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Hayden community mourns death of high school wrestling coach

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Chad Jones represented Hayden High School when he was a senior by bringing home a state wrestling title, and he influenced his community by passing on his love of sports to a new generation of athletes as a youth football and wrestling coach.

On Tuesday, Jones was remembered by many as a man who seemed to have an impact on the entire town.

“He touched a lot of people’s lives in a very positive way, both young and old,” said Nick Planansky, who worked under Jones as an assistant coach for the Hayden High School wrestling team. “He loved his coaching. He was there night and day for the kids, and anytime anybody needed anything he was there for them.”

The 39-year-old Jones, who took the job as the Tigers head wrestling coach in 2012, died Monday afternoon in his Hayden home.

The news passed through the small West Routt County community Tuesday, leaving many local residents saddened by the news.

“I don’t think there is person who is not affected by this,” said Ashley McMurray, a friend and town council member. “His goal in life was to make kids smile, and he would do anything to do that — it made him happy.”

Jones graduated from Hayden High School in 1997 and won a state wrestling title in the 171-pound class that same year. Shortly after high school, he started coaching youth wrestling and peewee football.

“He was into peewee football and wrestling since just a few years after high school,” said former Hayden wrestling coach and athletic director Ty Zabel. “Chad was all about the kids, always. He would help them out if they were having trouble with their school work, and he always had their back.”

Jones also loved getting outdoors, normally with a fishing rod, whenever possible. He also loved being part of the Hayden community.

“Chad was my godfather. He was there when I was born in the hospital with my dad, and him and my dad smoked cigars celebrating after I was born,” said Christian Carson, who was coached by Jones throughout his wrestling career. “I grew up with Chad. We would go fishing together, we would do everything … He wasn’t just my coach, he was a family member.”

Carson said Jones was there for him in 2017 when he blew out his hamstring during his final high school football season and then struggled to get back into shape for wrestling.

“Chad was always there in your ear whether he was talking to you or yelling from across wrestling floor,” Carson said. “He told us that we were winners no matter what the scoreboard says and no matter what anyone says as long as you know in your heart that you gave 110 percent."

With Jones' support, Carson worked hard his senior season, and by the time the state championships rolled around, he was not only back in shape but found himself fighting for a state title.

Of course, Jones was in Carson’s corner as he battled in the 195-pound class at the state finals. Carson lost the match to John Mall's Jason Murphy, 3-2, but Jones was there to put the match into perspective.

“After I lost my finals match my senior year and after I was all done crying, he told me, ‘You know what a dollar and a state title will get you in Denver?’" Carson recalls. “You can buy a cup of coffee.”

On the mat, Soroco wrestling coach Jay Whaley and Jones were opponents, but the two shared a love of wrestling and a love for teaching kids.

“It’s a huge loss and my heart is broke over the whole situation. I knew him as a competitor, I knew him as a coach and I knew him, mostly, as a friend,” Whaley said.

“The one thing I always appreciated about Chad is that he knew it was all about wrestling and the kids,” Whaley said. “We supported each other when we had home dual meets. We went to each other’s home tournaments, and we knew in order for wrestling to survive in Routt County we needed to support each other.”

Whaley said he had talked to Jones a few weeks ago about the upcoming season.

“I feel bad for all those kids in that community,” Whaley said. “I feel bad for the whole wrestling community here. ”

Jones' father Mike and younger brother Justin still live in Hayden. His younger sister, who now lives in Colorado Springs, fought through tears Tuesday when asked how she would want community members to remember her brother.

“I would want people to know just how proud he was of his own kids, just how proud of Piperjo and Saben he was, and just — from my own private conversations — how much he looked up to my dad,” Davis said. “I would want them to know just how proud he was of all the kids that he coached and how proud he was to be a part of the community in Hayden.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

Bulldog Sports — Week of Sept. 19, 2018

Wednesday

5:15 p.m. Craig Parks and Recreation Doak Walker third- and fourth-grade tackle football at Woodbury Sports Complex, 250 Mack Lane

Thursday

None

Friday

1 p.m. Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School cross country at Shana Ward Memorial Invitational in Saratoga, Wyoming

3 p.m. Colorado Northwestern Community College men’s soccer at College of Southern Nevada in Henderson, Nevada

