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Andy Bockelman

Stories by Andy

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Moffat County soccer kicks into gear with 4-1 win in Grand Junction

The Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team took it to their first opponent of the season Tuesday, winning, 4-1, against the Warriors of Grand Junction’s Central High School.

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Moffat County football tackling challenges head-on

Last season saw Moffat County High School’s football program coping with some major alterations, not the least of which included a new coaching staff and a move to the 2A division of CHSAA. A year later, the head of the team has gotten more settled in to the area, and both he and players are ready to defend their title as the champions of the Western Slope North League.

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Moffat County football sinks Sailors, 27-0, in season opener

Moffat County High School was the place to be Friday night for the start of football season and the continuation of the ongoing rivalry between the MCHS Bulldogs and the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors that culminated in a 27-0 win for Moffat County.

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Moffat County Bulldogs ready to rip apart Steamboat rivals

You couldn’t ask for a more appropriate beginning to the varsity football season in Northwest Colorado. Moffat County High School opens its schedule Friday night with a Zero Week match against its Highway 40 foes, the Steamboat Springs Sailors, duking it out at the Bulldog Proving Grounds.

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Craig ready for Doak Walker’s pigskin power

One day, they’ll all be Bulldogs, but at the moment, they’re going by team names like the Chargers, the Saints and the Jets. Oh, and of course, a certain Colorado team that wears a lot of orange. Craig Parks & Recreation’s Doak Walker tackle football program has commenced for the fall with seven squads in the fifth- and sixth-grade division and five for third- and fourth-graders.

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Make some noise for Moffat County’s new cheer coach

Stacey Ortega plans for expanded, more physical spirit squad

They’ve got spirit, yes, they do! How about you? Stacey Ortega was recently hired as the new cheerleading coach for Moffat County High School. Having cheered herself, as well as coached for teams aged middle school through college, she said the position seemed like for a great fit for someone like her, new to town and hoping to get involved.

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Green players, seasoned swingers abound for Moffat County boys golf

The boys of the Moffat County High School golf program are teed off — in a good way. The season has already begun for the earliest of MCHS’s fall sports, and the summer has been a beneficial practice time for the Bulldogs, who have taken advantage of the links at Yampa Valley Golf Course to get ready for upcoming tournaments.

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Couple Amanda, Jason Back claim club championships at Yampa Valley Golf Course

A certain Northwest Colorado couple gives a whole new meaning to back-to-back titles. Amanda and Jason Back were on top of the world over the past weekend as the two of them claimed the Ladies and Men’s Club Championships at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

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Moffat County grad grits teeth for final football season

Brady Conner coming up on senior year as tight end at Adams State University

Brady Conner has his eyes on the goal line, both on and off the field. Conner, a 2011 Moffat County High School graduate, will be embarking on his final football season this fall as he enters another season with the Grizzlies of Adams State University.

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Elk, deer herds showing good numbers for 2015 hunting

2014’s winter aids growth in animals

One hunting season’s loss is another one’s gain. Strong herd numbers this year mean positive things for big game hunters converging on the Northwest Colorado area. Post-hunt estimates by Colorado Parks & Wildlife show an increase for certain herds, such as the Bears Ears elk herd in Moffat County, which stands at about 24,000, according to the agency's count following the 2014 seasons.

Craig’s ‘Elk Hunting Capital’ continues to promote multiple opportunities

In 2012, Northwest Colorado’s town of Craig officially achieved a status that residents and recurring tourists had known for years. The designation of “Elk Hunting Capital of the World” became a true trademark for the city, largely thanks to five years of effort by local businessman John Ponikvar, who put forth the time and money in the venture in order to brand Craig in the right way. More than a mere slogan, the title is one that remains an important part of promoting all the area has to offer to incoming hunters from around the globe.

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Moffat County Fair closes with cuteness

They work hard all year and get their game faces on during the rest of the week, but when it comes to the final days the patrons of the Moffat County Fair just want to have a little fun. The laidback finale of the 97th annual agricultural event overtook the fairgrounds Saturday with plenty for all ages to see and do, from lawnmower races and tractor pulls to stuffing their faces in a watermelon-eating contest to watching a sheep in a necktie. Yes, you read that right.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Rogue Nation’ runs risk of overthinking movie magic

As you enter the movie theater, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to watch “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” purely for entertainment value. But, before you commit to anything, you should know the makers will be doing everything they can to make this… what’s the word I’m looking for here?

