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Avalanche training near Craig keeps crews ready

CRAIG — Gathering their avalanche tools after a short gear check, a small band of about 15 snowmobilers revved their engines Saturday, Jan. 12, and set off into the miles of snowy trails surrounding Black Mountain, hoping to learn some valuable lessons.

For more than a decade, volunteers with Moffat County Search and Rescue have been training near Craig — honing their skills in case the snow gives way and buries an unsuspecting backcountry visitor.

A handful of Colorado Parks and Wildlife rangers were also on hand Saturday to guide the volunteers, including members of Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club.

"There are basically three essential pieces of equipment when traveling in avalanche terrain," said Mark Lehman, acting manager of Yampa River State Park and a senior ranger with some 12 years of avalanche training experience. Lehman's tools of the trade include a beacon that can be set to broadcast or receive a homing signal.

"What this does is it sends out a signal at a regular interval, so if you were to get buried in an avalanche, then everyone involved in a search party can go to the search function so they can pick up on any signal," Lehman explained, as his fellow rangers and volunteers prepped their snowmobiles.

Once a strong signal is located, a long probe is deployed deep into the snow to better locate a potential victim.

"You can feel what the ground feels like with this," Lehman said as he extended a long probe similar to a tent pole. "If you were to catch a backpack, clearly it's a very different feel — a leg or a torso or someone's helmet will be a lot different feel than if you're just hitting the bottom or the dirt."

Once a potential victim is located, it's a race to dig them out carefully.

"Once you get a positive probe strike and hit something that doesn't feel like the ground, that's when you get to digging," Lehman said. "There's a tactical way of digging someone out as well."

Barry Barnes serves as captain of the Moffat County Search and Rescue team, and while he said he hasn't had to put his 14 years of avalanche training to use in a real-life scenario yet, both he and 1st Lt. Dale Clark are ready to act at a moment's notice.

"Response time is very important, because usually, you really don't have a lot of time," Barnes said. "If someone is stuck inside an avalanche, they don't have a lot of time."

Clark said if Moffat County Search and Rescue volunteers were activated, it might take crews an hour to reach Black Mountain from Craig.

"It's a half-hour here and then to unload, then another 20 or 30 minutes probably to get to some of the first avalanche areas up there," Clark said.

Amidst the group of volunteers was Dale Reed, who moved to the area from Texas in the spring.

Reed said avoiding avalanches wasn't the only thing he hoped to learn Saturday.

"Number one, how to ride a snowmobile," Reed said. "Being from Texas, the snow conditions are totally new to me. I'm an avid outdoorsman. Hopefully, when I'm out here, I'll be a little safer, so I won't have to call Clint and them to come find me."

Clint Scofield, a volunteer with Moffat County Search and Rescue, stood nearby and chuckled at Reed's half-joke.

"If somebody gets lost, we're usually the people they call," Scofield said. "Or, if someone is injured up there."

According to Colorado's Avalanche Information Center, avalanche conditions for the Steamboat Springs and Craig areas were moderate, meaning there are "heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features." Those engaging in snow sports are encouraged to "evaluate snow and terrain conditions carefully."

The moderate avalanche risk is the second of five risk categories, five being the highest risk.

The highest avalanche risk category in Colorado Saturday was seen in the North San Juan area, which was under a “considerable” risk of avalanche, the third of five risk categories.

Lehman said those considering backcountry excursions into the snow should know what conditions existed in the days and weeks before they plan to leave. Doing one's homework when it comes to how weather affects conditions on the ground, he said, is of vital importance.

"Educate yourself," Lehman said. "If you aren't familiar with the snow conditions, look at the forecast. If all you do is look at the forecast on the day you ride, you're kinda just getting a snapshot of what the conditions are that day. That's better than doing nothing at all, but if you look at the forecast every day, you can kind of get a better feel of the problems that existed early in the season that may come into play on how you're riding today."

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.

Kelsey McDiffett records new state time for Moffat County swimming

Moffat County High School swimming wasted no time in the new year getting another athlete qualified for the state championships.

Kelsey McDiffett secured her spot at state next month during Saturday’s Grand Junction Invitational, placing sixth and coming in just under the wire in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1 minute, 20.45 seconds to meet the 1:20.5 3A state standard.

The time was her best of the season but not the lowest she’s ever hit in the race, in which she clocked in at 1:18.36 last season to move her way to state.

McDiffett also went to state in the 200 individual medley in 2018, and she may be well on her way to double duty at the big time again, finishing 10th Saturday in the IM with a new MoCo season-best of 2:39.08.

She had the best individual placement for the Bulldogs with her breaststroke and also swam the method in the 200 medley relay, which took sixth as well. McDiffett, Katelynn Turner, Molly Neton and Alexa Neton are within one second of state, posting a 2:10.53 Saturday.

The group got the team’s best ranking of the day at Grand Junction, earning fifth in the 400 free relay, a 4:17.42 getting them closer to the 4:16 needed for state.

The same foursome also hit a state time in the 200 freestyle relay at Glenwood Springs, with Molly Neton making it to state in the 100 backstroke and 100 free in Montrose.

MCHS coach Meghan Francone said the entire team competed at their first meet in nearly a month with focus and drive, some even recovering from being sick during the winter break.

“They are swimming well and making good cuts despite some harder workouts both in and out of the pool this week,” she said.

Other Saturday highlights included Alexa Neton and Turner within a hair of each other in the 50 free, seventh and eighth, respectively, at 29.51 and 29.56. In the same race, freshmen Anna Cooper and Mackenzie Anderson placed 22 and 28.

