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Experienced bikers and hikers needed for Yampa Valley Trail mapping

CRAIG –Experienced bikers and hikers are wanted to help map out the Yampa Valley Trail on Saturday, Oct 6.

Anyone interested in helping map the trail should meet at the City Market parking lot at 8 a.m. according to Dinosaur 100 trail race organizer Mike Mathisen. Groups will be assigned sections of the trail to cover. The goal is to cover 100 miles of the trail and the information collected will be given to the Bureau of Land Management to create a new map.

The trail stretches across Northwest Colorado from Dinosaur National Monument in western Moffat County.

“This day is not for inexperienced hikers or bikers,” Mathisen said. “It will be a day of searching for way points and then riding or hiking to next way point.  The trail is not in great shape, so an inexperienced person will not have fun on it. It is a  day to ’embrace the suck’ of building and endurance race course.”

Food, drinks and supplies will be provided.

For more information, contact Mathisen at fun@dinosaur100.com

Dig in for Moffat County’s ‘Spoonful of Homecoming’ beginning Monday

Moffat County High School’s annual celebration of Bulldog pride kicks off next week as part of the Homecoming festivities with activities new and old for students and community members.

The theme this fall is “A Spoonful of Homecoming,” and among the dress-up days for students and teachers are Breakfast Club, Meme Day, Superhero Day, Sports Team Day, and Friday’s Blue and White Day. Craig Middle School will also host its own dress-up days.

The MCHS fall sports teams will be busy throughout the week starting with a double dose of pigskin Monday with junior varsity football versus Meeker followed by the Powder Puff Football tournament, as well as Tuesday’s seventh-grade gridiron game at CMS. Also in store are Tuesday’s soccer game against Aspen, volleyball’s Thursday and Friday games with Roaring Fork and Olathe, and Bulldog cross country’s Saturday home meet at Loudy-Simpson Park complete with the CMS race and Friends of Moffat County Education’s Leaf Cruncher 5K.

Among the changes this year is that the usual bonfire provided by Craig Fire/Rescue will not take place due to fire restrictions in the area.

The Friday parade takes place in downtown Craig starting at Craig City Park and moving along Victory Way. Community groups and businesses are encouraged to join the promenade, with registration available at MCHS or Craig Chamber of Commerce with an entry fee of $25 for floats due by Sept. 26.

MCHS students will work on their own floats throughout the week at Moffat County Fairgrounds, including Monday and Thursday afternoon and Tuesday and Wednesday evening. MCHS staff is looking for creative parents who have some skill in float-building to assist with the process and promote school and community pride. The more students who participate in building floats, the more PRIDE points their class will receive.

A new feature for this year’s Homecoming week is a Saturday tailgate party leading up to the varsity football game against the Basalt Longhorns. Organizers will provide music by a DJ, as well as food trucks and TVs with college football games, as well as multiple activities during the afternoon game.

The week concludes with the Saturday night dance for students only.

For more information on Homecoming activities, call 970-824-7036.

Yampa Valley Golf Course crowns 2018 club champs

After a lengthy summer on the links, the most devoted duffers vied for the title of champion Saturday and Sunday at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

The two-day tournament concluded with Dan Brown and Lani Cleverly as the new men’s and ladies’ club champions, respectively.

Cleverly had the lowest gross score with a 93 on the first day, followed by a 92. Windy conditions Sunday contributed to a disastrous start on YVGC’s back nine, though the second half of the afternoon was a turn-around.

“I think I really got my shots together,” Cleverly said.

Brown was defending his status as 2017’s champ, one which he’s taken on multiple occasions.

“I think this makes No. 7 for me,” he said.

Still, following Saturday’s 18 holes, it was looking like there might be a challenger to the throne — Trini Loya wrapped the opening day with a 73 to Brown’s 74.

The total was a personal milestone, Loya said, as the +1 on the Par 72 course was three strokes better than he had ever shot in his life.

“I just played lights out on the first day,” he said. “It was all about staying out of trouble and playing smart.”

But, Day 2 belonged to Brown, who repeated his 74 as the only golfer to crack 80 Sunday.

“The greens were really tough. They were fast, if you got downhill, downwind,” Brown said. “Great weekend, good course, good people. I love being out here.”

Brown took a $270 payout, while Cleverly had $120 in a smaller women’s field. With a 153 gross for the weekend, Loya finished as the championship flight’s net winner with a combined 133 with handicap. Jamie Eckroth’s 151 got her the net win among ladies.

Shooting 89 and 88, Hector Flores won the first flight’s gross totals, and Gary James hit 133 in net scores.