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Moffat County Balloon Festival attracts record turnout

A bustle of balloons, runners and pancake flippers broke the early morning silence at Loudy-Simpson Park Saturday morning for the sixth annual Moffat County Balloon Festival.

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Moffat County Balloon Festival flying higher than ever

New, returning features inflate annual event’s reputation

If you’re at Loudy-Simpson Park early Saturday morning, odds are you’ll be looking up. However, remember as you turn your attention elsewhere that there’s a lot going on back down on the ground. The sixth annual Moffat County Balloon Festival gets going with a schedule packed with diverse activities, and if you think everything is about the balloons, you should know the festival encompasses a lot more.

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Craig salutes Veterans Charity Riders

Motorcycle program for soldiers stops passes through Northwest Colorado

They’ve served in some of the most brutal parts of the world, fought through the loss of body parts and sustained some memories that might still give them nightmares — to say the least, the participants in the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis have earned some fun. The cross-country effort to raise awareness about combat veterans and giving something back to them pulled into Craig Friday afternoon to a small but enthusiastic greeting at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265.

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Summer sweat means winter strength for Moffat County basketball

While others are trying to cool off this time of year, Moffat County High School hoopsters are staying hot. It’s been a busy summer for MCHS boys and girls basketball, and coaches Sam McLeod and Eric Hamilton have taken note of those athletes who have made the effort to retain and improve their skills in the sport.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Paper Towns’ a low-key, likeable teen flick

If you’re familiar with the author of “Paper Towns,” you may be expecting the new film adaptation to reach for the “Stars.” But, it doesn’t — it charts its own course, which upon watching the film, you’ll realize is just fine.

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Drive for Cancer brings together Craig community

Fundraiser sees sizable turnout at Saturday carnival

While an automobile technically can only have one person driving at a time, it was an entire community that got behind the wheel this weekend to get on the fast track to helping others. Victory Motors’ second annual Drive for Cancer provided a fun-filled day Saturday with its family carnival, part of the business’s weeklong fundraiser for Moffat County Cancer Society.

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Moffat County’s 4-H shotgun teams locked and loaded for state

The young marksmen of Moffat County are proving themselves to be big shots. Saturday’s shotgun completion shoot at Craig Trap Club saw some skilled trigger work as members of Moffat County 4-H readied to go to the next stage of competition, selecting the top shooters for the state level.

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Craig’s Silver Bullet golf tourney going strong in 29th year

Ladies golf group planning cancer fundraising event in August

In a game in which low numbers are everything, Susan Utzinger is glad to see a certain tally on the rise this year. The 29th annual Ladies Silver Bullet Classic saw 69 women hit the links Saturday and Sunday at Yampa Valley Golf Course. The turnout is encouraging for the Yampa Valley Ladies Golf Association, said organizer Utzinger, noting that the number of gals on the course has continued to increase little by little each year.

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Moffat County archery, rifle shooters eyeing state contest

All it takes is a few holes through a target to earn a trip to the big time. However, getting those marks is easier said than done. Moffat County 4-H shooting sports named its state teams in archery and .22 rifle Saturday following completion shoot events at the Wyman Living History Museum archery pitch and the Bears Ears Sportsman Club gun range.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Minions’ has animated absurdity at all levels

There’s a universal language in comedy that people intrinsically understand. Whether it’s someone flirting with a fire hydrant or getting repeatedly smacked in the face to remove a bee, some characters and situations are just unavoidably funny. Don’t bother to question it; just watch a movie like “Minions” and know your intuition to chuckle is correct.

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Yampa Valley Golf Course’s PGA sessions set up Craig kids for future success

Local youth golfers shooting for big things at larger events this summer

In a game like golf, the younger you start, the more time you have to harness your skill into your later years, a lesson a number of local kids already know. The PGA Junior Golf Academy concluded its summer program Tuesday at Yampa Valley Golf Course with the Soda Pop Open, a three-hole event for young duffers to show their families what they had learned over the past six weeks.