“There is such positive competition amongst the girls which in the end makes them all better,” Francone said.

Alexa Neton also gained seventh in the length 500 free.

Meeker’s Jeni Kincher made her return to the pool with the Bulldogs, angling to join Molly Neton in the 100 free state race, leading the team in 16th Saturday, while Alyssa Chavez took 17th in the 200 free.

Kincher, Chavez, Allison Jacobson and Ellina Jones formed Moffat County’s relay team in the 200 free, taking 11th, and the secondary group in the 200 medley, gaining 10th.

Francone noted recent improvements by Jones have shown her to be more than capable of being a contender for state races.

“This group of girls is exceptional and makes me proud every day that I have the privilege to a coach for this district,” she said.

Moffat County High School robotics team gearing up for Denver

CRAIG — Some of Moffat County High School's smartest minds will be putting their heads together as robotics team number 7485 — the first ever to grace Craig's high school.

"We are a rookie team," said Moffat County School District Superintendent David Ulrich on Saturday. "I know our kids can compete and do this.”

The FIRST Robotics Competition (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, according to the group’s website. The competition pits student robotics teams from across the United States against one another in a pre-determined field designed to challenge robots built by each team from a universal kit.

This year's national high school competition is called “Destination Deep Space” and is sponsored by Boeing. Craig's team will have six weeks, beginning Jan. 4, to build their robots using the same universal kit provided to every team. A manual is provided, which incorporates all the rules of the competition, as well as the dimensions and particulars of the field on which the robots must operate.

Two potential team members watch the FIRST Robotics Competition kickoff Saturday, Jan. 5.

The team must complete a series of tasks in a simulated habitat on another planet. Robots and their handlers must brave sandstorms while loading and securing large, spherical cargo and flat, round hatch panels in a harsh environment. Handlers can operate their robots manually with a controller or autonomously using code. Teams score points by feeding the cargo and hatch panels to their robots through universal feeds. The robots are then tasked with loading the cargo and hatch panels onto a ground-level cargo ship, which automatically scores acquired cargo once it's secured correctly.

The field's second obstacle is a small, three-level rocket ship that must be filled with cargo and secured with hatch panels, suggesting robots must be able to deal with higher obstacles.

Other obstacles highlight the need for autonomous operation during a sandstorm; this is accomplished by placing a curtain over the team area so operators cannot see and must depend upon their robot's coded autonomy to complete tasks.

At least four students have dedicated themselves to the team at MCHS, but several others attended Friday who said they were thinking about joining.

Joshua Gumber, a 16-year-old junior at Moffat County High School, was one of those students definitely planning to help his school's robotics team win.

"I think it's really interesting and fascinating, and I'm really proud of our (school) board for bringing this to the high school," Gumber said.

FIRST robotics is one of several new initiatives being undertaken by Moffat County School District after the closure of East Elementary School in Craig to make room in the budget.

Superintendent David Ulrich speaks to students and parents at the FIRST Robotics Competition kickoff Saturday, Jan. 5.

"We are able to do new and better things for our kids because of the very tough choices that the board of education has been very supportive of, and FIRST is just one example," Ulrich said.

Gumber said he's taking an AP class on coding and plans to use his coding skills to help automate the school's first robot.

"I'm pretty fluent in JavaScript," Gumber said.

Though they are a rookie robotics team, Gumber said he's just hoping to have fun when the team travels to Denver for the regional finals in March.

"I think we'll do the best we can do," Gumber said. "We're a relatively small community with a small team. I'm just hoping to have some fun with it at the regional competition. Hopefully, we can come out with a win."

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.

‘Crazy horse dreams’: Moffat County native Mary Penner ends 2018 as cutting horse world champ

CRAIG — After the biggest moment of her life put her in the spotlight, Moffat County native Mary Penner hasn’t forgotten her home in Northwest Colorado.

“You can do anything you set your heart on,” Penner said. “Craig, Colorado, is my home. It made me who I am — a world champion. So never be afraid to spread your wings and chase even the craziest of dreams. You never know where you'll land. Trust God, pray often, call your parents, and believe in the underdog.”

Penner recently earned the title of 2018 National Cutting Horse Association World Finals Champion Rider in the $2,000 Limit category.

Penner graduated from Moffat County High School in 2011, then continued to Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she earned a degree in equine training and management in their colt starting program.

From there, she moved to Houston, Texas, and began riding and reining horses for a trainer. That job led her to work for Marcy Ver Meer, in Cave Creek, Arizona.

After Ver Meer retired, Penner began running a yearling cattle allotment for the Ox Ranch in Newman Park, Arizona. After cattle shipped to market in fall 2016, she received a call from Mike Wood of Mike Wood Performance Horses.

“He told me they were looking for some help, and I took that job,” she said. “I literally knew nothing about a cutting horse when I went to work for Mike Wood other than what cutting — using a horse to separate cattle from a herd — meant and where it originated — cowboys. So it was a huge learning experience.”

She worked that job for a year, “riding 2-year-olds and hauling trailers to shows,” she said. Then, at the end of 2017, she was given her big break when Wood asked if she’d like to try to make the top 15 in 2018. She was one of three world champions out of the Woods barn in 2018.

Penner, who currently lives in Arizona, hasn’t forgotten where she’s from and spoke to the Craig Press about her experiences.

Craig Press: How did you get your start in competitive riding?

