Cowboy fighting for life

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Growing up in the Yampa Valley gave Charlie Cordova an appreciation for the ranching way of life.

It's a lifestyle that took him from working on the Sombrero Ranch for Pat Mantle, to jobs on the Red Top Ranch in LaVeta and the Bunker Hunt Ranch in Texas.

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His love for rodeo also led Cordova to positions with the Taylor Rodeo Company in Canon City and the King Rodeo Company west of Pueblo and eventually to becoming a stock contractor himself for team roping events 13 years ago.

Now, that apprecaiton for a ranching way of life is being challenged by a life-threatening condition.

Early this year, Cordova, 48, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and underwent an operation in March. The tumor was found to be malignant and Cordova recently sought treatment in Mexico. He is currently taking medication, and his wife is hoping for the best.

"He's hanging in there," Kristy Cordova said about her husband. "He's had another MRI to check on the tumor."

Friends of the Cordovas have recently held fundraisers to help defray the costs of treatment, including a benefit roping competition held last month in Rifle and a poker tournament in Dixon, Wyo., on Saturday.

A benefit auction is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Craig.

"We're planning on coming to the auction if Charlie is feeling up to it," Kristy said. "He has good days and bad days."

In his younger days, Cordova attended high school in Steamboat Springs and worked jobs that took him around the country. Cordova and Kristy finally settled in the Little Snake River Valley on land purchased from Sagewood Ranches.

They recently started a company called Last Chance Team Roping, the name of the company reflecting on the ages of the ropers.

Charlie, now 48 years old, is the son of Louie, also a lifetime ranch cowboy who worked for years on the Columbus Mountain Ranch owned by Otto Jones in the Little Snake River Valley.

Living on their ranch for the past 17 years, Charlie and Kristy have two children, 13-year-old son Chance and 11-year-old daughter Sacora. The children attend school in Baggs, Wyo.

Donations of items will be accepted for the auction, and contributions can be sent to Charlie Cordova, in care of Mike Long, 1052 Sequoia Ave. Craig. Call 824-7893 for information.

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