Saturday

9 a.m. Craig Middle School volleyball vs. Rifle and Soroco at Rifle

9 a.m. Craig Middle School football at Rifle

11 a.m. Moffat County High School boys soccer vs. Grand Valley High School in Parachute

Noon Moffat County High School C-Team volleyball vs. Gunnison at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

1 p.m. Moffat County High School junior varsity volleyball vs. Gunnison at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

1 p.m. Moffat County High School varsity football vs. Pagosa Springs at Olathe High School

1 p.m. Colorado Northwestern Community College men’s soccer at College of Southern Nevada in Henderson, Nevada

2 p.m. Moffat County High School varsity volleyball vs. Gunnison at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

5 p.m. Moffat County High School wrestling prime rib dinner at Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

5:30 p.m. Humane Society of Moffat County bowling fundraiser at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 900 Industrial Ave.

Sunday

None

Monday

4:30 p.m. Moffat County High School junior varsity football vs. Meeker at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

7 p.m. Moffat County High School Homecoming Powder Puff Football at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

Tuesday

4 p.m. Moffat County High School boys soccer vs. Aspen at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

4:15 p.m. Craig Middle School football vs. Saratoga, Wyoming at CMS, 915 Yampa Ave.

4:30 p.m. Craig Middle School cross country at Soroco Invitational in Oak Creek

5:15 p.m. Craig Parks and Recreation Doak Walker fifth- and sixth-grade tackle football at Woodbury Sports Complex, 250 Mack Lane

Moffat County commissioners briefed on Amendment 73 by superintendent

CRAIG — Moffat County School District Superintendent Dave Ulrich gave the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners a presentation about Amendment 73 during the body’s regular meeting, held Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Ulrich said Amendment 73, if approved by voters, will help fund Colorado schools by increasing income taxes for C corporations and decreasing property taxes for most business property owners, farmers, and ranchers.

“I want you to have confidence and facts surrounding Amendment 73,” Ulrich said. “Others in the county will look to you as folks who are informed on the issues that will appear on the ballot.”

If approved, Amendment 73 would generate $2.6 million for the Moffat County School District annually, Ulrich said. Some school districts in Colorado are still struggling in the wake of the Great Recession, and though Ulrich acknowledged this year’s district budget has recovered to levels similar to pre-recession years, he added it was a long process that took years.

If the amendment passes, it will increase the school district’s budget by approximately 10 percent, Ulrich said, which would be a “game changer.” He added he plans to continue promoting the amendment across Moffat County.

Under the amendment, Ulrich said, only 8 percent of Moffat County’s population would see an increase in income taxes, and those are people who earn $150,000 or more per year. Additionally, he said, Colorado has the fourth-lowest concentration of C corporations in the nation, and the amendment would raise taxes on such corporations by 1.37 percent. Statewide, the tax increase would raise an estimated $1.6 billion annually, specifically for education.

As an example, Ulrich said that for the Moffat County School District to generate funds equal to those the amendment would supply, it would have to ask voters for a 6.9 percent mill increase, something he said he never wants to do.

The school district would use the money based on community needs, Ulrich said. Examples of such needs include programs supporting mental health and safety, as well as more opportunities for students.

Commissioner Ray Beck said he encourages county residents to do their own research into the ballot issues to make an informed decision, adding the county will try to remain neutral on all ballot issues.

In other business, county commissioners:

• Accepted a bid of $20,250 from from Intrawest, a Fountain-based company, for landfill tire disposal. Other bids came from Colorado Tire Recycler, a Denver-based company, for $19,375; and Liberty Tire Recycling, a Utah-based company, for $29,700.

• Approved a grant from Colorado Department of Local Affairs for $10,000 to fund cleaning at the Irish Canyon Rest Stop.

• Approved an agreement with Ellen Dana to clean the restrooms at Irish Canyon Rest Stop for $300 per month for a term of six months. Natural Resources Department head Jeff Comstock said that, after meeting with the Bureau of Land Management — which manages the rest stop — both agreed the county should help, and it was a reasonable request. The county wants the restrooms to operate even during winter months, because they are important to visitors in the area. Commissioner Don Cook added Dana is not a county employee, but rather an independent contractor.

• Signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 17 through 23 as Constitution Week. Daughters of the American Revolution Augusta Wallihan Chapter member Ann Dodd said it is fitting for Americans to remember the important document, which helped define the nation.

• Approved a letter of support to apply for a grant from the NRA Foundation to help make improvements on the trap shooting field a few miles west of Craig.