Mary Penner: I honestly can't remember my first ride. Must have been when I was a little bitty kid. What I can remember is that as a kid, I always begged my childhood best friend to tag along to her 4-H meetings. Terra Rieser and I were wild horse crazy little kids, and her mom Marylin and friend Janet Pearcy ran the 4-H club in town. I'd stay the weekends at Terra’s and usually got to tag along to 4-H. I'd like to say that's where this world championship all started was right here in Moffat County 4-H. So I showed in the open and 4-H shows as a kid and usually borrowed a horse, because I didn't actually own my own until I was 13.

What does it mean to “haul”? What are your responsibilities?

Everything from saddling, dragging arenas, doctoring cattle, halter-breaking foals, getting horses ready to show for non-pros and my boss, riding 2-year-olds, hauling horses to shows, the general care of the horses, and so on. It's not a "canned"-type job description. If it needs done, I do it. There's obviously not just me; it's a whole team that jumps in wherever somebody needs help.

What is a typical day in the life of an assistant horse trainer like?

A typical day at home is a little different than at a show. At home, we get the arenas drug and watered, then bring the cattle up to the holding pens and start warming horses up for the boss. Then, he gets to work, and we just keep rolling through them. There's generally 75 to 100 head of horses — 2-year-olds through the aged amateur horses— on the place at a time. We ride them all, so busy days for us.

Then, at shows, we start early and get all the horses worked before the cattle come in for the first class of the day. Typically, we take 20 to 35 head to a show, which requires about 10 to 12 employees. Then, we show all day until it's done. I've been at shows where my class was the last one of the day, and I haven't walked into the herd until 5 in the morning. It can be long and tiring, but it's pretty fun.

Mary Penner in action during a cutting horse competition. (Courtesy Photo)

Tell us about the horses you show.

As horse trainers, we ride other people's horses. If we only rode our own, we'd be out of money! So, between my boss and myself, we show the non-pro and amateur horses first. That way, the horses are tuned in and ready to rock and roll for the clients. That's the whole point of having a trainer is to make sure those horses are ready to win you a check. The more money you win, the higher in the standings you get. And once you're in the top 15, you try like heck to stay there to make world finals.

What were your greatest achievements this year?

We hauled over 50,000 miles. I walked into the herd over a hundred times. I won almost 85 percent of the times I walked in the herd, almost $18,000 dollars in NCHA earnings. I won the Arizona Cutting Horse Association champion, the New Mexico Cutting Horse Association champion, the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association champion, and I won the NCHA World Champion title in the $2,000 Limit Rider.

Tell me about the horses you road for the win. 

This year, I showed a horse named Bless Chu Mate. She's an 11-year-old horse by a stud named Smart Mate out of a Chula Dual mare. We call her Chu Chu. She's owned by Dr. Gerald Dorros, from Wilson, Wyoming. Doc, as we call him, has been generous to haul four past assistant trainers in the Mike Wood barn to win the world in the $2,000 Limit Rider. He's an awesome guy. Then, at the world finals, I showed another one of his mares named Cyndi Cat out of WR This Cats Smart. She's also a total powerhouse. I really enjoy her.

What sets cutting horses competition apart from other rodeo-style events?

Riding a cutting horse is the most adrenaline I’ve ever felt. I ran barrels at the Steamboat rodeo while I was in college and let me tell you, for me, it doesn't hold a candle to cutters. They are so strong and so trained it's like handing your life to a horse, because once you've cut your cow and put your hand down, it's all up to them to make the rest happen. Both the mares I showed this year gave me their life. Every time I walked into the herd, they gave me everything they had. That's an amazing feeling knowing an animal is capable of doing that for you.

What challenges did you face this year?

The majority of setbacks for any person competing at any level are usually mental. For me, I fought myself all the time just trying way too hard. I was overriding my horse or trying too hard to control every move, and it turned out that, if I would have just let my horse work, I wouldn't have dealt with all that. I think for any type of athlete, it's all about keeping a positive attitude. I always have to remind myself of that: Stay positive.

What’s next?

It's been surreal. The next step is in God’s hands. As far as I'm concerned, after what I've been blessed with, He is in control.

 

Moffat County woman Mary Penner is the 2018 National Cutting Horse Association World Finals $2,000 Limit Rider. She stands between her parents Debby and Thom Penner, of Craig. (Courtesy Photo)

What else would you like readers to know?

Big thanks to my boss, Mike Wood, and Roper Curtiss for the opportunity and to Doc Dorros for believing in me.

More than anything, I'd really like to put a huge thank you out to my parents, Thom and Debby Penner, of Craig. They have been supporting my crazy horse dreams since I was a little kid, and without them, I couldn't have done this. Especially to my dad, for always answering the phone and talking me through the darkest days. He's my hero through and through. My mom is my biggest fan, and she deserves a medal for that. She's a saint.

My boyfriend, Cody Harris, for putting up with me this year. He stuck with me when I didn't deserve it. Also, to Marylin and Terra Rieser. They ignited this passion for horses in me as a kid, and it all began right in their backyard. I wish I could fit all the thank yous in here, but that would take up the whole article.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Fee changes at Colorado’s state parks in 2019 to secure parks for future generations, officials say

CRAIG — Users pay most of the cost of maintaining, staffing, and conserving Colorado's system of state parks and wildlife through fees and license purchases, the costs of which are about to rise.

“No one wants to pay more for essentially the same thing, but we’re playing catch-up at this point,” said Mark Lehman, acting park manager at Yampa River and Elkhead Reservoir state parks.

He added fees at state parks haven’t increased at the same rate as the consumer price index.
"With the passage of Senate Bill 18-143  (Future Generations Act), CPW is able to adjust pricing to meet the pressures of increased management costs and resource usage across the state," according to the CPW website.

