Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads: Work hard, play hard
February 27, 2015
Good friends, maybe a snippet of "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and a slightly brighter community are what you can expect if you get involved with the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads.
The group started informally with a sign in Craig resident Danny Griffith's yard that declared regular gatherings of local pals as a bona fide meeting, but the more they looked into the name for fans of tropical rocker Jimmy Buffett, they realized the national syndicate Parrotheads in Paradise did some pretty neat things as a service organization.
After applying to be an official part of the larger effort, NCCPH was born in 2008.
Presided over by Wet Juan and Captain Fatty — the nicknames for John Husband and Dave Pike — the club has more than 80 members working year-round to better the place they live.
"We're only the second club in Colorado that's part of PHIP," Pike said.
It's not unusual to see a couple dozen Parrotheads out in the warmer months, helping care for cottonwood trees planted at Elkhead Reservoir under the guidance of member Dory Brown or providing terra cotta flower pots around town, an effort spearheaded by Laurie Herring.
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Cleanup projects along area highways and the Yampa River are also regular doings, as are fundraisers — or as they spell it, PHundraisers — like Art'n the Park'n Lot and beverage sales at big events such as Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, which capture the Parrothead credo, "Party with a purpose."
Financially, the group contributes to multiple endeavors, including Craig Concert Association, the Parade of Lights and KRAI Holiday Drive to name a few, as well as educational focuses like Music in the Schools, Sagebrush Reading Council, Craig Middle School's eighth-grade Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest, Missoula Children's Theatre and donating to the ceramics program at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
In 2014, a total $4,000 was given to graduating high school seniors through the Parrotheads.
Future projects to which the Parrotheads have attached themselves are a potential amphitheater at Loudy-Simpson Park and improved features along the river for recreation.
"We're really excited about that, so that more kayakers and rafters can use it for parking," Pike said.
But, as much as they do, the group aims to keep their work laidback. Meetings held at J.W. Snack's Bar & Grill are very relaxed, Husband said.
"You can't have a more open meeting than we do, all you've got to do is walk in," he said.
Many members became involved as a result of hearing the sometimes raucous celebrations at the table next to theirs while they were eating and deciding to join in the fun.
The level of participation is up to each individual, Pike added.
"We're pretty easygoing, and it's purely a voluntary club," he said. "If you can't be at every meeting, that's fine, but we'd love to have you."
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.