Laughing, serving and staying

Karl Huntsman talks and laughs about his years in Craig

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Once you hear his laugh, Karl Huntsman is easy to recognize. His long, boisterous laugh is, if not infectious, at least unique.

One of his first laughs during the interview came when he was asked how many years he's been in Craig.

"The years all run together for me," he said after a round of laughing. "I think it's been 35 years though."

While he's pretty sure about how many years he's been here, he's wasn't sure how long he's served on the Moffat County Fair Board. He said he thinks he's been on it as long, if not longer than anybody else. Between all of the other organizations he's been involved with the number of years aren't clear.

But one thing is apparent, "There's no reason for me to leave Craig now. I'd have to start all over."

Huntsman came to Craig after growing up in Durango as the youngest of 13 children. He moved here after high school to work in the oil fields. He and his wife raised two daughters, Brenda and Tammy, during their time here.

Huntsman used his spare time to be a part of the Lions Club, the state board for firefighters and the Ride-N-Tie rodeo board.

Boarding the fair

Of all his endeavors, Huntsman has spent the most time on the fair board. This year he's in charge of the entertainment part of the fair. He helped organize a Battle of the Bands and the Snake Oil concert at the end of the fair.

He's been a part of the board long enough to know the ins and outs of most of the fair.

"The fair is reliant on our volunteers," he said. "We can make the fair grow if we have the people to do it."

When the fair all comes together Huntsman said the hard work all pays off with one simple action.

"I love seeing the smiles on kids faces," he said. "That makes it all worth it."

With that said he thinks there could be more participation.

"There's all kinds of areas a kid can be involved with in 4-H," he said. "It's more than just animals."

Huntsman said a source of pride for the board is that they've been able to keep it a free fair.

"The community gets enough people knocking on their doors during the year for support so we try not to do that," he said. "The county and city has bent over backwards to help make that happen."

Capping a career

Huntsman formed a relationship with local law enforcement during his time as a part of Moffat County search and rescue.

"Those people, like (Lieutenant) Dean Herndon, are some of the best people I've met," he said.

Herndon asked Huntsman to take a job at Correctional Alternative Placement Services in Craig. That was six years ago and Huntsman still works there for them.

"I do pretty much everything for CAPS," he said. "I fill in for them where they need help."

Hunstman said he's learned a lot about people during his time at CAPS.

"I've learned that there's always at least two sides to a person," he said. "We see a lot of different sides of people."

CAPS is an alternative to jail time for convicted criminals. It houses the convicts and allows them to take a job in the community as they serve their time.

Some CAPS clients have escaped during their time at the facility and Huntsman said those give the program a bad name.

"I have seen a lot more successes than failures from CAPS," he said. "Unfortunately all that people hear about is one side and that's the negative side. If an individual wants to succeed they will in CAPS."

What freetime?

Huntsman's community in-

volvement doesn't leave him a lot of time for leisure, but when he has it he said he enjoys the outdoors.

"I love fishing and camping," he said. "The fall is my favorite time because of all the activity in town."

Still his favorite pastime is helping other people through all of his involvement.

"I've helped others all of my life and it's been rewarding," he said. "I've learned that money isn't everything and being helpful pays in better ways...although it doesn't help buy three dollar gas."

And then he laughed, long and loud.

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