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 volleyball doubles down with weekend games in Cedaredge, Delta

Moffat County High School volleyball faced a lengthy, high-intensity day Saturday, feeling the effects of an abundance of travel after meeting not one but two of the 3A Western Slope League’s tougher teams.

MCHS girls took 3-0 losses to both Cedaredge and Delta as part of a doubleheader that kept the Lady Bulldogs even busier than usual.

Beginning the day in Cedaredge, a bout with the Bruins was a tall order, and the hosting team took wins of 25-15, 25-17 and 25-11, the first of two sweeps Cedaredge would have Saturday, also gaining a victory over Roaring Fork later in the day.

Among the highlights for the Lady Dogs were five kills by Jaidyn Steele and a pair of aces from the serving line for Stephenie Swindler.

Moffat County promptly got back on the bus to head to Delta in the hopes that they would be warmed up against the Panthers, who themselves were playing their third game in five days.

A strong opening set saw MoCo take it to 25-22, though their energy waned from there with 25-13 and 25-10 losses.

Libero Terry Gillett provided 12 digs against Delta, while Tiffany Hildebrandt notched five kills and Bailey Lawton and Faith Morgan combined for seven total aces.

MCHS volleyball is back at home Saturday, hosting Gunnison, with games at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

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.

Moffat County football falls to Battle Mountain in dogfight road game

EDWARDS — Maybe it was due to two teams with canine nicknames or perhaps that one of them continually ran straight up the middle, but a lot of dog piles were on display during Friday’s matchup between Moffat County High School and Battle Mountain.

Yet, only one side could come out the top of the heap.

MCHS suffered the first defeat of its season with a 36-14 loss to the Huskies in the Bulldogs’ first away game.

Dogging it, for better or worse

The normal travel woes were part of what was working against the Dogs during their first time on the road this fall, though it was far from their only issue upon kickoff.

MCHS received only to go three and out to start, while the Huskies, seeking to rebound from a 47-6 beatdown by Basalt the week before, quickly gaining traction in the run game on the strength of Hezekiah Gongaware, who looked to be proving himself for any scouts in the stands with a 40-yard dash that got Battle Mountain to Moffat’s red zone.

Moments later, Gongaware dove over the goal line from three yards out for the first of many Husky touchdowns.

The Battle Mountain offense came back out in no time thanks to an interception of MCHS quarterback Colby Beaver by Husky Garrett Anderson. Gongaware broke loose again for a rush that would have been another TD had an illegal block not kept the Huskies at the Bulldog 18.

The MCHS defensive line wasn’t having any more of Gongaware’s tactic of ramming right through them, so the Huskies made other moves as QB Traver Goldberg scrambled around them for a 10-yard score.

Another three-and-out led to a bad punt attempt for the Bulldogs as Battle Mountain took over on their 25, getting closer and closer to another TD as the first quarter closed 14-0.

The second period proved to be the Dogs’ most solid as they stood their ground from six yards out to stop the Huskies from converting a fourth down. Though they were forced to punt again, Kameron Baker got the ball back soon with a fumble recovery.

Battle Mountain gained their own turnover shortly after, but a high snap to Goldberg led to almost 20 yards lost and a sack at the 2-yard line. The Huskies punted, but the Dogs marched right back into their territory as Kevin Hernandez sauntered his way to a TD on an 18-yard draw play to make it 14-7.

The Huskies’ next drive stopped short when Dagan White gained his second interception in as many games, yet neither team could do much beyond trading punts. A Hail Mary by Beaver with two seconds on the clock in the half was picked off by Battle Mountain’s Eric Biggs, quickly brought down by incensed receiver Victor Silva.

Bulldogs returned to the stadium determined to make the rest of the game theirs. Unfortunately, no one informed Biggs, who fielded the kickoff return for more than 80 yards and what would ultimately be the game-winning touchdown, with Goldberg scoring the following two-point conversion.

And, the Dogs found that when it rains, it pours, as running backs Hernandez and Teeter came off the field at various intervals with small injuries, while Angel Rodriguez sat out the second half altogether with a possible head injury.

With a shoulder issue from the week before, Cale Scranton was out nearly the full game apart from taking the snap and holding the ball for PAT’s by Joahan Quezada.