Beginning Jan. 1, parks, fishing, hunting, and camping fees will increase across all of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s operations as part of the Future Generations Act.

The billed outlined 10 key goals the agency aims to achieve by 2025, facilitated through the increased revenue from entry, camping, and licensing fees.

In addition to conserving parks for future generations, Colorado Parks is enhancing visitor experiences, Lehman said.

"We want people to get the most bang for their buck," he said.

Visitors to Yampa River State parks will be expected to pay more as fees increase to help ensure parks are able to keep up with rising costs.

In the past few years, Yampa State parks have hosted Hike or Treat, and this year, the first haunted forest, as well as improved facilities infrastructure, such as trails, signs, and campgrounds.

This winter, park visitors are able to borrow snowshoes to trek 1.5 miles of groomed trails or strap on a pair of ice skates to enjoy a new skate rink.

Lehman hopes a request for funds to create a 3-D archery range will be successful in 2019.

State parks provide a place for healthy activity, and as an enterprising agency, staff are working to give people good reasons to visit, Lehman said.

Park fees

In 2019 anyone entering a park will "pay to play,” Lehman said.

Visitors walking or biking into the state's parks will need to purchase a new $4 daily walk-in pass or carry proof of their annual pass when walking into the park.

"We don't get a ton of walk-in access," Lehman said. “I don't expect to have a tremendous impact on our visitation."

Existing parks passes will increase beginning Jan. 1 at the following rates:

• Individual daily passes increase from $3 to $4.

• Daily vehicle passes increase from $7 to $8.

• Affixed vehicle passes increase from $70 to $80 and from $35 per vehicle to $40 per vehicle for multi-vehicle passes.

• Dog off-leash daily passes increase from $2 to $3.

• Dog off-leash annual passes increase from $20 to $25.

• Aspen Leaf Passes, for those older than 64, increase from $60 to $70 and from $30 per vehicle to $35 per vehicle for multi-vehicle passes.

• Columbine Passes, for low-income individuals, will remain at the current rate of $14 per year.

A new annual pass option — a $120 hangtag assigned to an individual and transferable among vehicles — will become available.

"The fact is that it costs more money to fill up your gas tank at the gas station than it costs in most fees," Lehman said.

Enforcement of the new fees will begin immediately, and while citations carrying fines of more than $50 are one consequence of not complying with the new fees, in Northwest Colorado, rangers intend to begin by educating the visiting public.

New programs and recreational opportunities at Yampa State Parks headquarters near Hayden aim to give visitors value for their money, says Mark Lehman, acting park manager at Yampa River and Elkhead Reservoir state parks.

"We recognize it's a change. We typically will default to education," Lehman said.

Camping reservations and fees

State parks in the Yampa Valley are also switching to a reservation-only system.

"You can reserve at the last minute using the online system or via the telephone. This allows people to make reservations on the way, and that allows for some flexibility, while ensuring that you have a site," Lehman said.

He understands people have questions about how it will work and points to the success over the past year of five parks — Cheyenne Mountain, Eleven Mile, Staunton, St. Vrain, and Trinidad Lake — that piloted the program.

"They saw an increase in camping, less staff time for filling out reservation cards," Lehman said.

The campground reservation fees of $10 per campsite is being discontinued, but most other camping fees are increasing between $4 and $10 per night, depending on amenities and location.

• Full hookup campgrounds will increase to $32 to $41 per night, depending on the site.

• Electrical campgrounds increase from $24 to $26 per night to $28 to $36 per night.

• Basic campgrounds increase from $18 to $20 per night to $22 to $28 per night.’

• Primitive campgrounds increase from $10 to $12 per night to $14 to $18 per night.

• Cabins and yurts increase from $80 to $240 per night to $90 to $250 per night.

“We looked around the community at what some of these private campgrounds are charging, and really, it’s still a pretty good deal to camp in a state park,” Lehman said.

To determine the specific cost of camping at each park and make reservations, visit cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks

"Campers who occupy a reservation-only campsite without a reservation will be subject to a citation. All campers must reserve a campsite prior to occupying the site," according to CPW's website.

Ranger staff in Northwest Colorado hope visitors will take responsibility for using the system, but when confusion arises, they will work the issue out.

"The person who made the reservation has the priority, which could mean packing someone up to have them move, and no one wants that," Lehman said.

The Future Generations Act also heralds increases in fishing and hunting license fees, with most resident licenses rising by $8.

"CPW receives federal matching dollars that will be increased by the fee changes applied to the purchase of any hunting and fishing license," Lehman said.

For a complete listing of all fee changes visit cpw.state.co.us/, then click 2019 fees.

Boater registrations

Another fee change approved by the state legislature is the Muscle Free Colorado Act, which provides additional support to the aquatic nuisance species program.

Mussels have caused billions of dollars in damage, especially in the upper Midwest and Lower Colorado River. Nearby states where mussel infestations exist include Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma.

A CPW inspector removes muscles from a watercraft during the inspection. Boaters will be asked to share more of the cost of inspection with the introduction of a new Aquatic Nuisance Species stamp in 2019.

"Colorado is one of just a few states in the country that doesn't have an infestation of adult zebra or quagga mussels in any of its waters," said Elizabeth Brown, invasive species program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in a new release.

She attributes that success to the watercraft inspection and decontamination prevention program, in place since 2008. The threat of boats transporting mussels is a growing concern.

