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Andy Bockelman

Stories by Andy

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Spirits soar for Moffat County Balloon Festival

Seventh annual event schedule full of fun activities

The seventh annual Moffat County Balloon Festival’s big launch is Saturday, as two dozen hot air balloons start soaring at Loudy-Simpson Park, the flames provided by propane tanks cutting through the early morning chill to give way to an aerial spectacle unlike any other.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Secret Life of Pets’ cuddles into your heart despite unoriginality

In viewing a movie like “The Secret Life of Pets,” it would help to see things through the eyes of a dog or cat. This isn’t so much to relate to the main characters as it is to keep the short attention span necessary to enjoy a cartoon that’s pretty repetitive.

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Moffat County High School athletic director gains firm footing in new job

Rich Houghton’s 44 years of experience includes time with Colorado, Alaska schools

The winter conditions of the Yampa Valley can make Northwest Colorado a hard sell for some potential employers, but Moffat County High School found a new member of its faculty who’s toughed it out through far more than the typical snowfall Craig has to offer. Rich Houghton officially began as the new athletics and activities director for MCHS this week, signing a contract for the position Wednesday.

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State swim meet hosted by Craig Sea Sharks goes swimmingly

Local youth team places 4th among size division

Craig athletes, coaches and volunteers dove right in when it came to making a big swimming event one that showed a sense of pride in the area. With about two dozen teams attending, the Seasonal State Meet hosted by Craig Sea Sharks was bustling like the Great Barrier Reef with more than 100 races swum by teams from across Colorado Friday through Sunday.

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Craig Sea Sharks have home water advantage in state meet

Seasonal swim teams compete for glory Friday through Sunday

The Craig City Pool was bursting with ocean life this weekend, as dolphins, barracudas, turtles, stingrays and more hit the blue. Still, a school of sharks defended their home water mightily. The Seasonal State Meet hosted by the Craig Sea Sharks youth swim program brought in hundreds of young athletes and their families this weekend to race their hearts out in the Northwest Colorado premises. With 295 total kids from 24 teams around Colorado making up 1,692 total entries across 130 races, the city pool and the park surrounding it were packed with people, the biggest group being the Valley Dolphins with 42 competitors, with Flying Horse Aquatics Club, Gunnison Stingrays, Colorado Springs Racquet Club, Salida Cyclones, Battlement Mesa Sea Turtles, Morgan Marlins, Rangely Hurricanes and Delta Barracudas were among the other teams.

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Friday Fest casts its spell on downtown Craig

Families turn out for ‘Harry Potter’ celebration; DBA’s weekly gatherings to come back next summer

There was a sense of magic in Alice Pleasant Park Friday afternoon. Downtown Business Association saw aspiring wizards and witches of all ages turn out for the “Harry Potter” installment of the weekly Friday Fest activities, commemorating this Sunday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a new entry in the children’s literary and movie phenomenon by JK Rowling.

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Craig Sea Sharks to host Seasonal State Meet this weekend

Swim team features 16 local competitors in field of 300 from across Colorado

Some members of the Craig Sea Sharks youth swim program may be feeling like a big fish in a small pond, but the body of water they call home will be packed this weekend. The Seasonal State Meet for Colorado summer teams takes place at the Craig Pool Complex Friday through Sunday. The Sea Sharks will serve as the host team with about 300 elite competitors across the three days and about 1,000 total people expected to attend the meet.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ — Warp speed toward fun

It’s been 50 years since William Shatner first uttered the immortal words “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” While there have been many changes to the world both good and bad in that time, it’s comforting to know that a movie such as “Star Trek Beyond” can tap into that sense of wonder and discovery.

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Craig’s youth soccer program provides a kick for summer

The fields of Woodbury Sports Complex aren’t quite the size of a World Cup level venue, but give Craig families enough action, and they’ll do their best to make as much noise. The Youth Soccer program through Craig Parks & Recreation wound down this week after about a month of games on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids from ages 5 to 13.