James also won the net rankings for the men’s seniors, with the gross winner Rodney Branstetter with 159 among seniors. Branstetter also finished second in the championship flight behind Brown.

Winning women’s seniors was Susan Utzinger (191 gross) and Terresa White (153 net).

The club championships were the site of late summer excitement at YVGC, as were recent accomplishments by regulars Dave Newell and Rick Holford, each of whom claimed hole-in-one honors at the course.

Newell got his ace Aug. 30 on YVGC’s seventh hole, a 168-yard straight shot, witnessed by Michael Beldon and Floyd Montgomery. Holford’s hole-in-one was on Sept. 10 on the 154-yard hole 11, witnessed by Bill Ivy, Dave O’Mailia and Ken Harjes.

Moffat County golfer Torin Reed swings his way to state

With a trip to the regional golf tournament each year of his time as a Bulldog, Moffat County High School’s Torin Reed was more motivated than ever to get to the next level of the sport for his senior year. And, even a lengthy road trip didn’t slow him down.

Reed qualified for the 3A State Championships Monday with a successful round at the Region 4 Tournament at Gunnison’s Dos Rios Golf Club. Carding an 82 for the day, he placed 12th overall, fifth when excluding the top two teams — Aspen and Basalt — which each qualified as a group for state.

Though his score was several strokes over his best, starting with a couple frustrating bogies, Reed experienced a good run through Dos Rios’ front nine, shooting par on seven straight holes, part of 10 total in which he broke even on the par 71 course.

“I was just trying to keep the ball in play, hit the fairways and hit the greens in regulation to make it easy,” he said.

He noted two Par 5 holes that each had ponds tricky to clear, though possible water hazard penalties was a risk that led to reward.

“I just went for it on those, and it really paid off,” he said.

Reed has competed at the regional round all four years at MCHS and notched the lowest scores for the Bulldogs at regionals the past two years. He was only one stroke from alternate status for state in 2017.

Altogether, Moffat County golf placed eighth among 14 full teams. Connor Etzler and Dave Andujo each shot a 95 for the day to tie at 32nd, with Tyler Burkett taking 104 to rank 44th.

Despite a birdie on Dos Rios’ third hole, Andujo was held back by an 8 and a 9 on two Par 4’s, while Etzler shot several 8’s and Burkett a pair of 9’s to add to the struggle on the Gunnison course.

“There’s just so many places to get in trouble there,” MCHS coach Rod Compton. “There’s a lot of lateral hazards, a lot of out-of-bounds stuff, almost every hole is a dog-leg. There’s a lot of trees, a lot of creeks and water. Just a difficult course.”

The 3A state tournament is a two-day event, taking place Oct. 1 and 2 at Boulder Country Club.

“I’ve only looked at that place once online, so I haven’t had much of a chance to study it, don’t know much about it,” Compton said. “For sure, we’ll work on some fine-tuning.”

Reed said he will spend as much time as possible through the end of the month preparing for the tourney, the first time Moffat County has been to the finals since Mike Bingham in 2015.

“I’ll be trying to be more consistent on my irons. Today they were kind of slicing sometimes,” Reed said.

Reed has broken 80 in multiple tournaments this season, and though he’ll be seeing competitors who regularly shoot in the 60s, he’s striving to get as far up the leaderboard as he can.

“I definitely want to place in the top 30,” he said.

State tournament coverage will be available through a new mobile golf application available though Colorado High School Activities Association and Iwanamaker, which can be downloaded at Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Parents and other community members are encouraged to download the app, with 80 percent of the registration cost going toward the CHSAA golf team of their choice.

Moffat County soccer back to basics against Basalt

Win or lose, Moffat County High School soccer coach Nathalie Boelen requires her players to demonstrate persistence, teamwork and fundamental skills, and even amid struggles in terms of score, Bulldogs are showing the traits she wants.

MCHS took an 8-0 defeat Saturday at home with Basalt, a game that was a rebound, at least in spirit, from the Dogs’ previous outing.

A 10-1 loss versus Palisade earlier in the week stung all the more as Craig athletes grew increasingly more divisive among themselves and checked out of the game mentally.

In comparison, the meeting with the Longhorns was a fight to the finish even when Moffat County trailed considerably.

An early Basalt goal kept the Dogs on their toes, with the defense keeping the tally close for about 30 minutes until the Longhorns went on a scoring spree, adding four more in the net by halftime.

MCHS players had 14 shots throughout the day, though they couldn’t quite finish off their many approaches.

The rough road against the 3A Western Slope League opponent was nonetheless an improvement in their coach’s eyes, whose major goal for the day was to make sure Bulldogs didn’t stop working until the end.

