RBC Historical Society presents “Colorful Characters of Rio Blanco County”

Robert Amick/For the Saturday Morning Press

The Rio Blanco County Historical Society in cooperation with the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council will present a special historical reenactment program with local presenters depicting the characters of prominent Rio Blanco County residents and famous personalities who visited the area at various times since the founding of Meeker in 1885.

The presentation will be hosted at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the recently opened Old West Heritage Culture Center at 517 Park Ave. in Meeker (near the White River Museum). A potluck luncheon will be provided with cold cuts and beverages. All are welcome. Guests who wish to do so may bring a salad, dessert or other dish. There is no charge.

Colorful personalities who will be depicted include:

President Theodore Roosevelt visited Rio Blanco County in 1905. He enjoyed visiting with local residents who also guided him on extensive hunts for Bear and Mountain Lions throughout Rio Blanco County and Northwestern Colorado.

Wild West personality Calamity Jane resided in Meeker for a time and was locally renowned for putting her husband in jail when he acted up.

A famous western motion picture star of the 1920s era was Kenneth Sanderson whose screen name was “Buddy Roosevelt.” Sanderson was born and grew up in Meeker before going to Hollywood where he did stunts and later became a well known Western’s movie star. His last film was as an extra in 1962’s “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance” that starred John Wayne and James Stewart. He later retired to his home in Meeker and passed away in 1978.

Famous western novelist, Zane Grey came to the County to hunt for bear and toured extensively through Colorado.

Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady and wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to Meeker where she came to visit her son Elliott Roosevelt and his wife Minnewa, who owned the “Rolling R” Ranch near Buford. Mrs. Roosevelt was renowned for her tea parties with local ladies, which were greatly enjoyed, along with her witty stories and conversations.

Ute Chief Colorow of the White River Ute Tribe was a colorful figure who was a good friend to many early 1880s local settlers, and often provided food and company for those living in isolated areas such as Yellow Creek and Piceance Creek.

For more information, please visit the RBCHS website at or call 970 878-9982.

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