In 2018, 51 boats were found with adult mussels, up from the previous record of 26 boats.

Boaters in Colorado state parks will be asked to further support the program through the purchase of an aquatic nuisance species stamp, in addition to paying annual registration on their crafts.

Stamps will cost $25 for residents and $50 for out-of-state visitors using motorized boats or sailboats. Stamps fees are in addition to existing registration fees, which vary based on the size of the craft.

The new fee will cover half the cost of the inspection program. The remainder will be paid by CPW and a variety of stakeholders, including federal agencies, local governments, water providers, and other partners.

Parks rangers staff an inspection station at Elkhead State Park from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the boating year. When inspectors aren't present, the gates are closed.

"It's an expensive program to run," Lehman said. He explained the stakes are high, as state parks have few water rights.

"We manage the water rights owned by others for recreation," he said. That means rights holders have the option to shut Elkhead Reseviour down to boating if they feel such activity is a threat to their infrastructure.

"That would be a huge loss to Northwest Colorado," Lehman said.

As the New Year begins and changes take effect, he hopes the community will recognize the State Parks Services’ efforts to operate in an upfront and transparent manner.

"Feel free to reach out to me or any of your local parks with any questions or comments," Lehman said.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

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Museum of Northwest Colorado discovery puts Craig football in the record books

CRAIG — Moffat County has always been big on football and frequently fields a formidable team.

But back in the late 1920s, Craig assembled a squad that accomplished something only a few programs in the nation can boast, and as a result of research undertaken by the Museum of Northwest Colorado, that team will soon be recognized by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

In 1926, the Craig High School Mavericks not only went undefeated all season, but also did not allow a single point to be scored against them.

Statewide, only Grand Junction and Englewood can make the same boast.

But the Mavericks weren't done at the end of 1926.

The following year, 1927, they repeated the feat, once again shutting out every team they met.

And incredibly, the next year, 1928, the team seemed poised to again blank every other squad it met, shutting out Steamboat Springs, Hayden, and Oak Creek in the first three games. The fourth week of the season, however, the team met a determined squad from Meeker, which "gave the Mavericks a dose of their own medicine" by handing them a 27-0 loss, according to Museum of Northwest Colorado Assistant Director Paul Knowles. When they finally fell to Meeker, Knowles said, the Mavericks had won either 14 or 17 consecutive games without allowing a single point to be scored against them.

Knowles said the uncertainty surrounding the number of consecutive shutouts arises from a 1927 Western Slope playoff tournament which, for some reason, never advanced to the finals.

In the semifinal game of the uncompleted series, the Mavericks met Glenwood Springs, and though they came out on top — the final score was 21-7 — they did allow Glenwood to cross the goal line.

Knowles said if the defunct Western Slope series game against Glenwood is discounted, the Mavericks' record is 17 consecutive shutouts; if that game is included, the number would be 14.

Either would be a CHSAA record, and Knowles said he has already sent his documentation of his discovery to the association, which currently lists Grand Junction as the record holder, with 13 consecutive shutouts.

Reached for comment on Monday, Bert Borgmann, assistant commissioner with CHSAA, verified he has received Knowles' notification and documentation of the record, and CHSAA will recognize it when it next updates its high school sports statistics.

"It'll get updated when we update the records, and we generally do that once a year," Borgmann said. "There's an awful lot of records that get set during the course of a year."

He added that, while receiving a new claim from so many years ago is not uncommon, word of Craig's heretofore undocumented football record came as a pleasant surprise.

"We get lots and lots of people who suggest something from that long ago, and if they bring us some substantiation, we add them," he said. "What's kind of fun is, when you get something like this, and you weren't expecting it. … This is something that had just been sitting out there in a museum that lots of people know about, but had never been recorded."

He said that, while some schools keep meticulous records, the most telling documention of past sporting accomplishments often comes from the historic newspapers of the day.

"There are lots of records out there. Some schools never kept records; others were meticulous," he said. "But it turns out, the most meticulous record keepers were the reporters covering these events."

Knowles agreed, pointing to historic copies of "The Maverick," Craig High School's student newspaper, as one of his main research sources.

Knowles' research also turned up another interesting fact about football in the Yampa Valley. Most people from the area know Craig's football rivalry with Steamboat Springs has been around for quite a while, but they might not know it is the fourth oldest such rivalry in the state.

The Craig-Steamboat rivalry has been going on for 108 years, behind the Delta-Montrose rivalry, 111 years; the La Junta-Trinidad rivalry, 112 years; and the Pueblo Centennial-Pueblo Central rivalry, 125 years.

This rivalry will also be added when CHSAA updates its records.

Knowles said the discovery surprised him as much as anyone.

"I'd read a report that, in 1926, we had a pretty good football team, so I looked into it and found out it was a little more than 'pretty good,'" he said. "… This has just been sitting there for 90 years, and we just uncovered it. It shows the kind of research we're doing here, and it gives the community something else to be proud of."

Contact Jim Patterson at 970-875-1790 or jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Give the gift of golf at 16 different Colorado courses

For anyone unsure of what to get the golfer in the family this holiday season, the Rocky Mountain Golf Card provides a sampling of some of Colorado's fantastic courses.

The card, which sells for $99, includes one round of buy-one-get-one-free golf at 16 courses within the high country resort communities and the Western Slope. The card is good throughout the 2019 season, and golf enthusiasts can save up to $1,100 if the card is used at every course.

"There are similar discount golf card products along the Front Range and on the Western Slope, but nothing that also encompassed the golf courses in the resort communities," said Holli Snyder, event manager for Colorado Mountain News Media.