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Big-time rodeos befit Moffat County’s skill set

Kinlie Brennise shines in opening round of national finals

Amid a field of hundreds of competitive cowboys and cowgirls, the teens of Moffat County have held their own in the past two weeks. Northwest Colorado athletes rode hard, roped quickly and stayed strong while attending two of their biggest venues of the summer: the International Finals Youth Rodeo, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and the National High School Finals Rodeo, in Gillette, Wyoming.

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Moffat County 4-H competitors ready for a shot at state

Archery, rifle, shotgun completion events make for busy Saturday

Across Craig Saturday morning, local youths were up and it early to stay on target, take aim and hopefully finish the day with a berth in a state contest but more importantly focused on doing well in the moment. The Moffat County 4-H shooting sports completion shoot events took place over the weekend as competitors in rifle, shotgun and archery showed their talents for marksmanship.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot is more of a reincarnation

A new version of a movie that’s been beloved for more than 30 years is rarely going to come along without people holding on to the memory of the original. In the case of “Ghostbusters,” referring to the update as being haunted by its predecessor seems most appropriate.

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Moffat County outfitter, out-of-state individuals charged for 2014 poaching activities

Mule deer buck considered trophy quality by Samson Law; fines exceed $24,000

The numbers speak for themselves in a Northwest Colorado poaching case involving four parties across three separate states with more than one year of investigation and thousands of dollars in fines. Colorado Parks and Wildlife released details Thursday about a November 2014 poaching incident involving a Moffat County outfitter and parties from Mississippi and Missouri.

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Youth golfers get good grip on game with PGA Junior Academy

Kids improve in sport with sessions at Yampa Valley Golf Course

Young golfers are swinging with more confidence this summer. The PGA Junior Golf Academy at Yampa Valley Golf Course came to a close this week as the six-week clinic for kids concluded with a three-hole exhibition.

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Hannah Walker first to sign with CNCC women’s soccer

Program adds assistant coach Susan Turner, plans for August start to schedule

The start date is coming up fast for the first athletic program at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus, but the goal of filling up rosters for both men’s and women’s soccer teams are getting closer too. CNCC soccer officially signed its first member for the women’s team Monday with recent Moffat County High School graduate Hannah Walker, who will serve as goaltender for the Spartans this fall. The same day saw the announcement of Susan Turner as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s teams.

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Moffat County 4-H shooters set sights on high marks for state qualifier events

Many members of Moffat County’s 4-H Club devote hours to honing their craft in skills such as sewing and baking or rearing livestock in the hopes of earning a blue ribbon or greater recognition, and certain members of the program are on target to do just as well. Leading up to the Moffat County Fair will be the Completion Shoot events for 4-H shooting sports, including shotgun, rifle and archery, all of which will take place July 23, though if you want to see all the young marksmen in action, you’d better be ready to visit multiple sites in the area.

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Entertainment endures at Moffat County Fair

Rodeo, Ranch Games, children’s contests to provide plenty of fun

Each year, the agriculture community marks their calendars for the Moffat County Fair, a time when they can show off the animals that are their pride and joy, specialty projects that have taken the better part of a year or just to socialize with other farm families. But, there’s still more fun to be had at the fair no matter who you are.

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Erin Knez set to serve as Moffat County volleyball’s head coach

Knez, assistant Kacey Daugherty prepare for fall season, larger league

Moffat County High School volleyball players will see some changes this year, but even with some fierce opponents coming up, they’ll still have a familiar voice guiding them from the sidelines. Erin Knez is the new head coach for the Bulldog volleyball program, which hosted the Chad Teichert Volleyball Camp at MCHS this week for middle school through high school athletes.

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Over the Line state championships part of Moffat County Balloon Festival

Softball variation returns to Craig in August

A new sensation in Colorado is coming up, and organizers plan for it to be bigger and better than ever. The first step: its name. The Over the Line tournament returns to Craig in August as part of Moffat County Balloon Festival Aug. 6 at Loudy-Simpson Park, this time bearing the title Colorado State Over the Line Championship.

