Giddy-up: College and county meet to discuss expansion of equine program to Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Giddy-up: College and county meet to discuss expansion of equine program to Craig

Grady Anson and colt navigate a western trail course at the fairgrounds in 2016. The college would like to expand their Equine Studies and Management program, offered in Rangely, to Craig by using fairground facilities.

The college and county are exploring a partnership that would see Moffat County Fairgrounds used to expand the college equine program from Rangely to Craig in the spring of 2018.

"Over this last year, what we've learned is that we've segregated programs. Some programs are only offered in Craig, some programs are only offered in Rangely. We are hurting ourselves by not expanding those out into the other communities," said Colorado Northwestern Community College President Ron Granger.

CNCC has an agreement with Rio Blanco County to use Columbine Park in Rangely for the equine programs there.

"I think it would be very good for the community. If we have an excellent equine program right here, that's huge," said Moffat County resident Danita Hogue.

I think it would be very good for the community. If we have an excellent equine program right here, that’s huge.


— Moffat County resident and horse trainer Danita Hogue.

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A horse trainer herself, Hogue offered to provide two round pens if they would help the county provide enough facilities to allow the college to bring the program here.

"In summer, the fairgrounds is used almost every day, and we have stuff almost every night of the week," said Moffat County Fairgrounds Manager, Bill Sixkiller. "If you can work in the daytime, then it's pretty easy."

Representative from all sides expressed interest in creating a workable plan.

"Our key to success is this kind of cooperative effort. We are open to seeing how it could work," said Commissioner Frank Moe "What are the requirements? What's the cost and how could we offset the costs?"

To answer such questions, CNCC staff plan to meet with stakeholders, further develop what they need and draft a Memorandum of Understanding to present to the county in mid-September.

"At Columbine stables when equine and rodeo started, revenues doubled for them. I think we could easily fill 25 stalls about 9 months of the year," said Meghan Munter, CNCC Rangely Career Technical Education division chair.

An eventual agreement between the two entities for use of the fairgrounds would be similar to one adopted Tuesday for the use of Loudy-Simpson Park.

"It's an investment that we think will work," Granger said. "We need to provide this opportunity here. If we don't, we are not providing our communities with what we have set out to do."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.