Even those who have a favorite course or are a member at one of the many clubs in their area are encouraged get out and explore new courses with spouses, friends, or out-of-town guests.

"I purchased a couple of the 2018 cards for myself and thoroughly enjoyed it," said Alan Sandberg, a golfer from Avon. "In some cases, you make your money back after playing just one course."

"Golf can be a bit pricey out here. The Rocky Mountain Golf Card allows you to experience a new course and see a different part of Colorado," said Nate Corsbie, head golf professional at Eagle Ranch Golf Club. "Make a weekend out of it, and play a few courses you've never played before while taking advantage of the savings.

The 2019 Rocky Mountain Gift Card is on sale now until the limited number of cards sell out.

For more details visit rockymountaingolfcard.com.

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Moffat County girls basketball rebounds with Round 2 win at Demon Invite; boys have hellish 1st half in semifinals

Moffat County High School’s Halle Hamilton puts up a jumper against Faith Christian. (Photo by Andy Bockelman)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A little bit of second-half faith elevated one Moffat County High School basketball squad Friday night, while the other couldn’t recover from a weak start that haunted them the rest of the evening.

MCHS hoops teams both moved to 1-1 within the Demon Invitational hosted by Glenwood Springs as each Bulldog bunch faced off with the Faith Christian Eagles.

After a devastating loss in the tournament’s opening round Thursday to Cañon City, Lady Dogs were prepared to make some changes in the consolation segment.

It took them some time to build up much of a score against the Eagles, with only two free throws by Tiffany Hildebrandt giving them points early in the game, but a three-pointer by Halle Hamilton got the ball rolling on offense, as the first quarter ended with MoCo behind 11-5.

The Bulldog D, on the other hand, was smothering opponents, and though it was giving Faith Christian too many opportunities at the line, it also slowed down the Eagles bit by bit.

A full-court effort by Hamilton saw her snatch an inbound pass late in the half to briefly tie it at 18, though Faith led 21-18 at halftime.

Out of the locker room, Bulldogs were a whole new team as Madie Weber, Jaidyn Steele and Jenna Timmer began nailing inside shots left and right, while Hildebrandt and Quinn Pinnt kept their feet on the ground on the other end, absorbing two charges from the increasingly physical Eagles.

“Playing way better teams like this, it really forces us to see what we need to work on,” Pinnt said.

A narrow margin of 26-24 led to a greater lead for Moffat girls as they were selective with their shots and added 16 more points for the 42-34 win.

“They played with patience, didn’t foul in the second half and started hitting their shots,” coach Jim Loughran said.

Hamilton led scoring with 14 points and a pair of triples. Timmer had six, Hildy and Kinlie Brennise five and Steele four.

Pinnt’s four points came from back-to-back stints at the charity stripe, hitting every shot.

“When I get to the line, I try not to think about it too much,” she said. “I’ve just gotta clear my hand and think that it’s a normal game.”

Moffat boys were also looking for a victory over Faith Christian after a successful Thursday evening, 63-62, against Denver Christian to move on to the next slot of the tournament’s championship segment.

Though they knew the Eagles would be tough after the squad shut down host Glenwood the night before, Bulldog boys had to sympathize with the Demons as Faith mixed up the gameplan with long and short shots alike to lead the first period 18-8 before a 36-17 half.

“That may have been the worst first half we’ve ever had,” coach Eric Hamilton said. “Once they started playing team ball, it started getting better.”

MCHS was able to neutralize the Eagles’ offense for much of the third quarter, but when they started coming back, they did so with relish, putting together an eight-point run that ended the period 53-29, Faith Christian.

Coach Hamilton kept rotating the roster to keep players fresh, but even as the Dogs had their best quarter scoring 16 in the finale, the Eagles had no hesitation getting into the paint, ending the game 77-45.

MoCo’s Wesley Counts picked up 15 points in the defeat, tying Faith’s Graham for the top score honors, each of them gaining a trio of three-pointers.

MCHS teams will each face the Alamosa Mean Moose Saturday as Lady Bulldogs strive for fifth-place and boys look to end the tourney 2-1 ranked third.

2018-19 Regular-Season Girls Basketball Tournaments Glenwood Springs Invitational

2018-19 Regular-Season Boys Basketball Tournaments Glenwood Springs Invitational

Both head coaches said they hope to see a full game in the third round, as players’ abilities to go for the long haul will be tested.

“It’ll be tough, that’s for sure,” Loughran said.

Moffat County girls hoops has trying time with Cañon City Tigers

Moffat County High School’s Quinn Pinnt puts up a layup against Cañon City. (Photo by Andy Bockelman)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — When it comes to early season lessons, Moffat County High School basketball coach Jim Loughran would rather his players learn from a bitter but enlightening defeat than an easy win.

Still, that didn’t make the process any easier for MCHS girls Thursday.

Lady Bulldogs took a hard loss to start the Glenwood Springs Demon Invitational with a 60-32 rout by Cañon City.

The opening round of the three-day tournament didn’t look too unbalanced if you only stayed for the first eight minutes. MoCo girls kept the pace with the Tigers throughout the first quarter, holding a 9-7 lead with early buckets by Quinn Pinnt, Tiffany Hildebrandt, Halle Hamilton and Madie Weber.

Just before the period buzzer, Kate Tedquist hit the match’s first three-pointer to put the Tigers ahead 10-9. Thus kicked off a five-point run for Cañon before Hildy hit a post shot and Kinlie Brennise drained a free throw.