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New Moffat County High School principal pulls out of job Friday

Superintendent: District will create interim position while searching for new hire

A new development could put Moffat County School District in a tricky situation for the coming months. After being announced Thursday night as the new principal of Moffat County High School, Tim McNerney pulled out of the position Friday due to "a very serious family matter," according to MCSD superintendent David Ulrich. Ulrich said he would not divulge the personal details of McNerney's situation but that he believed the candidate had little choice given a "truly unfortunate set of circumstances."

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Craig’s CNCC soccer program bringing on local players

Moffat County grads Diego Quezada, Hugo Snyder plan to play for Spartans

Things are starting up for Spartan soccer. The men’s soccer program at the Craig campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College added two to its roster this week with former Moffat County High School athletes Diego Quezada and Hugo Snyder.

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Fuller Center Bike Adventure wheels through Craig ready to help

Tour will assist in housing projects Wednesday

A helping hand from those within the community is encouraging, but working on a project with folks from around the nation is a whole new kind of inspiration. Moffat County Fuller Center saw about two dozen special guests come to Craig Tuesday afternoon as the cyclists of the Fuller Center Bike Adventure pulled into town.

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Craig cyclists have ride of a lifetime with Ride the Rockies

Annual Denver Post bike ride covers hundreds of miles

Cyclists from across the globe recently had the opportunity to participate in The Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies Colorado Bicycle Tour, a state tradition since 1986 that takes riders along hundreds of miles of the Centennial State’s natural wonders. Riding in this year’s tour, which took place June 12 to 17 starting in Carbondale and ending in Fort Collins with 2,000 cyclists entering through a lottery system, were three Craig residents: Catherine Scroggs, Terry Carwile and John Bolton.

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Craig welcomes Journey of Hope riders

Fraternity raises funds, awareness for disabled people with annual cross-country cycling tour

With more than 1,000 miles behind them thousands and more to come in the coming days, a group of cyclists pulled into the Boys & Girls Club of Craig Thursday afternoon showing no signs of being worn out, their mind on a mission to educate and enrich lives. The Journey of Hope, part of The Ability Experience, visited Craig this week as part of a cross-country bike excursion that travels nearly 4,000 total miles with many stops throughout the nation called “friendship visits” to raise awareness for people with mental and physical disabilities.

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Moffat County community rolls out for CASA bowling fundraiser

Organization seeking greater awareness for work with abused children

A regional organization struck out this weekend — in a good way. The lanes were packed Saturday evening at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center as the inaugural Northwest Rocky Mountain Colorado CASA Bowl-for-Kids fundraiser brought in plenty of community support.

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Many hours of giving earn Robin Schiffbauer Best Volunteer

A giving spirit can be found in many small-town residents, but the people of Moffat County recognized one of Craig’s most selfless as the Best Community Volunteer. Robin Schiffbauer took the title this year as the area’s most active do-gooder, having a hand in many facets of Craig that strive to improve the lives of others.

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JW Snack’s — Gulf coast goodness wins multiple local awards

There are few places less likely to boast a gulf coast Cajun eatery than the mountains of Colorado, and that’s exactly what compelled the owners of JW Snack’s Bar & Grill to open shop. After just recently celebrating 10 years in business, JW Snack’s won a slew of awards through Best of Moffat County to prove its longevity in Craig, tying with Carelli’s Pizzeria for the most total first-place honors in the restaurant category for owners Danny and Teri Griffith.

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Personal touch pays off for Bank of the San Juans employees

Flint Dillon, Heather Brumblow win Best Customer Service, Best Bank Teller

A banking institution without its own automated teller is a rarity in the 21st century, but the people inside the building can make all the difference in how a patron does business. The Craig branch of Bank of the San Juans took first in two Best of Moffat County categories as employees Heather Brumblow and Flint Dillon cashed in with Best Bank Teller and Best Customer Service, respectively.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Finding Dory’ a fine, funny fin-tastic sequel

Memory is a tricky thing. A movie you held in high regard more than 10 years ago may remain in your mind as the best thing you’ve ever seen, or it could just as easily be replaced by the next big fad. Most viewers aren’t likely to forget the feature that preceded “Finding Dory,” yet most who watch this sequel will be remembering it for new reasons.