Quezada did get a chance at another extra point in the game’s final minute, as Beaver and his receivers started to pick up steam late in the game, with a much-needed fourth down catch by Joe Campagna and a tricky grab right in the end zone by Connor Etzler on the 28-yard throw from Beaver, his longest of the night.

Still, the game was already done at that point, with the Huskies’ Nick Walter scoring twice in the fourth quarter. The first came off a three-yard rush and the second was a pick-six that served as an unamused response to an interception for the Dogs by Silva.

By the numbers

Beaver picked up 93 passing yards, hitting seven of 25 targets, as well as three interceptions. The Bulldog QB also kept the ball eight times, amassing 17 yards.

Jamie Nelson said he is hoping to see Beaver scramble as the season goes on but also be able to better discern when he needs to get out of the pocket.

“Some of those plays were designated and others not, but with the way we’re doing things now, Colby has the ability to run a little bit more,” he said.

Hernandez rushed for 67 yards and caught for six, while Teeter gained 35 on the ground.

Drake Doherty only had two carries for seven yards, but both occasions were crucial to move the chains as the lineman went in as a fullback to add some power to the run game.

“He’ll probably keep me in more as a tackle, but if Coach just feels like doing it for a drive, I’m good. I’ve done it before,” Doherty said.

Campagna and Etzler each had 32 yards, while Dario Alexander had two catches for 23 yards, as well as 66 kick return yards.

In tackles, Teeter and Kameron Baker each had nine total to lead the count with eight for Jared Baker. Campagna and both Bakers all gained sack numbers during the night.

The loss puts the team at 2-1, which should serve as a motivator going forward, the way players look at it.

“This is where you get tested as a team,” Jared Baker said. “No matter what happens, you’ve gotta stay loyal.”

With a number of highlights, Nelson maintained the game was not a matter of failure but one of inconsistency, especially on offense.

“We had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn’t execute when we needed to. We do things right, we just don’t do them right enough,” he said.

Conference concerns

Moffat County moved to a three-way tie for third in the 2A Western Slope League. Fellow 2-1 teams Aspen and Delta each gained good wins at home as the Skiers crushed Cedaredge 48-12 and the Panthers squeaked past Montezuma Cortez 19-14.

At 1-2, Coal Ridge sits in sixth with a 19-0 loss to Paonia, while Rifle vies for the top spot in the conference at 3-0 after a 35-14 victory over Pueblo County.

Also in the lead is Basalt, who set up another angry opponent for the Bulldogs with a 31-0 defeat of Pagosa Springs, who will be Moffat County’s last non-league foe.

“Pagosa is going to be a strong option team, so we’ve got to be very disciplined on our defense,” Nelson said. “They’ll be ready to go again, but we need to make sure we know our assignments and everything out there.”

The Sept. 22 game with the 1-3 Pirates will be an unusual one for several reasons. The result of last-minute rescheduling following Ridge View Academy backing out of the Bulldog schedule, the match will be on neutral ground at Olathe High School as a midway point between the two schools, which represent the northwest and southwest extremes of the Western Slope.

A Saturday afternoon kickoff will also test if the Bulldogs can handle the mid-day conditions they will also see in their Sept. 29 Homecoming game with Basalt.

Either way, Nelson plans to take it in stride.

“Could be good, could be bad,” he said. “We’ll just have to see.”

Craig’s Dalton Hatten speeding to big results in dwarf car circuit

Standing at six feet, three inches tall, Dalton Hatten’s bodily frame isn’t one that would make anyone think the word “dwarf” would be an appropriate descriptor for any vehicle he drives. But, even crammed behind the wheel of a tiny vehicle, he feels right at home.

Dalton has spent the last several months as part of the dwarf car racing circuit at venues around Colorado and adjoining states.

It’s a sport that he never knew he was interested in until last year when he and his father, Kelly, came across the opportunity to buy a dwarf car in Vernal, Utah. It was after watching friend Mike Bingham at Diamond Mountain Speedway that he thought he’d like to get into driving, and upon learning that a vehicle was up for sale, the seed was planted in his mind.

An unrelated trip to Vernal resulted in the father and son hauling home a racecar, much to Dalton’s mother Joanna’s initial displeasure.

“She was a little upset at first, but she came around to it,” Dalton said.

Maintenance requires hours each week and especially after each race, which Kelly said depends on if the car can be packed up into the trailer without extra dollies or winches. The auto work provides a challenge even for skilled mechanics since it requires specialty parts.