The going got rougher from there as the Tigers added another 15 points before a timeout with less than two minutes left in the half. Brennise nailed a layup to halt the Bulldog dry spell, to which her opponents promptly responded with another field goal, the scoreboard reading 32-14 at halftime.

Lady Dogs had their best stretch in the third quarter, which started with Pinnt powering into the paint and knocking her defender to the floor while still gaining the score to show the Moffat offense was still a force.

The Tigers weren’t too threatened — heading into the finale, both teams had put up 15 points and their lead was comfortable at 47-29.

With another 10 unanswered points by Cañon City and a comeback looking less and less likely, Loughran cycled through more of his roster to see what they could do.

The final four minutes was all about the reserves as Brittnee Meats, Jenna Timmer and Stephenie Swindler were joined by freshmen Reese Weber and Rylie Felten in their first varsity suit-ups.

The Tigers also worked in more of their players, getting only one more triple from there as Timmer added a layup with the and-one.

The battle for the ball was fiercer at that juncture than it had been all day as each side kept at it for pride.

Though she was in and out during the full game, Swindler noted the final minutes were both challenging and fun.

“I did better than I thought I was going to do,” she said. “I think my mindset is always on defense because I’m better at that, but we all wanted to keep our heads up and do our best.”

Jerika Moore put together a breakout day for the Tigers with 23 total points — including seven three-pointers as part of 10 perimeter baskets her team had — while Hamilton put in the only triples for the Dogs, two as part of eight overall points.

Pinnt and Hildy each scored seven.

The loss put the Dogs at 2-2 and moved them to the consolation bracket of the tournament, next scheduled to meet Faith Christian at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

2018-19 Regular-Season Girls Basketball Tournaments Glenwood Springs Invitational

Even so, Loughran said the defeat was almost more valuable than a win. Early season tournament honors are a minor concern when the long game is to build skills little by little and work out the bugs to sweep through the 3A Western Slope League schedule starting in January and keep going into the postseason.

Loughran said improvement will only come from playing teams that never let up on them, and Cañon City was a much more worthwhile game than the blowout win MCHS had a week earlier against the 2A Sargent Farmers at the Mountain Top Classic.

Besides taking on a 4A school, the Tigers were a formidable opponent regardless of size. Their only loss before the Demon Invite was a narrow one, 41-39, to Liberty.

“They were lightning-quick. They played a fast-paced style and anticipated us well,” Loughran said of Cañon City. “It’s a good lesson because that’s how we want to be.”

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A new wellness program looks to bring ‘Yoga Awareness’ from Hawaii to Craig

CRAIG — In December, instructors hope to bring a special weeklong wellness program to Craig and introduce the community to one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems.

According to WebMD.com, Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda for short, was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago and is "based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease, but treatments may be geared toward specific health problems."

Dana Armstrong, who teaches massage therapy at CNCC, traveled to Hawaii in August for instructor training from Yoga Awareness owners Tedd Surman and Masumi Muramatsu.

Through Yoga Awareness, Surman and Muramatsu offer daily yoga and Ayurveda classes, private instruction, workshops, training, and certified Yoga Teacher training in Hawaii and Japan.

Since 2002, Surman has studied in India with an Ayurvedic doctor and established a successful Ayurveda practice in Hawaii. He now shares his wealth of knowledge and practical Ayurvedic experience.

In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine and, as such, there's no national standard training, certification program, or Food and Drug Administration review or approval of the practice.

However, lack of approval from the Western medical establishment doesn't deter people seeking answers or additional treatment offered by Eastern medicine.

"I came to wellness through illness. It's been a passion of mine," Armstrong said. "Yoga is this big thing now, and there are many kinds. Tedd said 'we do Yoga.' He doesn't like to put it under a title. He looks at each individual to find out their pain and then individualizes the moves for each person. I have never had a teacher like that before."

To help Armstrong continue her treatment — while also offering a wellness program not normally available in small communities — the couple decided to bring weeklong wellness retreats to Craig beginning in December.

Armstrong believes the wellness program has the potential to help anyone with pain, injuries, and mental stress, as well as the limitations associated with certain diseases, including cancer.

"You could be brand new to yoga. …He doesn't claim to cure anyone, but he does say that he does work miracles," Armstrong said.

The first of three retreats is planned for Dec. 16 through 22 and will be held at the Colorado Northwestern Community College Bell Tower Building. It will be limited to four participants and cost $1,500 per person.

Each seven-day retreat includes two hours with a 30-minute private yoga session with Muramatsu, then a 90-minute consultation and Ayurvedic treatment with Surman.

"What I received from them was helpful. I came back excited, beaming, and healthy in mind, body, and soul. I have noticed a huge difference," Armstrong said.

She added the price reflects the small number of people.

"Treatments in Denver would be nearly double. The value is priceless, because it can be healing, preventative, to maintain health and prevent illness, and I think that you can't put a price on that," Armstrong said.

WebMD recommends "always talk to your doctor before you try Ayurveda or any other alternative medical treatment."

To better understand the wellness program Surma provided additional insight by answering a series of questions about Ayurvedic via email.

Craig Press: What is yoga and Ayurveda?

Tedd Surma: Yoga and Ayurveda are comprehensive and profound teachings from India. These ancient health and healing methods are now applied in the context of our modern Western lifestyles. They will increase your self-awareness and personal growth.

Yoga is the state of focus and peacefulness, which gives us a healthy body and a strong mind. We practice asana for nourishing your body, pranayama for expanding your life-force and meditation for strengthening your mind.