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Craig judges trim down list to name Whittle the Wood winner

17th annual weekend festival includes music from Trail, Subdudes

With 17 successful years now in the books, Whittle the Wood Rendezvous remains a favorite for Craig and visitors alike. The collection of freshly constructed wooden carvings, unbridled music and more came to a close Saturday as hundreds gathered in Loudy-Simpson Park to view the works of art on display, take in the music and otherwise just see what the buzz is all about during Father’s Day weekend in Craig.

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Good art, good tunes, good times at Whittle the Wood

Saturday events include carving winners, downtown car show, Subdudes performance

The finale of the 17th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous takes place Saturday as the 11 wooden carvings that have been the spectacle all week in Loudy-Simpson Park are unveiled in their finished form and judged to determine which whittler wins a windfall.

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CNCC’s soccer program takes next step, hires new coach

Program head Lance Noble planning tryouts for men’s, women’s teams, local athletes welcome

A new program at Colorado Northwestern Community College is coming up fast, even more so now that it’s got a new leader. The CNCC men’s and women’s soccer teams now have a coach, with Lance Noble recently hired to take on the sport, new for the Craig campus.

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Craig’s Whittle the Wood revving into action

Four-day annual event also features car show, art gallery, live music

Craig’s biggest annual event starts this week, and appropriately enough for a gathering that involves trees, it will be branching out a bit. The 17th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous runs Wednesday through Saturday in Loudy-Simpson Park as a dozen chainsaw-wielding talents each come to town to turn a stump into a work of art, possibly pick up a cash prize and provide some unique entertainment to spectators.

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Craig Sea Sharks ready to dive in to home meet this weekend

Youth swimming program hosts Thursday fundraiser, plans to host state meet in July

A dip in the local pool is always refreshing, and the members of the Craig Sea Sharks youth team will be seeing a lot more peers in the old swimming hole this summer. The Sea Sharks ABC Swim Meet takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Craig Pool Complex, an event that will feature about 140 kids from 11 teams.

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Victory Motors shows drive for healthier Moffat County

Cancer Drive includes 5K Color Run, Denver Broncos cheerleaders, NFL Play 60

When a problem presents itself, being able to tackle it as a community is a sign of strength. The third annual Victory Motors Cancer Drive took place Saturday at Loudy-Simpson as Craig people of all ages turned out for the Moffat County Cancer Society fundraiser that had lots to offer.

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Moffat County’s Ary Shaffer to run for Oregon college

Recent graduate will compete in track at George Fox University

After four years of running for Moffat County High School, Ary Shaffer is ready for a new challenge and a new location. The newly graduated MCHS student will be starting off her college career on the right foot, competing in track and field for George Fox University, of Newberg, Oregon.

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Football up and running for Moffat County

Amid summer camps, senior Bulldogs ponder future in sport

The off-season is what athletes make it, and members of Moffat County High School sports plan to make it a time to fine-tune and be better than ever this fall. With activities like MCHS football’s summer skills camp and the NFL/Broncos Football Camp and NFL Play 60 Challenge through the Victory Motors Cancer Drive, the gridiron has been busy this week.

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The Bock’s Office: ‘Me Before You’ a sweet but strained story

With a cast of people who have appeared in “Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Terminator” and other fantasy and sci-fi franchises, you might expect “Me Before You” to be a little less than grounded, but wizards and White Walkers are a cinch to believe in over the idea that a tragic romance will work out in the end.

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Moffat County called on to get involved for community improvement meetings

‘13 Ways to Kill Your Community’ author to speak June 30

It takes an entire group of people working as one to function as a community, and just as there’s a list of things to do to improve one’s surroundings, a list of what not to do is just as vital. Craig will host Doug Griffiths, co-author of the advice book “13 Ways to Kill Your Community,” in late June as part of an effort to start a large level of community involvement.

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Moffat County rodeo wins state titles in bronc riding, tie down roping

Numerous Northwest Colorado athletes qualify for national finals

For some, the end of an era is coming as they embark on bigger things, while others have plenty more to come in their favorite sport at the high school level. But, they all have one thing in common: this ain’t their last rodeo by a long shot. The Colorado State High School Rodeo Association State Finals took place in Lamar during Memorial Day weekend, and multiple Northwest Colorado competitors walked away with championship belt buckles as they and more move on to the national level.