“They played much better and at least didn’t quit,” Boelen said.

MCHS next travels to Parachute Sept. 22 to face the Grand Valley Cardinals.

Moffat County, Craig Middle School runners take ups, downs at Eagle Valley Invite

GYPSUM — After their last competition on flat, suburban streets of Littleton, the grassy slopes of Gypsum Creek Golf Course were a change of pace to say the least for Moffat County High School runners, but Bulldogs kept their stride nonetheless.

MCHS boys placed fifth overall and girls sixth among 17 schools at Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invitational.

After gaining the gold at the previous week’s Liberty Bell Invite, Wyatt Mortenson took the silver this time, clocking in at 16:39.8, while the Classical Academy’s Mason Norman kept a strong lead throughout the 5K to win at 16:01.8 and set a new course record in the boys race.

Mortenson’s time at Eagle Valley wasn’t as strong as his personal record set at Liberty Bell, though that was to be expected in the contrast of terrains, he said.

The course at Gypsum Creek, roughly three miles around the links, was full of dips and inclines, with the middle segment the most grueling.

“The first mile is really quick, then the second mile is tough,” he said. “I really want to work on my splits. I ran a really fast first mile, but the second was a lot slower. I want to keep an even pace through the race. I think that’ll help.”

Four of the top five runners for the Dogs were from Hayden, including Chris Carrouth at 12th, Keaton Knez 45th and Theo Corrello at 54th in the field of 244 boys, while Coltyn Terry was fourth among his teammates at 47th overall.

“I was pretty proud of what I did today. Hard course, but I kept with everybody,” Terry said. “That second mile has some bad footing. All it is is potholes everywhere.”

The layout is one that defines the Devils’ race to prove a test to harriers, coach Todd Trapp said.

“There’s some rollers here, and about three-quarters of that second mile is just a real gradual uphill climb,” he said. “This is a really competitive meet with a lot of good 3A teams.”

Following their group win at Liberty Bell, MCHS girls faced strong competition from Steamboat Springs — the race won by the Sailors’ Maggi Congdon with a new course record — and Classical Academy’s team victory.

Lady Bulldogs’ usual order shuffled around at Eagle Valley, Halle Hamilton putting on a final burst of speed for 19th and 20:57.9, with Kelsey McDiffett doing the same for 21st, two-tenths of a second behind her.

McDiffett said she felt more prepared physically after an off day at Liberty Bell that was impacted by a small but crucial factor.

“I had two huge blisters at Liberty Bell when I put my spikes on, and it was much better today,” she said.

The girls’ usual pacesetter, Hayden’s Makenna Knez, was right behind McDiffett at 22nd.

“Halle really helps to push me and Makenna to do even better,” McDiffett said.

Emma Jones was 38th, and Lydia Berkoff took 50th for varsity points.

“I’m just coming off the tail end of a cold, so it wasn’t my best. Wasn’t great, wasn’t bad,” Berkoff said.

Berkoff hit a personal best during Liberty Bell, though the MCHS senior has set her sights on cutting even more time by breaking the 20-minute mark before season’s end.

“It’s pretty ambitious, but I think I can do it,” she said.

The change in finishing order from week to week is one coach Todd Trapp encourages, as running close together proves a strength for the team.

“Our top three all came within three seconds of each other, which is great for their success because any week it could be one of them and they’re all working for it,” he said.

Craig Middle School cross country hit the course as well for a two-mile run, with the boys team one point away from winning the entire shebang, led by Owen Gifford (6th), Boden Reidhead (10th), Noah Mortenson (12th), Grady Wooden (18th) and Ian Trevenen (25th).

CMS girls earned sixth as a team, with Brook Wheeler 15th, Joslyn Bacon 19th, Ariana Buchanan 22nd, Sarah Johnson 43rd and Brooklynn Kroese and Alyssa LeWarne neck and neck at 44th and 45th.

The turnout alone for the middle school level has been encouraging for coach Chad Backsen.

“We have 33 kids this year, the biggest team I’ve ever had,” he said. “They’re really a good, focused group and work really hard.”

MCHS and CMS distance runners will hit the same meet again during Friday’s Shana Ward Memorial Invite in Saratoga, Wyoming.

Craig firefighters hold cornhole tournament to raise money for scholarships

CRAIG — Craig Fire/Rescue held its first cornhole tournament Saturday, Sept. 8, at the department’s training tower, and the agency is hoping the event will grow into the future.

Craig Firefighter Nick Scheller said he and Fire Battalion Chief Troy Hampton helped organized the event to raise money for scholarships. The new event is an addition to the annual luau, which also raises money for scholarships. The goal was to expand the ability to provide educational funding for local students.

