evergreen, Colo., and award winning humorist and poet Andy Nelson from Pinedale, Wyo. A good time is promised and this year is promising to be another huge success.
Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and entertainment starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $30 singles, $25 for multiple tickets and $10 for the Kiddie Corral. For more information, please contact Don Hayes at (970) 846-9233.
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