In most circumstances Michael Babb wouldn't want anything representing the Rifle Bears near him. But the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State football game was a rare exception.
"That Rocky Rauman isn't a bad guy," Babb said of the Rifle running back while showing off his Rifle Bears sticker on his football helmet. "I had to get the Western Slope represented."
Babb's sticker-adorned helmet was one of several keepsakes he brought back from an all-star weekend in Denver. Moffat County graduates Babb, Scott Garoutte and Brandie Telfer, all first-team All-State selections this year, represented the Bulldogs against the state's best this weekend.
"I'd do it all over again," Garoutte said. "It was fun to be around all of those guys."
It was Telfer's second basketball game against statewide competition. The future Adams State College student athlete played in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports game in March.
"This one was a bigger deal," she said. "They put more into it for the athletes."
Telfer said she played ample minutes on the 11-girl white team, but her touches were limited.
"I was pretty much a screener," she said. "I saw early on that the guards were going to take it a lot."
Guards Naomi Bancroft of Hi Plains and Dawn Shockley of Estes Park led the team in both games with 10 and 14 the first game and 16 and 17 the second game respectively.
"They were good," Telfer said of Bancroft and Shockley. "They played against each other in the season so they were familiar with their games."
Telfer scored two points in the team's 90-59 loss to the blue team and one point in a 75-71 win against the Red team.
Steamboat Spring's Kayla Kostur played on the Red team and scored 47 points in the two games.
"Her team passed her the ball," said Telfer. "I didn't guard her in the game we played because I had a taller girl."
Garoutte and Babb had tall orders in their game. The South team (yes, the Moffat County boys were on the South team) had 14 players on the 41-member roster that were from Class 4A or 5A schools. The North team had 24 players on a 38-member roster that were from the larger schools.
"Some of our 5A guys didn't show up because their college teams wouldn't let them," Babb said. "We were much smaller than the other team."
The North team ran away with the game in the second half. After going into halftime with a 13-0 lead, Lakewood's Ryan Lutz found pay dirt three times in the second half for the North team. The North won 42-7.
"It was another level of football," said Garoutte, who played outside linebacker. "I found that out the first couple of plays and got hit pretty hard. I stepped it up from then on though and made probably 15 tackles. They called my name a lot, which was cool."
Four days after the game at Legacy Stadium in Aurora both players were still sore from playing with the big boys.
Babb said he thought he held his own against the defensive lineman of the North.
He also learned he needed to work on speed as he prepares for the next level.
"Straight up speed," he said. "I need to be faster."
Babb, who is Colorado State University bound, said he met three future teammates. Garoutte said five or six Mesa State signees were in the game.
"We might not have had the winning team but we had the most fun team," Babb said.
"A lot of the guys were funny," Garoutte added.
The game was a long battle against nature as well. There was a 35-minute lightning delay in the first half and a 45-minute delay during halftime.
"We sat around and talked about what we could do better," Garoutte said. "But it was bad because we got cold."
In the end, all three athletes were honored to play their final high school games at an elite level.
"It's always an honor to be recognized like that," Babb said. "We were fortunate to have the opportunity that not many have."