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48th annual Cottonwood Classic sees heavy competition

Rifle’s Kyler Smith claims top prize; Rod Branstetter takes hole-in-one in golf tourney

It was far from three straight days of the exact same action at this year’s Cottonwood Classic. The 48th annual event, which ran Friday through Sunday at Yampa Valley Golf Course, attracted 103 golfers vying for some big cash prizes, with some taking home something more than a financial payout.

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Women saddle up for barrel racing in Craig

Riding in the Rockies series continues through summer

The 14th annual Tri-State Barrel Racing Classic presented by Riding in the Rockies featured 102 entries as women of all ages brought their horses to the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig this weekend. Tearing through the fairgrounds arena at top speed with their hooved companions, riders honed their equestrian skills while competing for a purse of more than $2,000.

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Moffat County’s Hugh Turner signs to play baseball for Michigan school

Hugh Turner, recent graduate from Moffat County High School, committed this week to play baseball for Finlandia University, a private school on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Hugh will be receiving a partial scholarship for the NCAA Division school, where he plans to study sports medicine, physical therapy and sports management, possibly achieving a doctorate in the former two programs.

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KS Kreations bakes up winning reputation with homemade treats

Mother/daughter team Kandee Dilldine and Kassie Vessely have a pretty sweet gig. The sugary output of KS Kreations won it the honor of Best Bakery in the 2015 Best of Moffat County voting.

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Great Divide Cleaning Service: Owners no scrubs when it comes to good work

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it and do it well. The staff members of Great Divide Cleaning Service are those people when it comes to keeping the floors of Northwest Colorado spiffy as the Best Carpet Cleaners of Moffat County.

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Carelli’s takes home seconds as Best Lunch, Dinner Restaurant in Moffat County

Local favorite receives Best Pizza, Sandwich, Italian Restaurant honors

The voters have spoken, and the result is “Viva Italia!” Carelli’s Pizzeria & Pasta repeated as the dominant force in Craig’s dining scene, with five wins in the 2015 Best of Moffat County, again picking up Best Lunch, Dinner, Italian Restaurant, Pizza and Sandwich.

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The Bock’s Office: Glad, sad, mad and more are all part of ‘Inside Out’

If Jiminy Cricket had any actual power as a conscience, his story might have gone a lot quicker. Then again, when you’re given a computer console that can make someone cry, grin or throw a tantrum like in “Inside Out,” it can get even trickier.

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Craig Sea Sharks make a splash at home meet

The Craig Sea Sharks youth swim program hosted its ABC Swim Meet Saturday and Sunday, with 43 local athletes competing against visiting teams from Steamboat Springs, Delta, Rangely, Grand Junction and Green River and Riverton, Wyoming.

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100 vehicles drive in downtown for Bear River Young Life Car Show

Even if drivers had been able to park along Yampa Avenue Saturday, the 400 and 500 blocks of the street were full of hard bodies with decades of history behind them. The 11th annual Bear River Young Life Car Show featured 100 cars, trucks, bikes and more, with owners proudly showing off the kind of care they’ve put into their classics or contemporary vehicles.

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More than 100 runners join in Friends of Moffat County Education’s Wake the Whittler

Group also hosting 5K fundraising events later this summer

Craig families were up bright and early Saturday morning to get the blood moving and to lend their support to Friends of Moffat County Education. FMCE’s Wake the Whittler 5K and One Mile Fun Run/Walk saw 123 participants hit the trail along Loudy-Simpson Park, with all ages from infants in strollers to toddlers moving as fast as their legs could carry them to older students to adults.

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Whittle the Wood winds down with carving winners, Jefferson Starship concert

As is always the case with Craig’s favorite yearly gathering, the noise level only grew in its last day in Loudy-Simpson Park, as musical guests closed the event by replacing the sounds of chainsaws with something out of this world. The intergalactic ensemble of Jefferson Starship dropped by to provide a memorable performance Saturday evening, concluding the 16th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

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Saturday big day for Whittle the Wood finale

Winning carvings announced, Jefferson Starship concert ends event

It was only a few days ago, that they were mere stumps, indiscernible from any other log in the forest. But, if you visit Loudy-Simpson Park this weekend, you’ll see something far different than just a hunk of wood. The 16th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous comes to a close Saturday with the big finish, as the crowds flock to the Craig park to check out newly completed masterpieces and engage in plenty more activities.