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The Bock’s Office: Laughs dominate in detective feature ‘The Nice Guys’

When you’re looking for a priceless bird statue, you call Sam Spade. When you need a heroin trade upended, you call Popeye Doyle. When you’re searching for a missing person but still have plenty of time for shenanigans? That’s when you call “The Nice Guys.”

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Grand Olde West Days: Bronc riding, Chancey Williams provide cowboy kick

The Grand Olde West Days action continued Saturday at Moffat County Fairgrounds as the final rounds of the Iron Man Ranch Bronc Riding determined who the toughest riders were to drop by for the holiday weekend.

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Moffat County High School seniors say farewell with Saturday graduation

Class of 2016 features 116 graduates

With four years of memories behind them, good and bad alike, the Moffat County High School Class of 2016 had one last group activity Saturday morning. MCHS graduated 116 seniors this weekend, sending their Bulldogs into the future as adults.

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Honors aplenty for Moffat County athletes

Shandon Hadley named ‘Dude’ Dent winner, Morgan Lawton Outstanding Female Athlete

Only two Moffat County High School students walked out with trophies, but all six seniors as well as the other Bulldog athletes gathered at the Clarion Inn & Suites Thursday night were examples of athleticism. The presentation of the Lewis “Dude” Dent Memorial Award and Outstanding Female Athlete was a night of honors for many as the top two student-athletes of the Class of 2016 were recognized.

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Craig’s Grand Olde West Days a fun festival with new, old cowboy traditions

26th annual event sees changes for Memorial Day weekend happenings

For a quarter-century, the kickoff to summer has been a grand thing to behold in Northwest Colorado. The 26th annual Grand Olde West Days takes place this weekend, bringing in a huge schedule of cowboy and cowgirl activities for Memorial Day weekend.

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Moffat County sports honor best of the bunch with ‘Dude’ Dent award

Another year of Moffat County High School sports is in the books, and now comes the time to remember a bit of local history as a select group of athletes set their sights forward. The Lewis “Dude” Dent Memorial Award ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday at Clarion Inn & Suites, a night that includes a variety of athletic awards and culminates in the presentation of the Dude Dent trophy and Outstanding Female Athlete to the cream of the crop for the Bulldogs.

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The state of things: Moffat County track hits new heights with second-place girls finish

Bulldogs win four state titles, Kayla Pinnt breaks state meet record in 400 dash

Todd Trapp’s athletes have pushed through rain and snow, wind and chills the past few months, but the last day of the season was a sunny one in more ways than just the reading on the thermometer as the track and field coach saw the best overall result in his time at Moffat County High School. The MCHS girls team finished in second place as a whole at the 3A CHSAA State Championships Saturday afternoon to complete a banner season, claiming four titles and placing in many more events.

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The state of things: Moffat County track preps for final day of championships

Bulldog girls place in discus, 800, 4x200; sprints, relays, hurdles, 1,600, long jump in store

As the midway point of the State Track and Field Championships, Friday was a day of pleasant surprises for some members of the Moffat County High School teams while others were not as happy with their final standings and the rest are reserving judgment for the grand finale.

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The state of things: Moffat County track places in multiple events Thursday

Bulldogs finish strong in 4x800 relays, boys discus, girls 3,200 run

The quest for precious metals is on, and Moffat County High School has already crossed some off their checklist. No gold so far, but there are still days to come. In the first day of the 3A CHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium, the Bulldogs placed in four events, including the boys discus, girls 3,200-meter run and boys and girls 4x800 relays.

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The state of things: Moffat County track preparing for biggest meet yet

Bulldogs qualify in 24 events for championships

Music was blaring from the Moffat County High School Bulldog Proving Grounds Tuesday afternoon, but the tunes weren’t so much celebratory as a method to pump up everyone there. The celebration will come after this weekend if all goes well. MCHS track and field qualified athletes in 24 events for the 3A State Championships Thursday through Saturday in Lakewood, and the Bulldogs are ready and raring to win some medals.