“We entered into it knowing absolutely nothing,” Kelly said.

Dwarf cars are a modified, scaled-down version of stock cars, with a much smaller frame and a limitation of 1,250 cubic centimeters on an engine. Dalton’s car is powered by a 2012 Yamaha engine with 1,100 cc’s.

“It’s basically a sprint car without wings,” he said.

The car’s original owner was only 5′ 6″, which made it a tight squeeze for Dalton, though readjusting the back end allowed him to fit better in the driver’s seat.

“We had to cut the back support and move it back six inches so I could sit down in there comfortably. We also had to cut the brake pedal and notch it at an angle so my foot has more room inside there,” he said.

Last year, Dalton hit a national race in Phoenix, placing 12th of 67 cars. He also took home an important lesson.

“Everyone said, ‘watch out for the California boys,'” he said, noting that the sport’s popularity in California with many dirt tracks makes them especially threatening.

“With them, you’re bound to get hit and bumped, and they’ll put you in the wall on purpose.”

More recently, a race in Fort Morgan was a tricky one for the 16-year-old.

“We were running third (place), and about two or three laps left, I came around turn four and it started getting slick on me and I spun around,” he said. “I worked my back up from 27th all the way up to 16th.”

The main trait Dalton has learned behind the wheel: patience.

“Patience is king,” he said. “You’re not going to win it on the first lap. You’ve gotta bide your time, and when people make mistakes is when you have to go after your shot. It’s a learning curve; a lot to learn in a short amount of time.”

Dalton placed fourth in points to round out last year’s season and currently sits in second place at Vernal’s Diamond Mountain. The speedway hosts its Crown Jewel Shootout this Friday and Saturday, which he hopes will attract Craig crowds.

“Seeing your family and friends in the stands at the end, that’s my favorite part of it,” he said.

Weekend Roundup: Charitable kickoff, historical happenings

The weekend in Craig offers a start to a local charity's campaign, as well as many opportunities to celebrate the area's Western heritage.

Give as good as you get

Moffat County United Way holds its annual campaign kickoff event Friday at Yampa Valley Bank.
Lunch will be provided by KS Kreations for those who stop by to contribute to the cause, and Yampa Valley Bank will match donations up to $7,500 with a goal of raising $15,000 for the day. Donations of $25 or more will be entered into a drawing for $150 in Spree Bucks.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday
Where: Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane
Cost: Free to attend, donations welcome
For more information: 970-824-6222

Net some wins

Craig Middle School volleyball teams will host Steamboat Springs Friday afternoon in one of few home games this season.
When: 4 p.m. Friday
Where: CMS, 915 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Contact organizers
For more information: 970-824-3289

West Fest

Jarvie Fest 2018 takes place Saturday at the historic Jarvie Ranch in Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.
Among the offerings for families are horse rides, vintage photos, candle-making, leather-working and more.
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Jarvie Ranch, Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 435-781-4400

Breaking ground

Heavy equipment provider Kubota will host a grand opening Saturday of its new site in Craig with Rocky Mountain Machinery. The day will include demonstrations of machinery, free food, giveaways and more.
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kubota, 400 S. Colorado Highway 13
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-5434

Toeing the line

Moffat County High School's boys soccer team will host 3A Western Slope League opponents Basalt Saturday morning at MCHS.
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-7036

Western words

Craig writer David Morris will provide a poetry reading of Western-themed selections Saturday morning at Yampa River State Park's group picnic area.
Morris's work praises wide, open landscapes and the beauty of nature.
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Yampa River State Park, 6185 US Highway 40
Cost: Free with Colorado State Parks pass
For more information: 970-276-2061

Tribute time

Museum of Northwest Colorado hosts a celebration of life for Wayne Wymore Saturday afternoon. Residents are welcome to attend for free refreshments and to share memories of the longtime Moffat County mainstay.
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Museum of Northwest Colorado, 590 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-6360

Bridging the gap

The Swinging Bridge near Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge will have a dedication ceremony Tuesday afternoon to officially reopen the historic, revitalized structure.
When: 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Swinging Bridge, three miles south of Colorado Highway 318, Moffat County Road 83
Cost: Free to attend
For more information: 970-824-9160
Do you have an upcoming weekend entertainment item to promote? To submit events for Weekend Roundup, email details including time, date, place, cost and a description of the event to news@craigdailypress.com.