Moffat County residents Patsy Magness, left, Ken “Howdy” Davis and Mei Jenrich pose Wednesday with the awards they received for their prize-winning entries in this year’s Moffat County Quality of Life contest. Jenrich took first place in the adult essay category, while Davis and Magness took second and third place, respectively.

Mary Morris/Courtesy

Moffat County residents Patsy Magness, left, Ken “Howdy” Davis and Mei Jenrich pose Wednesday with the awards they received for their prize-winning entries in this year’s Moffat County Quality of Life contest. Jenrich took first place in the adult essay category, while Davis and Magness took second and third place, respectively.

Quality of Life contest winners receive prizes

Winning submissions from Moffat County Quality of Life contest

Click here to see the winning adult essays from the Moffat County Quality of Life contest

Winners

Moffat County Quality of Life contest winners

(Category—placing—name—award)

Adults

• Artwork, first place: Janele Husband, $250

• Essay, first place: Mei Jenrich, $250

• Essay, second place: Ken “Howdy” Davis, $100

• Essay, third place: Patsy Magness, $50

Children

(Placing—name—award)

• First place: Eric Macks, $100 savings bond

• Second place: Molly Neton, $75 savings bond

• Third place: Alexa Neton, $50 savings bond

Ken “Howdy” Davis had almost forgotten an essay he wrote months ago until he received a $100 check for it Wednesday.

The money was a reward for taking second place in the adult essay category in the Moffat County Quality of Life contest in late 2011.

“This was a shock,” said Davis, 74. “I’ve never won anything for writing.”

Davis was one of three students in a Colorado Northwestern Community College memoir writing class who received awards Wednesday for placing in the contest.

Craig resident Mei Jenrich received $250 for taking first place in the adult essay category with her work, “A Natural Place to Be.” Patsy Magness, also of Craig, took third place with a piece titled “A Senior Citizen’s Point of View” and received $50.

The trio entered the contest with some gentle prodding.

“I just encouraged our memoir writing class to consider submitting their writing,” said Mary Morris, who taught the class. “I was really pleased when three of our memoir writers were selected.”

Davis, Jenrich and Magness come from different backgrounds and found different paths to Moffat County, yet they all have one thing in common.

“I know they all love being here,” said Morris, who also is community education and public information director at CNCC’s Craig campus.

The contest was designed to gather residents’ candid reflections on why they chose Moffat County as their home, said Chris Jones, who worked on the project alongside the Moffat County Tourism Association, the Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership.

“The one criteria was that we weren’t looking for an advertising slogan,” said Jones, a Craig native and an accountant with Jones & Associates. “This wasn’t part of a marketing campaign.”

Organizers sought a wide range of entrants from children to adults who expressed their thoughts in photographs and pictures as well as the written word.

The contest was ultimately crafted to capture the “innocence of a personal reflection of why they live here,” Jones said.

Magness answered that question simply in her essay.

“I think they have a lot to offer senior citizens,” including meal and exercise programs, the 79-year-old said.

For Davis, Moffat County’s appeal is of a personal nature.

His story began when he came to Craig on a hunting trip. He was driving a friend into town late at night when he realized he was nearly out of gas.

A Moffat County Sheriff’s deputy filled up his tank for free, he said.

“I just never forgot that,” Davis said.

Later, he once again found himself in Northwest Colorado — this time, with his wife, Fran.

“I said, ‘How would you like to live here?’” he said. “And she said, ‘I’d have no trouble with that.’”

The couple soon picked up stakes in New Jersey and began the transition into Western life, where they eventually settled in a ranch in Moffat County. They haven’t looked back.

Davis still loves Craig, he said.

“I loved it even more (Wednesday) when I got a check for $100,” he joked.

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