Ayurveda means to “know your life” and has been the Indian health-care system for over 5,000 years. With deep roots in Indian culture, Ayurveda is a great alternative to Western medicine, using the four pillar principles of food, lifestyle, sleep, and relationship for balanced health. The purpose of Ayurveda is to reveal our natural state of happiness and contentment by reducing our suffering. … During this study, you will receive a comprehensive introduction of Ayurveda, then analyze “prakrtti,” our natural state and “vikrtti,” our unbalanced state. With this clarity, you can start developing simple and effective ways in your daily life to bring yourself and family from imbalance to balanced health, and then to maintain your natural state of health.

Why is yoga complimentary to Ayurveda?

Yoga and Ayurveda go hand-in-hand for personal health care. These are the oldest and time-proven health care systems. Yoga is to purify the mind and Ayurveda the body. A yoga private prepares the body therapeutically by using specific yoga movements before starting your Ayurveda treatments. When applied together, Ayurveda and yoga are two powerful methods of transformation for health and healing. Ideal for chronic problems, such as neck and shoulders, low back, sacrum, hips, knees, and feet.

What do you provide during the wellness program?

Yoga Awareness offers a daily series of Ayurveda treatments tailored to your specific needs, supporting you with the time-proven healing methods of Ayurveda. The wellness programs are a holistic approach, enabling us time for developing a greater understanding of the health problem (vikrtti) and systematically balance dosha-s (vata, pitta, kapha).

A free online assessment (is available) to understand your Ayurveda needs and goals. This gives you an opportunity to meet us, verify, and ask questions about your program, and also for us to assess your readiness.

Svedhana (heat) treatments are the application of a medicated bolus heated and applied with oils to specific areas of the body. It is therapeutic for bone and ligament conditions to areas such as neck, shoulders, scapulars, hips, knees, ankles, and hands. The treatments also reduce cellulite on the back of thighs and the fatty tissue behind the neck. Ideal for low backache (lumbar), midback hunching (kyphosis), neck pain (cervical), spinal lordosis and spondylosis.

Samana (body extremities) treatments are applied only to the extremities of your body (head, arms and hands, legs, feet). It is a combination of an abhyanga oil bath treatment and some svedhana heat treatment when needed. This treatment will nourish you, restoring your natural luster and beauty from aging. A regular wellness program will give you a feeling of stability, protection, and wellness. Assessment and hot towel wipe-down included (15 mins).

Yoga private: individual private yoga sessions specifically tailored for students' current condition. We apply the appropriate application of yoga for each student, within the context of a private session. Practicing to your comfortable maximum ability is the special effort for balanced transformation. The yoga private prepares your body therapeutically by using specific yoga movements before starting your Ayurveda treatments. When applied together, Ayurveda and yoga are two powerful methods of transformation for health and healing. Ideal for chronic problems, such as neck and shoulders, low back, sacrum, hips, knees and feet.

Why bring the program to Craig?

Our purpose is to share these profound teachings and healing methods of yoga and Ayurveda worldwide. Colorado is a very central location for mainland America to reach us, rather than everyone having to come to Hawaii. We are very grateful to have Dana Armstrong inviting us to come to Colorado twice a year. She is wanting to personally benefit from our services, and also, she is very keen to have other people in her community experience this type of education and healing.

Who would most benefit from your program?

Wellness programs are a daily commitment of yoga, Ayurveda, and food nutrition. Designed for health conscious people, these are personalized and effective methods of transformation for natural health. Ayurveda has an accumulative effect, and the benefits often are noticeable a few months after.

The Ayurveda treatments and self-care home programs will actually disturb your existing disturbance. It’s like lifting the rug and sweeping underneath. So the best time to make these changes is when you’re feeling happy and healthy, so being able to comfortably withstand the transformation.

Remember that it takes years, maybe even a lifetime, to create our disturbances, and when Ayurveda is applied consistently for a short period of time than the problems which would normally keep re-occurring start to miraculously disappear. People don’t usually notice these changes, because they are gradual, which is a very healthy way to transform, and these transformations are life-changing. Ayurveda is not like taking a pill to cover the symptoms of a headache; rather, it removes the cause of the symptoms. Before every treatment, we are recording your progress, just so that we can review this magical transformation and discuss it with you later.

So, with this in mind, please don’t wait until the problem is raging, like a fire, because we then spend so much time just helping control the fire, which, of course, we will do when required. However, we would prefer to work holistically with clients to regularly maintain their state of ease (prakrtti) rather than always fighting their dis-ease (vikrtti).

After their time with you, what sort of investment in time, energy, and money is required for treatment to be effective?

Our purpose is to help students develop a practice with the skillful application of yoga and Ayurveda.

Yoga has a good effect on the body and mind. Practicing yoga regularly contributes to a sense of well-being by incorporating a well-sequenced practice of asana (body), pranayama (breath), and meditation (mind). A regular practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation gives you a better understanding of your weakness and strengths.

When the body and mind start to purify, we then experience a state of mindfulness and clarity. Each person is unique and has different interests of health, abundance, aspirations, and beliefs. Yoga and Ayurveda give us this clarity to focus, strengthen, and move towards our chosen interests.

What else would you like readers to know about Yoga Awareness? You and Masumi?

Yoga Awareness is an umbrella for certified teachers and students in Hawaii and Japan who study in the Krishnamacharya lineage. We have been fortunate to receive the Yoga Teachings of Patanjali and the many ways in which these teachings have been transmitted through T.Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). It is now our opportunity to share these gifts with you in Colorado.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.