Locals 2020: More Cowbell: The only prescription Tony St. John needs is Moffat County – and more cowbell
Tony St. John has been a man of many hats in the Moffat County community for over 30 years now. St. John is a Moffat County bus driver, a sponsorship representative for the local balloon festival, an ardent supporter of local athletics and a one-time political candidate. He also worked for the Holiday Inn, he was an AAU basketball coach, and he worked at the ColoWyo coal mine.
St. John’s journey to Craig was first brought about by his brother in law — now a fellow bus driver living here — working at the ColoWyo coal mine. St. John says that he was visiting his brother in law and was immediately smitten with the beauty of the landscape.
St. John takes a ton of pride and responsibility in the fact that he is the first school face the students see in the morning as they leave home and the last school face they see in the afternoon as they arrive home. That pride has been recognized by way of two bus driver of the year awards — awards which he said every driver on staff deserves. He even goes so far as to say that the Moffat County School District Bus Drivers are the best on earth. He arrives at work at 6 a.m. and finishes at almost 5 p.m., picking up 25 kids in the morning and 45 in the afternoon.
His life as a bus driver has changed tremendously due to COVID. Whereas before, kids could sit wherever they wanted, students now have assigned seating.
“We’ve had to sanitize our buses when we come in, in the evening and as a bus driver, all of us bus drivers, we sanitize the seats and when we put the bus away there is another sanitizing that needs to be done.”
One of his favorite things to do on the way to games with the MCHS Bulldogs teams is have a word of the day. The word is usually “dominate,” which he reiterates to the team as they get off the bus and arrive at the away building.
Back when his son was attending the high school, prior to graduating in 1993, St. John came up with his signature game day instrument.
“I have a cowbell — my son graduated in ‘93 and I used to use that cowbell with me when I go for girls soccer, boys soccer, football, track,” He said. “I take it to all those events, it’s got Moffat County on it, it’s blue. I just have a lot of fun with it.”
One of his biggest accomplishments as a sales rep was bringing the Colorado 300 off road car race to the Sand Wash Basin back in 1987. St. John said people came from all over to watch that race and that executives from Coors and Budweiser and Ford and even ESPN came to Craig. ESPN broadcast the race live on their air. He says that he brought in more than 100 cars for the event.
His role as sponsorship representative for the Balloon Festival involves a lot of door knocking during the months of January and February, St. John said.
“We started with four balloons 11 years ago,” he said. “We had 35 balloons, the last one that we had here in Moffat County.”
But more than just the enjoyment he gets from working with youth and helping make festivals successful, St. John has a deeper appreciation for his community.
He sums his story up nicely saying, “I’m just an old man who loves Craig, Colorado.”
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