Half the money raised went to the first- and second-place winners of the tournament.

“We want to give back to our community,” Scheller said.

The tournament was originally planned for last year, but had to be postponed due to scheduling problems.

Scheller said he was glad to take some time away from a very busy fire season to do something relaxing that helps the community.

Craig Fire/Rescue offered thanks to Thunder Rolls Bowling Center for partnering to put on the event and for providing entertainment for the children.

Denver Broncos open season with win over Seattle Seahawks

The Broncos are 1-0 for the seventh consecutive season.

Using a dominant pass rush and huge production from rookie running backs Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, the Broncos overcame three Case Keenum interceptions to beat Seattle 27-24 Sunday afternoon.

The Broncos took the lead for good with 11:11 remaining on receiver Demaryius Thomas‘ four-yard touchdown catch along the right sideline.

Linebacker Von Miller had three sacks and two forced fumbles (one recovery).

Read the full story via The Denver Post. 

Craig Yahoos tee off for good cause Saturday

CRAIG – Fore!

The annual Yahoo Ball Drop and Golf Tournament on Saturday at Yampa Valley Golf Course was another hole-in-one kind of day for Boys & Girls Club of Craig and Craig Kiwanis Club.

An early morning drop-off of hundreds of golf balls by Mountain Air Spray across the 18th fairway determined the winners of the ball drop’s multitude of prizes. The white ball grand prize, four Denver Broncos tickets donated by Pete Pleasant, went to Ron Danner, while red ball grand prize winner Debbie Montgomery received $1,000 in cash and Spree Bucks.

Following that came the tourney itself. About 80 golfers came to participate in the tournament, according to Boys and Girls Club Director Dana Duran.

Duran said the money raised from the tournament is split between both organizations. The money is used to provide leadership programs for youths in the community. Boys & Girls Club has participated in the tournament for a few years now and on average the tournament usually raises $15,000.

The men’s first flight winners included leading duo Pat Grieve and Pete Heuer, and Gary Zulian and Moe Ortega in second for gross scores. First flight’s net winners were Joe and Shawn Brookshire and Jarod Lowther and Mike Armstrong.

The women’s flight was won by Jamie Eckroth and Lani Cleverly and Pam Horn and Teressa White in gross scores, with net totals going to Anita Grieve and Jackie Heuer and Helen Knez and Linda Showalter.

Jackie Heuer has been in the tourney since 2006, adding that she and her husband Pete like coming to YVGC because of the nature in the area. Golf courses in more metropolitan areas lack the wildlife, which she believes gives the Yampa Valley its special charm.

“You can see all kinds of animals here when you play,” Heuer said. “Elk, deer, wild birds … This is like a little oasis out here.”

The event began in the mid-2000s in honor of Jim Severson and fellow golfer Ralph Knez.

Julie Baker and Terri Jourgensen, Severson’s daughters, said their dad loved to play golf and was an active member of the community. The money that has been raised has also gone to scholarships, and the women of the Severson family are grateful so many golfers from the community have continued to support and participate in the tournament every year.

Gail Severson, Severson’s widow, said her husband loved golf so much that when he died, he requested to have his ashes spread across the golf course’s 15th hole.

“It was his favorite hole to play on,” Severson said. “He once saw a nest of bald eagles in a tree in one game, and it was one of his favorite memories on that hole.”

Unique Colorado trout saved from stream polluted by wildfire

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A unique type of trout thought to be extinct has been rescued from southwestern Colorado streams where ash from a wildfire threatened their survival, state officials said.

Nearly 60 Colorado River cutthroat trout were taken to a hatchery in Durango where they can be bred and then reintroduced into streams they once inhabited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Tuesday.

Their appearance is nearly identical to other Colorado River cutthroat, but they are genetically different, agency spokesman Joe Lewandowski said.

Tests done this year confirmed they were a unique type or "genetic lineage" found in the San Juan River basin. The San Juan is a tributary of the Colorado River.

"Biologists are pretty excited about it," Lewandowski said. "The point of it is to preserve the natural heritage that we have."

Ash from a wildfire north of Durango this summer, called the 416 fire, was washing into nearby streams and could have killed the fish from the San Juan genetic lineage. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife crews hiked to two remote creeks last month and removed the fish to save them.

Lewandowski said the offspring from the rescued fish could be released next year.

The San Juan genetic lineage has been found in at least one other location, a ranch south of Pagosa Springs, Lewandowski said.

The San Juan cutthroats are one of three distinct genetic lineages of the Colorado River cutthroat trout. Lewandowski said the other two are found in northwest and southwest Colorado.