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Jefferson Starship ready to rock as headliner of Craig’s Whittle the Wood

The town of Craig will be rocking this weekend, no doubt about it. As part of the 16th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous and the 11th annual Bear River Young Life Car Show, four bands will be hitting the area, including rock legends Jefferson Starship.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Jurassic World’ a dynamic yet dimwitted dino movie

The message of “Jurassic World” and all the movies that preceded it is to show what happens when mankind plays God. Perhaps the greater sin that comes in the newest installment, though, is the mistake of trying to play Spielberg.

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Golfers, students win big with Moffat County Sheriff tourney

It was the usual suspects and then some in attendance at the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office tournament Saturday at Yampa Valley Golf Course as 16 teams of four hit the links to support scholarships for local students.

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Clip-clop doesn’t stop at Moffat County Draft Horse Show

It wasn’t the average dog and pony show Saturday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. The Moffat County Draft Horse Show displayed the bond between humans and their hooved companions, with contestants from across the state, as well as from Utah and Wyoming. Organizer Mardi Anson provided announcing and commentary for the event, which featured more than one dozen demonstrations of handler-horse showmanship for all ages.

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Whittle the Wood generating new buzz on social media

Facebook, Twitter presence help increase awareness of annual event

One of Craig’s biggest gatherings of the year is around the corner, but if you’ve been following the event on social media, you already knew that. The 16th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous takes place June 17 to 20, and organizers are focused on promoting the yearly carving competition heavily on Facebook and Twitter before, during and after the big days.

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The Memorial Hospital pursuing status as accountable care organization

The board of trustees for The Memorial Hospital took action at its regular monthly meeting Thursday night.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Aloha’ a low point for Cameron Crowe

The new movie “Aloha” may have the most appropriate title of the summer. Within minutes of saying “hello” to the film with a name that has two meanings, you’ll want to say “goodbye.”

Andy Bockelman: A year in the life of a Moffat County sports reporter

The last nine months have been a whirlwind, and it looks like the cycle will start up once again before too long, but before we get back into the eye of the storm, I wanted to share my thoughts about what it’s been like covering a full school year of athletics at Moffat County High School.

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Grand Olde West Days organizer stepping down

Kandee Dilldine seeking replacement to plan Memorial Day event

Each year it comes together one way or another, but next year Grand Olde West Days may not be getting back in the saddle. Kandee Dilldine recently announced she will no longer be part of the process for putting together Grand Olde West Days, Craig’s Memorial Day weekend celebration which just completed its 25th year.

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Moffat County football staying busy during off-season

High school camp, open weight room sessions begin Monday

The MCHS varsity football program is already setting its sights on success by preparing heavily for the 2015 season, including practice sessions that will take off soon. A 10-day camp, as part of Colorado High School Activities Association’s rules, will start players off on the right foot throughout next week as they get back on the field and ready to build a bigger, better team.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ a satisfying but cyclical sing-quel

Music and comedy go together well when they both work, but it can be tricky to stay original. And, while “Pitch Perfect 2” has both these elements in abundance, it’s hard not to consider it as being on a loop.

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Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day nets lots of fun for Craig

If local law enforcement was angling to put some grins on the faces of Craig’s kids, they succeeded. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office reeled in hundreds of children and their families during the annual Cops, Vets and Kids Fishing Day, held Wednesday afternoon. Hosted alongside American Legion Post 62 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, the event has been part of Craig since 2003 to let kids see police and other officials in a friendly capacity while casting a line into the Little Rascals Pond adjacent to the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

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Moffat County rodeo stars gallop toward nationals

Craig’s Yancey Weber wins state team roping honors; Kinlie Brennise all-around points winner

The quagmire of the Moffat County Fairgrounds this past weekend didn’t make the sport of the rodeo an easy one, but those who went into the mud fighting hard have come out clean on the other side and ready for more. Moffat County will send five high school and middle school level rodeo competitors to the national finals this summer, following the Colorado State High School and Junior High Rodeo Association Finals event held in Craig during Memorial Day weekend.

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Moffat County High School sends off Class of 2015 with last hurrah Saturday

The pomp and circumstance sweeping the nation hit Northwest Colorado Saturday morning as Moffat County High School sent its Class of 2015 graduates out into the world after four memorable years.

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